Dark Circles or discoloration of the under-eye skin tends to age us more than wrinkles or grey hair. It affects many of us from time to time. Dr. Venkataram speaks about the causes and modalities of treatment for Dark Circles.
What are the causes of Dark Circles ?
Dark Circles can happen due to environmental and internal factors.
- Eczemaedity – dark under-eye circles can run in families.
- Lifestyle factors such as Inadequate sleep, physical or emotional stress, smoking, or chronic alcohol use can take a toll on your appearance.
- Nutritional deficiency (iron deficiency anaemia).
- Nasal congestion (which can dilate and darken the veins that drain from your eyes to your nose).
- Pigmentation irregularities particularly in dark skinned people.
- Frequent rubbing or scratching your eyes.
- Prolonged exposure, which prompts your body to produce more melanin, the pigment that gives skin its colour.
- Thinning of skin and loss of fat and collagen – common as you age – can make the reddish-blue blood vessels under your eyes more obvious.
- In obese people, thickening of skin (called acanthosis nigricans) with pigmentation can also result in dark circles.
Who can be affected?
Dark circles around eyes affect both men and women, often starting in adulthood, although children can develop dark circles around eyes too.
What is the treatment?
See your dermatologist for advice. More treatments are available for dark circles around eyes than ever before. It is always important to treat the underlying cause, in addition to treating cosmetic deformity.
- Depending on what’s causing the dark circles around your eyes, your doctor may recommend de-pigmenting creams such as, Kojic acid, retinoic acid and ascorbic acid preparations or a combination of these to erase or reduce discoloration.
- Laser Resurfacing with fractional lasers and laser toning with Q Nd-YAG laser
- Chemical peels such as arginine peels are helpful,
- Hollows that cause shadows (called tear trough deformity) can be smoothed with Injectable soft tissue fillers like hyaluronic acid fillers. Fillers give instant results though temporary lasting for up to 12 months.
- Therapy with a machine called Acugel which helps by increasing blood flow.
What are the post-procedure precautions?
Minimize sun exposure, use sunscreen lotion regularly, avoid heavy cosmetics, do not touch the area frequently
How safe are these treatments?
All these treatments are very simple, safe. No rest is needed and you can attend to work immediately
How much result can I expect?
While these treatments are very helpful and give good results, it is important to remember that as in cosmetic treatments, the aim is improvement and not perfection. So reasonable expectation is necessary.
Will the condition recur after treatment?
Since many of the causes for dark circles are partly environmental and lifestyle, some maintenance treatments and life style medications are necessary to prevent recurrence.