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Undereye circles and myths go hand in hand. If you have them, you’ve probably also heard the following snippets of unsolicited advice from well-meaning friends and family members: You need to sleep more and those will go away. You’re just stressed out–relax and they’ll disappear.
The truth is: there is no way to completely get rid of blue, black or greenish undereye circles, let alone remove them permanently, says to Dr. David E. Bank, author of Beautiful Skin: Every Woman’s Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age and founder and director of The Center For Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery.
“There are frequently three contributing factors to dark circles–each to a greater or lesser extent in any given patient,” Bank says. “The first is increased pigment. This is most commonly caused by sun damage over the years. The next contributing factor to dark circles has to do with circulation. The eyelid skin is the thinnest in the body and with age, and possibly sun damage, the collagen thins even further, making the skin somewhat translucent. Because of this translucency, one is able to vaguely see the circulation immediately beneath the the skin. The tiny veins just under the eyelid skin can give a darkish color. The third component of dark circles occurs secondary to volume loss, leading to a shadowing effect.”
Because there are multiple, complex intertwined causes of dark circles, Bank says all can be improved partially, but none can be eradicated completely or permanently.
Now that the truth is out of the bag, it’s time to turn our attention to treatments and ingredients that can make a difference in the appearance of circles–even if only temporarily.
If you suspect the root cause of your dark circles is an increase in pigment from sun damage, Bank suggests topical retinoids or bleaching creams. “When these fail, pigment-specific lasers, like the diode laser, may be highly effective at reducing the pigment,” Bank says. “Unfortunately, the dark circles frequently return due either to new or even past sun damage.”
Visible circulation can be addressed with vascular lasers, such as the VBeam, though Bank reminds us this isn’t permanent. Volume loss experienced from aging, on the other hand, can be improved by using injectable fillers like Restylane Silk and Belotero, though both require upkeep every few months because they are made from hyaluronic acid that is eventually absorbed by the body.
Bottom line: temporary solutions to undereye circles do exist–and so does a quality concealer like NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer.
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