Augustinus Bader Contributor and award-winning medical and cosmetic doctor, Dr. Ewoma, takes over the Bader Journal each week to answer some of your most commonly asked questions on application, ingredients, and skin concerns. This week, Dr. Ewoma breaks down the causes of dark under eye circles and shares her expert tips on combating their appearance.
What causes dark circles?
The skin around our eyes tends to age a lot quicker than the rest of our face for a number of reasons. As well as being around ten times thinner, to enable rapid movement and blinking, the fat and muscle structure is also a lot less dense. This leaves the skin more susceptible to issues such as sagging, puffiness and habitual lines, due to lack of cushioning and support. Blinking and facial expressions, like frowning or smiling throughout the day, means your eyes are constantly moving and working, and this alone can contribute to ageing.
Dark under eye circles have easily become one of the top niggling complexion complaints. The most common reason is because the skin around our eyes is extra thin, encouraging the blood vessels beneath the skin to be more noticeable, creating the appearance of dark under eyes.
It’s also not just a myth that getting a good night's sleep will greatly improve under eye darkness. When you aren’t getting a full night's sleep, your blood vessels dilate, which in turn causes an increase in blood flow and darker circles. Similarly, your circulatory system is affected when you aren’t getting your 8 hours in, leading to stagnant blood in the vessels because they haven’t been fully drained.
Other lifestyle factors that may lead to darkening are stress, which can cause the fragile capillaries under our eyes to break, alcohol consumption which dehydrates and exacerbates thinning of the skin, and smoking, which causes collagen to breakdown and also affects the blood vessels under your eyes, resulting in a bluish colour due to lack of circulation. Of course, dark circles can be hereditary too and could be due to thinner skin or lower levels of collagen in this area. For instance, dark circles is something I see A LOT in darker skin tones, particularly my south Asian patients - as it's hereditary.
How to combat dark circles
Fortunately there’s lots of things we can do for our eyes and plenty of active ingredients to give this delicate area a little bit of brightening. Look for products that contain ingredients like Vitamin K, Tranexamic Acid and Niacinamide as these can all be good for dark under-eye circles.
While Vitamin C and E are particularly good at reducing dark circles, deeply hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, evening primrose oil and argan oil are particularly beneficial as dehydration can be a key cause of dark circles. It's also important to find an SPF suitable for around the area, as not wearing sunscreen will make such skin concerns worse.
Patting a little of The Rich Cream around your eyes can be an excellent way of delivering these actives to your eye area - we recommend doing a patch test first. The Cell Rejuvenating Power Serum, formulated with niacinamide and triple weight hyaluronic acid, can also be applied around the eye to boost brightness and hydration.
The sensitive, delicate nature of our eyes requires all the hydrating, brightening and rejuvenation of our other skincare products, but with gentle, soothing formulas to avoid irritation. While dark circles can be annoying, it’s important to treat this extremely delicate area gently and kindly. Lightly patting deeply nourishing formulas into this area will have greater benefits than hastily and roughly loading your skin with quick fixes or heaps of concealer.
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