Dark eye circles, puffy eyes, the BANE of our Asian work ethic.
Busy, busy, busy. You are working your socks off, drinking more coffee and sleeping less. You have not had time to pamper yourself, and you are looking into the mirror one day and wondering when in the world did you starting getting panda eyes. And looking at the calendar, you realise that CNY is just around the corner.
So what are dark eye circles?
Its largely 2 issues, the discolouration and the puffiness.
(courtesy of darkcirclesresearch.com)
Dark eye circles (discolouration) form as a result of vascular changes, shadowing, and pigments.
- Vacular changes – which can be purple, blue, pink depending on the oxygenation in the blood
- Shadowing – which is a direct result of ageing, where the skin develops fines lines and wrinkles and sags, and you lose volume in the cheeks
- Pigments – which is the stimulation of your melanin cells, commonly as a result of sun exposure and over rubbing.
Puffiness is commonly a result of fluid retention. So here are some home remedies.
- Cut down on salt please. This helps the puffiness, and your health.
- Apply cold cucumber to your under eye area.
- Apply caffeinated green tea bags, straight from the fridge.
Caffeine is found in alot of eye serums. How it works is this. It constricts blood vessels to ensure less venous pooling.
So what causes dark eye circles?
The reasons can be divided into 3 aspects.
- Ageing – Mainfested by volume loss in the cheeks, undereye skin thinning, undereye fat bulging (the eyebags).
- Genetics and allergies-> notably history of allergic rhinitis, atopic eczema.
- Lifestyle -> for example poor or lack of sleep, taking too much coffee and alcohol, smoking, sun exposure etc, which leads to venous pooling and vascular changes.
(A patient with heavy eyebags)
So how can we treat dark eye circles?
Treatment is customised and related to your underlying cause.
For example, in Asians, vascular changes is a common cause. So for females, the dark eye circles may vary in intensity with your monthly menstrual cycle and sleep patterns.
Let me share with you the various ways of treatment, from the simple to the more invasive.
Treating the cause:
Conservative measures include lifestyle changes.
- Adequate sleep and taking less coffee and alcohol,
- Not rubbing the area around the eyes,
- Cut down on smoking, and sun exposure.
More active measures for removal include
- Sunprotection – Here I cant stress enough the T.C.S principle. Time, cover and shade. Time: The sun is strongest between 10am to 4pm so please use stay indoors if you can. Cover: Use your brolly, sunglasses whenever you head out for lunch. Sunscreen: Generous use of sunscreen will complete the picture.
- Use of lightening products that contain hydroquinone and Vit C. Hydroquinone is the gold standard for lightening, and found in medical grade clinics only.
- Dermatological procedures for example chemical peels, pigment lasers and undereye fillers, depending on the cause.
Fillers can be used to volumize the cheeks and tear trough, hence reducing the shadow effect. So looking at the diagram above, your dermatologist can fill the grooves under the eye to correct the defect and improve the reflection of light.
It’s important to find one who isnt just fixed on filling the defects, but one with an artistic eye to correct and enhance your best features.
Aggressive measures would include
- Fat grafting- which works on the same principle as fillers, which is to volumise defects.
- Eyelid surgery – bleopharoplasty
- Surgical cheeklift So I hope this has been helpful. Have a Happy and prosperous New Year.