Beauty 101: What You Need To Know About Dark Circles

Beauty 101: What You Need To Know About Dark Circles

The skin around your eyes is five times thinner than on the rest of the face, so it’s no surprise that it’s the first to show signs of ageing. And dark circles are one of the most common beauty concerns there is. They can’t be got rid of entirely, but it is possible to diffuse their appearance and any puffiness with the right products, treatments and advice. Two experts explain how...


Firstly, There Is No Single Cause

“There are three main reasons you will get dark circles,” says clinical facialist Kate Kerr. “The first is pigmentation, which is more common in darker skin types, and that is caused by inflammation and friction. For example, wearing waterproof make-up and having to rub your eyes to remove it, or frequently rubbing that area and causing a strain. The second is genetics and having a thin skin around the eyes, which naturally results in being able to see the vascularity underneath and seeing the purple/bluey/red hue from the muscles and bones underneath. Finally, a loss of volume is a key cause. This appears as a hollowness underneath the eyes and will naturally happen with age, causing an obvious tear which creates shadowing.”

Don’t Underestimate The Importance Of Sleep

“It is a cliché, but dark circles can look worse due to a lack of sleep,” explains Georgie Cleeve, the skincare expert who founded Oskia. “When we lose sleep, we lose cellular regeneration for the skin, meaning less collagen production and, in turn, less cushioning to hide the blood vessels underneath. A poor diet, alcohol and caffeine can also all cause inflammation and puffiness. The last two also lead to dehydration, which creates swelling around the eyes.”

Vitamin K Is A Possible Remedy

“It can really work to treat dullness – but only if that swelling has occurred due to broken blood vessels. It’s a remedy many surgeons use post-surgery because vitamin K is well known for taking down bruising,” says Kate. “However, if your bags are occurring from lack of volume or thin skin, products and creams won’t work as well. No skincare buy can physically put back in the density. It’s important to find out what causes your circles, then work on a treatment – always take advice from a skincare professional first.”

Rubbing Your Eyes Makes Them Darker

“Sadly, this one isn’t a myth,” confirms Georgie. “Over-rubbing, pulling or touching the eye area can weaken the skin there, but also damage the blood vessels underneath the skin, bringing darkness and bruising visibly to the surface. A quick and easy fix is to conceal this darkness with make-up. If you’re going down that route, make sure you use a serum-style formula. They give a little hydration at the same time as fading any darkness, so you get a healthy sheen that detracts from darkness and brightens the area overall.”

Lasers Aren’t Always Effective

“Many people seek out laser treatments to treat their dark circles, but this isn’t always advised,” says Kate. “This is because dark circles are sometimes caused by pigmentation, which is often too deep down for laser therapy to reach. If density and lack of collagen is your issue, far better to seek out small amounts of well-administered filler. This will create a little bit of cushioning between the skin and the blood vessels underneath your eyes, temporarily hiding any darkness. It’s really the only way to plump up the area when you’ve lost density there as the fat pads slip and become smaller with age.”

Revamp Your Skincare With Key Ingredients

“Aside from invasive treatments, ingredients that are clinically proven to boost collagen production are your best antidote,” says Georgie. “Retinol – which boosts collagen production and skin thickness – and vitamin C are the clear winners here. Just make sure you use low levels to prevent any sensitivity. For both, oil-soluble forms are more effective and stable. Aside from that, niacinamide is a fantastic active that aids in reducing dark circles as it boosts fatty acids and ceramides (hydration) in the skin by 67%. Finally, arnica is worth looking for in your skincare buys. It has been used for hundreds of years to treat bruises and stimulate blood circulation, so it’s a popular active for under-eye products.” 

Ignore The Common Misconceptions

“The main myth I would love for people to ignore is that you need a separate eye product in your regime – you absolutely don’t!” says Georgie. “If you have a brilliant, collagen-boosting facial serum containing the above ingredients, you can use this around your entire eye area. A good, light moisturiser or oil is also essential for the eye area. People often say with products, ‘Don’t use around the eyes,’ but this just leads to them being even more neglected, so don’t be afraid to go in. Finally, always make sure the ingredients list states that what’s inside your products is clinically proven. This is especially important when using products with antioxidants (including vitamin C) as they can be incredibly volatile and unstable, causing more damage to the skin than if you didn’t use them at all.”
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