A Realistic Guide To Minimising Dark Circles
A Realistic Guide To Minimising Dark Circles

A Realistic Guide To Minimising Dark Circles

Dark circles are one of the most common beauty concerns out there, but there’s more to them than a simple lack of sleep. To identify the key causes and reliable treatments, we went to the experts.
By Rebecca Hull

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There Isn’t One Single Cause

“Dark circles are a combination of dilated blood vessels and skin pigment, which varies depending on the thickness of the skin under your eyes. However, there are different types of dark circles. Ageing can be a key factor. Over time, this area experiences a loss of volume, which causes under-eye hollowing. That’s what creates the shadow associated with dark circles. It’s also important to understand that people with deeper skin tones, who are more prone to hyperpigmentation, are  more susceptible.” –  Dr Tara Francis, founder of Enhance by Dr Tara

“Genetics are also relevant here. For example, thin skin around the eyes naturally results in being able to see the vascularity, and the purple/blue/red hue from the muscles and bones underneath.” – Kate Kerr, celebrity facialist

Lifestyle Matters

“The most common and avoidable factors that can make dark circles look worse are lifestyle related. Most common is a lack of sleep, but alcohol is also notorious for causing dark circles. This is due to its dehydrating effect. This also goes hand in hand with a bad diet – for example, too much salt, which can lead to water retention, can make dark circles more noticeable.”– Dawn Attewell, founder of Dawn Attewell Aesthetics at Therapy House

“Sun exposure can also make the appearance of your dark circles worse. This is because it can exacerbate pigmentation, so it’s important to keep this area protected with SPF50 at all times. On the other hand, harsh, cold climates can also impact dark circles. This is because cold weather compromises your skin barrier, making the eyes look more sunken and dehydrated. It’s why hydration is key. Skincare will help to restore the barrier and improve skin’s elasticity for a suppler, brighter appearance.” – Dr Ana Mansouri, consultant aesthetic doctor

Rubbing Your Eyes Is A Bad Idea

“Over-rubbing, pulling or touching the eye area can weaken the skin, but also damage the blood vessels underneath, bringing darkness and bruising to the surface. A quick and easy fix is to conceal this with make-up. If you’re going down that route, use a serum-style formula. They offer a little hydration at the same time as covering any darkness, so you get a healthy sheen that brightens the overall area.” – Georgie Cleeve, founder of Oskia

“It’s important you take a gentle approach in this area. For instance, if you’re using a make-up remover, be careful not to damage or pull at the skin. It’s why using dedicated formulas for the eye is more essential than you may think. They contain the right types of ingredients for this area, and they are never too abrasive or harsh in their formulations.” Ana

Medical-Grade Solutions Can Help

“Medical-grade products arguably provide the best results when it comes to treating dark circles. I recommend ‘Brightalive’ by ZO Skin Health. This technologically advanced skin brightener is clinically proven to increase luminosity, visibly improve skin clarity and fade the appearance of dark spots for a brighter, more even complexion.” – Dawn

“Targeting the issue with a strong treatment will help minimise dark circles. Medical-grade options use concentrated ingredients and target the melanocyte cells (which are responsible for pigmentation). Retinoids, for example, are incredibly useful here as they promote collagen production, smoothness and healthier skin quality. Some people even opt for dermal filler under the eyes, commonly known as ‘tear trough’ filler. This is especially useful in aiding hollowness to create a brighter, fresher, more youthful appearance.” – Tara

“I recommend the SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Advanced Eye treatment for dark circles. It targets multiple different factors with multi-level technology – essentially, it strengthens skin, brightens and keeps the entire area suppler for a healthier, smoother appearance. Over time, it also gives this area a plumper look.” – Ana

Lasers Aren’t Reliable

“Many people try laser treatments to treat their dark circles, but this isn’t always advised. Sometimes, dark circles are caused by pigmentation, which is often too deep for laser therapy to reach. If density and lack of collagen is your issue, it’s far better to try 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.” – Kate

Less Invasive Options Do Exist

Teoxane R[II] Eyes RHA Advanced Eye Contour is a saviour of a topical treatment. It has a formulation of hyaluronic acid, meaning it’s designed to combat tired, aged and puffy eyes. It also has a light tint which helps with colour correcting. Vitamin K is its other ingredient worth knowing about: it promotes blood clotting from broken capillaries under the skin, and is often used in eye creams due to its anti-inflammatory benefits. It’s also non-irritating and safe for all skin types.” – Tara

“I recommend antioxidants like vitamin C and niacinamide – look for these in any eye treatments you invest in. They help to brighten skin but also target pigmentation, reducing dullness in this area. Caffeine is another great ingredient – ensure this is in any eye serums or creams you use as it is proven to help reduce blood vessel-related darkness.” – Ana

“Skin peels are a great non-invasive option. They brighten the under-eye area while freshening up lacklustre skin and discolouration. It’s important to note, however, that although dark circles can often be treated, if you experience intense swelling or discolouration, always seek advice from your GP or skin doctor.” – Dawn


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