Do you wake up in the morning with eyes that look like the darkened hollows of a zombie? Is concealer your must-have makeup product? Unattractive under-eye half moon shapes (in shades of blue, black, purple, brown, green, or even yellow) can occur from aging, genetics, bad habits, or significant weight loss. We spoke with New York City-based dermatologists David Colbert, M.D., and Cheryl Karcher, M.D., find out more about the five types of under-eye circles and the best way to disguise them.
5 MAIN CAUSES OF DARK CIRCLES
Beauties, try this test: If the dark color below your eye disappears when you stretch the skin in that area, then you could be losing fat and need plumping. As you age, the first place you lose weight is your face. “One of the areas affected the most are the fat pads underneath your eyes," explains Dr. Colbert. Once you lose these pads, your skin looks saggy, and the uneven reflection of light creates shadows that look like dark under-eye circles. It can also happen to people who experience significant weight loss, whether from dieting, surgery, or illness (especially eating disorders such as anorexia). "The only way to permanently fix this is to get a filler, or have eye surgery," adds Dr. Karcher. "Skin plumping creams will only temporarily fix the problem, so it’s extremely important that you’re vigilant in applying them!"
Visible blood vessels are the second type of dark circles and people with pale, translucent skin tend to be the unlucky victims. Fairer complexions tend to have thinner skin surrounding the eyes, which allows the blue vessels to peek through. "This also happens with aging, as your skin gets thinner over time," says Dr. Colbert. Genetics play a huge factor, as they determine the translucency of your skin. You may also notice that your dark circles get worse in the wintertime, when your skin has less pigment to cover up the blue vessels. "Unfortunately, the only thing you can do here is apply a concealer every day," according to Dr. Karcher.
Not enough shut eye, a poor diet, and dehydration are the third reason for these pesky circles. Any of these issues will make your eyes puffy—the shadow from the bags is the dark circle you see. “Your skin looks radiant and healthy when you have a good diet,” says Dr. Colbert. “An unhealthy lifestyle means a dull complexion, more dark circles, and deflated-looking skin.” Circles can also appear brown when you’re filling up with bad foods. A good way to detoxify is by eating two cups of broccoli, kale, spinach, or brussels sprouts a day. So, Beauties, if you’re noticing a darkish hue and puffy eyes when you wake up, it's time to look at ways to get more sleep, improve your diet, and maintain a healthier lifestyle!
The sun doesn’t just cause skin cancer, it can also form small brown spots and discoloration below your eyes. “Sun damage can also thin or damage the skin making blood vessels more apparent,” says Dr. Karcher. Make SPF a daily step in your routine, and be sure to apply it underneath your eyes.
The changing of seasons can also mean increased sneezing, and unfortunately, those pesky shadows. “Dark pigmentation can also happen by rubbing your eyes, an action that’s usually caused by allergies,” says Dr. Karcher. The skin around your eyes is extremely sensitive, and trauma from excessive rubbing can cause broken blood vessels and sagging skin. A calming eye cream that brightens can help relieve itchy eyes and minimize the appearance of dark circles.