Dark eye circles, the curse of a hectic Asian working life.
It’s that time of the year where work escalates and you are putting in extra hours to meet deadlines and close deals. You are working your socks off, drinking more coffee and sleeping less. You are probably not taking care of yourself, and you are looking into the mirror one day and wondering when in the world did you starting getting panda eyes.
Welcome to the rat race.
So what are dark eye circles?
(courtesy of darkcirclesresearch.com)
Dark eye circles 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.
So what causes dark eye circles?
The reasons can be divided into 3 aspects.
- 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 getting adequate sleep, taking less coffee and alcohol, not rubbing the area around the eyes, cutting down on smoking, and wearing large sunglasses when you are out.
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 injectable fillers.
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.
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. Merry Xmas to all and Season’s Greetings!