Dark circles or Eye circles are dark blemishes around the eyes. Also known as "eye bags" and "raccoon attack". In most cases the dark circles under the eyes are blood vessels that can be seen through the skin. The skin around the eyelids is the thinnest skin in the body (around 0.5 mm thick compared with 2 mm in other areas).
- Heredity: Dark circles under the eyes are usually an inherited trait. So if your mom has them, there is high probability you will too get them. When blood passes through the large veins close to the surface of the skin it can produce a bluish tint. The more transparent the skin—also an inherited trait—the darker the circles appear. In people with a deep-set bone structure, shadowing contributes to the dark color under the eyes.
- Irresponsible treatment of under eye skin: Irresponsible treatment of skin can contribute to darker circles due to rubbing or scratching the skin around them. I have seen many girls rubbing their eyes vigorously trying to rid themselves of sleep. Eyes are extremely delicate – use only the gentlest pressure. Also most women in India fear using skin care products like under eye creams, sun screens, anti-aging products at the right age, not realizing the harm they are inflicting on themselves by neglect. Taking care of yourself is a sign of self-respect, not vanity.
- Medications: Any medications that cause blood vessels to dilate can cause circles under the eyes to darken. Because the skin under the eyes is very delicate, any increased blood flow shows through the skin.
- Anemia: Along with heredity I feel anemia can easily account for about 70 to 80 % of all under eye dark circle in India. Our diets in India are highly deficient in Iron – thanks to the fact that we will cook our food for hours till it loses all nutrients, and the pre-dominance of a vegetarian diet, which is naturally low in Iron. Further a lot of girls in India prefer to be an crash diet for most of the time and if they do eat it is mainly junk food. The lack of nutrients in the diet, or the lack of a balanced diet, can contribute to the discoloration of the area under the eyes. It is believed that lack of mineral iron can cause dark circles as well. Iron deficiency is the most common type of anemia and this condition is a sign that not enough oxygen is getting to the body tissues.The skin can also become more pale during pregnancy and menstruation (due to lack of iron), which again allow the underlying veins under the eyes to become more visible.
- Fatigue: Lack of sleep or excessive tiredness can cause paleness of the skin, which again allows the blood underneath the skin to become more visible and appear more blue or darker
- Medical conditions: Another cause may be bad blood circulation. Cardio exercise increases blood circulation and may help the dark circles to disappear.Dark eye circles could be a sign of excessive loss of water from the body (dehydration).
Let me tell you the bad news first: to date, there has been no end-all to curing dark circles, especially if they heredity, laser surgery is being looked at as a solution through.
However the good news is that there are plenty of tricks you can use to make them appear lighter
"Making your eyes look their best takes two things: the right cream to keep the skin around the eyes smooth and the right makeup to enhance your eye color and shape," says international makeup artist Bobbi Brown.
Now that you know this let’s get started on what you can do.
1. Keep the eye area moisturized. The best thing you can do to improve the way your eyes look is to moisturize the skin around them. Look for creams containing powerful moisturizers such as glycerin, sodium hyaluronate and vitamin E.
Aroma Magic’s Almond Under Eye cream has got some good reviews.I have just begun using this since the last two days after reading Rati's excellent review. Avoid Biotique's undereye cream, I used this for a few months, and found that this is just a basic thick moisturizer and it also stings the eyes (if it enters accidentally)
2. Prevent wrinkles. Dark circles are likely to become more noticeable and permanent with age. This is because as people get older, skin loses collagen and it gets thinner, and more translucent. Studies show that Retin-A can increase collagen thickness, and prevent underlying blood vessels from showing.
The Ponds Age Miracle Line is formulated with Retin-A and they also have a dual eye cream.
3. Help fade dark circles. Try to get enough sleep each night (between eight and nine hours), which can help minimize shadows and puffiness. Also, look for gentle eye creams that contain vitamin K and the natural skin-lighteners kojic acid and licorice extract. Some experts believe dark circles are caused by veins and capillaries showing through the thin undereye skin--why vitamin K, which seems to constrict capillaries, seems to help.
Vichy is the only company in India that sells an undereye cream with Vitamin K. Read more about it here.
4. Prevent them from becoming worse: By protect your eyes from the sun's rays. The skin around the eye area is thinner and less capable of manufacturing the firming tissue collagen than skin in other places. Use eye creams with SPF 15 or higher every day to protect from the sun's collagen-depleting rays. And also wear sunglasses Get a pair with polarized lenses, these are treated with a protective film that filters out glare from reflective surfaces. They'll curb your squinting and protect skin from UV light.
5. A concealer or eye cream that has reflective pigments brightens the darkest areas under the eyes, and can be used to lighten circles. However please don’t expect miracles. Concealer can only hide slight discoloration. Camouflaging very dark under eye circles is something that only professional makeup artists can do with very heavy camouflage creams and also not make it look caked at the same time. I don’t use concealers as of now. But I have heard good things about the Colorbar concealer. Other concealers with good reviews include Maybelline Cover Stick Corrector Concealer, Revlon Colorstay Concealer and MAC as well
All under eye circles have either a brownish undertone, or a purple/blue undertone. If you fall in the brown category- your weapon of choice should include a peachish toned concealer. If you fall into the blue/purple category, you should choose a yellow based concealer to counteract the problem.
Also in case of dark circles, always put your concealer on AFTER your foundation, then set it with some translucent powder. This layering technique gives you ultimate staying power.
6. Don’t use makeup to add to the dark circles. I don’t know what is worse, having dark circles or using black kajal on your lower lashes when you have dark circles. I have lost count of the number of girls I have seen with really bad dark circles who still go ahead and smudge black kajal on their lower lashes. Sometimes, only on their lower lashes!
First of all you are just attracting attention to your dark circles, secondly during the day the kajal bleeds all over making you look worse than you did in the morning. Please remember this one cardinal rule: Adding anything dark under the eye can call attention to dark circles. Even mascara on the lower lashes.
7. But you should apply eyeliner to the upper lash line as it opens the eye and detracts attention from dark circles. Use smudge proof eyeliner like Colorbar or Lakme. On the lower lashes use a nude colored liner – Chambor makes a great eyeliner in champagne color. This will make your eyes look bigger. Or else if you can’t do without lining your lower lashes (*sigh*), then use a color that is a few shades lighter than the eyeliner used on top and very lightly smudge it on the lower lash line.
8. Use Shimmer. Place a tiny dot of shimmer shadow in gold, white, silver, cream, or pastel at the inner corner of the eyes, then spread it just halfway across your top and bottom lids to make eyes appear wider and brighter.
Eyetex Dazzler makes an very nice shimmer eyeshadow palette (ES 2) that has 4 shimmer eyeshadows - White Sapphire (silver shimmer), Yellow Jade (golden shimmer), Amethyst (Purple shimmer) and Red Spinel (deep red shimmer) that’s costs Rs. 250/-
9. Mascara is your best friend: but only on the top lashes. Skip the lower lashes. Completely. Use a curler if possible.
10. Eyeshadow colors: Avoid using dark eyeshadow colors on upper eyelid. For instance, a smokey eye using charcoal colors may not work for you. Instead, try using more cool pinks, plums, nutmeg, mocha brown colors.
11. Home Remedies: Of course, there are a ton of home made remedies like placing potato slices to tea bags, daily application almond oil / paste (has a slight bleaching effect) to dabbing rose water. Do these work? I am sure they do, but this is a long drawn process that requires daily dedication and patience. Don't expect results in 2-3 applications as they will temporary in nature.
Do you have any special remedies or tips that can help combat dark circles?