Everything You Need to Know About Dark Circles & How to Get Rid of Them

One of my best friends suffers from dark circles and ever since I started my career in  beauty I've been giving her new products to test out that promise to help reduce, rid and conceal the pesky under eye nuisances.  When you see pics of celebs without makeup on, most of them have dark circles, too.  I spoke with Dr. Ellen Marmur, to find out the causes, best treatments and products to help put them at bay.  Did you know that all dark circles aren't created equal?

1. What are the main causes of dark under eye circles?  

Some of the main causes of dark under eye circles are due to extra blood vessels that make the skin appear maroon,  hemosiderin which is a pigment residue from red blood cells when they break down, melanin hyperpigmentation from sun damage, dry skin, and thinning skin. My patients always think they are from lack of sleep, allergies, or dehydration. All of those can all exacerbate dark under eye circles but are usually not the actual cause.  There are many factors that contribute to the overall problem of dark circles. Check with your dermatologist to help define the main causes for you.

2. Are all dark circles created equal? 

No, they definitely are not.  Some are more difficult to get rid of.  It really depends on the cause.  For instance, dark circles that are brown in color are normally caused by melanin formation and these are the most difficult to get rid of as they are likely genetic or related to sensitive skin.  Dark circles with a blue hue are usually caused by poor micro-circulation where the blue venous blood is more obvious underneath the eye, and if they are yellowish, then thinning skin is likely the cause. Whatever the cause of your dark circles, they can be improved or at the very least camouflaged with topical products. In the office, one of my favorite treatments is the Marmur Medical Total Eye Makeover , a combination of lasers and fillers to improve the skin texture, improves collagen, and reduce the shadow effect that darkens the under eye area.

3. Can they be improved?  If so, how?

Yes! Depending on the cause of the dark circles there are a variety of complimentary treatments ranging from lower eyelid surgery to the Marmur Medical Total Eye Makeover to topical eye creams. Excessive sun exposure can intensify dark circles, so I always tell my patients to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 every day as well as sunglasses to protect the delicate eyes area. Another tip: never rub the skin beneath your eye because rubbing, a habit many people have or from over scrubbing the area,  leads to hyperpigmentation and wrinkles from thicker skin!

4. What ingredients should one look for to help brighten them? 

Vitamin C is a great ingredient in skin care.  It helps to diminish melanin production and is a great antioxidant.  Caffeine is another popular ingredient in eye treatments.  It helps to constrict or shrink the vessels under the eye lid to reduce dark circles and puffiness.  Niacin has strong science showing it diminished melanin formation. Look for an eye product with light diffusing micas which help mask dark circles by instantly reflecting light for improved luminosity.

5. What products do you recommend? 

I tell my patients to try the StriVectin-EV Get Even Dark Circle Corrector. It not only brightens the eye area, it contains a patented niacin molecule that has a positive cumulative effect that clears away the melanin so dark circles are diminished and stay that way.