Everything you need to know about dark circles

Close up portrait of a person applying patched under close eyes
Anti Ageing
Victorian Dermal Group
Victorian Dermal Group
May 13, 2021
minute read

Here's what causes dark circles under your eyes, and what you can do about it

Dark circles under the eyes have long been considered undesirable. Makeup is only a temporary measure, and in certain cases it can even make the circles worse. Sunglasses can cover them up — but they can become seriously tricky and conspicuous at night or in dimly lit rooms. Surely there's a more permanent solution?

If you're sick of having dark circles under your eyes, there is hope. With the right treatment you can abolish dark rings under the eyes and achieve a fresh, natural and youthful look. Read on to learn about the science behind dark circles under the eyes, and discover the life-changing technology that can banish those ocular menaces.

At the Victorian Dermal Group, we've helped countless people by treating dark circles under their eyes. We've got years of experience in skin care, and use the latest technology to achieve incredible results. Find out more about the anti ageing treatments we can provide, including procedures that will make a difference with your dark circles.

What are dark circles under the eyes?

If you've noticed puffiness under and around your eyes, loose under-eye skin, flattening cheeks and irregular pigmentation, you might be dealing with what is colloquially known as 'dark circles under your eyes'. In more medical terminology, this is called 'Periorbital Dark Circles'.

Periorbital is an anatomical classification that describes a certain part of the face: specifically, the area between the upper and middle parts of the face, right underneath your eyes. And what are the 'dark circles'? Well, technically they aren't actually circles: they're pools of blood.

What causes dark circles under your eyes?

A commonly held belief is that a lack of sleep is the cause of dark circles under the eyes. Like many commonly held beliefs, there is some truth to the notion, but the real story is much more complicated.

The reason that people develop dark circles under their eyes is because that's where skin is especially thin. This becomes more pronounced as we get older; as people age, the collagen and fat pads in the face start to break down, and the depression and discolouration tends to be especially and increasingly noticeable under the eye.

Why do I have dark circles under my eyes?

sun exposure

In that periorbital section of the face where skin is thin and depressed, blood vessels under the skin are much more visible. When veins and capillaries are thicker and larger, this can be perceived externally as dark circles under the eye.

It's not simply a matter of determining what deficiency causes dark circles;  there are many activities, susceptibilities and environmental factors that lead to dark circles appearing under a person's eyes. For example, the culprit might be:

  • eczema
  • exposure to the sun
  • smoking
  • stress
  • fluid retention
  • allergic reaction
  • nasal congestion
  • excessive consumption of alcohol
  • genetics that run in the family

And, yes, a lack of sleep certainly won't help either! Being extremely tired can make your face look washed out and pale, and this has the effect of making pre-existing dark circles stand out more than they otherwise would.

Are dark circles underneath your eyes fashionable?

There have been many unusual fashion trends over time. Some younger people in the TikTok generation are now experimenting with makeup that exacerbates dark circles under the eyes. Notably, this trend has not become fashionable with people who have to show up to work ('Oh my goodness, what happened to you?'), have children ('They're keeping you up all night, eh?') or who have any responsibilities whatsoever ('Are you okay?').

Are dark circles reversible?

Time marches irrepressibly forward: age wearies us, and the years condemn. But that doesn't mean you have to go gently. Rage, rage against those dark circles forming under your eyes!

Yes, dark circles are reversible. There are many things you can do to turn back the clock and restore vigour to your visage. Some measures are simple and temporary — like putting caffeinated tea bags over your eyelids. Other steps, like dermatological treatments and laser therapies, are more permanent and effective.

What can I use for dark circles around my eyes?

tea bags on eyes to fight dark circles

You can probably find several easy solutions for dark circles under and around your eyes just lying around your house. For example, putting caffeinated tea bags over your eyes can be a big help. The caffeine will constrict your blood vessels, making them narrower and less visible.

Cooling the area can also make a big difference, by slowing down and reducing blood flow. Eye masks can help with dark circles under the eyes, as can almost any cold surface. You can place a spoon in the freezer, and then press the cold metal on the area.

These methods are sometimes helpful in the short term, but they'll do nothing to treat or reverse long-term dark circles under your eyes.

Does eye cream get rid of dark circles?

Some eye creams are very effective in helping to remove dark circles. However, not all creams are created equal. Cheap and generic creams from a chemist or supermarket are unlikely to make much of a difference if you have big and seemingly permanent dark circles under your eyes. These creams are basically moisturisers, and while they're not likely to be harmful, or exacerbate the dark circles, any noticeable improvement after application is likely to be coincidental.

More serious and specialised eye creams can do a whole lot to hydrate and brighten the eye area, and can make a tangible difference in getting rid of dark circles under your eyes. At the Victorian Dermal Group, we stock a wide assortment of eye creams from trusted brands like Mesoestetic, Medik8, and Biopelle. These are far from your garden variety eye creams, with some varieties containing things like stem cells, peptides, and lightening ingredients.

Can Botox help get rid of dark circles under my eyes?

Botox has many helpful uses, from reducing the appearance of wrinkles to treating migraines and even reducing excessive underarm sweating. But what about dark circles under your eyes?

Botox will not change the pigmentation under your eyes, so if the reason for the dark circles is that the skin is discoloured, Botox won't be useful. However, sometimes people have the appearance of dark circles under their eyes because of an indentation in the skin which casts a shadow. If that is the case for you, Botox and fillers might be able to help get rid of dark circles under your eyes.

How can you remove dark circles under the eyes permanently?

remove dark circles

Because collagen in the skin is always breaking down, and your blood vessels aren't likely to change colour, there isn't a practicable permanent solution to removing dark circles under your eyes. You could do something drastic — like removing your eyes so the dark circles no longer have an under-eye reference point — but this is not an avenue we recommend.

That said, there are sensible and effective ways of removing dark circles under the eyes for long stretches of time. A dermatologist can get rid of dark circles under your eyes with several different treatments. And these procedures are repeatable, so with repeat visits you can keep dark circles at bay.

Does microneedling help dark circles under your eyes?

Microneedling is the process of using tiny needles to rejuvenate skin. The invisibly small punctures triggers the body's own natural healing, and facilitates the rejuvenation of collagen. As a result of the microneedling, the skin becomes fuller and firmer, and the effect of the treatment is to reduce the appearance of the dark circles under your eyes.

Unlike makeup or some injectables, microneedling is a more long term solution for dark circles under the eyes. With infrequent maintenance procedures, results can last for years at a time. Read on to find out more about our Microneedling treatments and how they can restore natural beauty to your skin.

Can laser treatments help to remove dark circles under the eyes?

Laser treatments can have a tremendous impact on many different skin concerns, including dark circles under the eyes. Because the eyes are particularly sensitive to lasers, it is important that any laser treatments near the eyes are carried out by a professional  skin care expert.

At Victorian Dermal Group, we specialise in laser treatments and have many different devices to target specific elements of skin care. From collagen revitalisation to pigmentation lightening and skin tightening, it's incredible what lasers can achieve. For example, we can use:

  • Revlite Q-Switch: Similar to microneedling, this laser stimulates collagen production.
  • V Beam Laser: This laser is focused on helping with vascular issues, and can specifically target blood vessels beneath the surface of your skin.
  • Candela G-MaxYAG laser: We use this medical-grade device, a dual-wavelength laser, to treat the look of abnormal veins.
  • Vivace RF microneedling: This device also uses microneedling, but combines it with fractional radio frequency technology for increased effect.
  • Ultraformer III: For immediate results, this laser lifts and tightens the skin.

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