The eyes display expression and emotions that form an important part of our individuality. The skin around the eyes is ten times thinner than the skin on the rest of the face. The tissue around the eyes has very few oil glands, it lacks the natural moisture present on other parts of the body.
Skin around the eye - The eyelid skin is composed of several layers. The deepest is the bone (orbit ) on which sits the orbicularis muscle that allows the eyelid to move. On top of that is a thin layer of fascia ans subcutaneous fat. Then lies the dermis, which forms the support layer of the skin, is made up of bundles of elastin and collagen, fibroblasts, nerves and blood vessels. The top layer, the epidermis, is made up of basal cells, melanocytes, Langerhans cells, keratinocytes and on top, the dead cell layer (also known as the stratum corneum) made up of corneocytes. The epidermal layer gives the skin its appearance, color, suppleness, texture, and health. The dermis gives it elasticity, tautness and fullness.
Aging around eyes - As we age, skin loses its elasticity and becomes even thinner. Aging is further aggravated by sun exposure, smoking, alcohol etc. Facial movements and expressions such as smiles, squinting, and stress can also affect the eye area, creating fine lines or crows feet – lines that appear on the outside corner of the eye. Under eye puffiness can be exacerbated by salty foods, allergies and internal dehydration. Rubbing and tugging of the delicate skin under the eye due to allergies, crying, eye makeup removal and insertion and removal of contact lenses can contribute to sagging of this area.
Dark circles are a common ailment affecting a large number of men and women at all ages.
While A 18 year old complaining of dark circles could be because of sunken eyes, a 60 year old could possibly have it from thickened aging skin.
Q. What are the causes of dark circles?
Dr. Vrushali believes there’s no one cause for dark circles. It is first important to identify the cause of dark circles and then treat it. Using an expensive dark circle cream without identifying the cause, often leads to frustration.
Here are some common causes of dark circles
1. Hereditary causes – This byfar is the most common cause for dark circles and most difficult to treat.
2. Anemia (low haemoglobin) – Anemia causes paleness of the face and that generally leads to apparent dark appearance of skin around eyes and mouth. Correction of anemia with correct dose of hematinics results in complete correction of such dark circles
3.Sunken eyes due to bony framework – This is common in a lot of Indian patients. Such patients are the sufferers of gimmicks of dark circle creams. The bony framework is deep, causing the lower eyelid to caste a shadow in the undereye area, giving a faux appearance of dark circles. Simply pulling the skin below eyes down and inside causes disappearance of the dark circles.
4.Thinned out skin and underlying blood vessels – Some people have very thin undereye skin. The blood vessels beneath the skin give it a bluish hue and make the eyes appear darker.
5.Thickened skin from allergy – A lot of people have several allergy issues pertaining to eye. So it could be dry eye, dandruff on eyelashes, allergy to kajal or eyeliner or simply dust allergy. Rubbing the eyes frequently can cause thickening and wrinkling of skin around the eyes and give an apparent feel of dark circles. Sometimes repeated friction over the years can cause friction iduced pigmentation.
6.Photoaging skin and wrinkles – Those who are exposed to a lot of UV rays like trekkers can develop thickening and wrinkling of skin around the eyes and give an apparent feel of dark circles. Because the eye skin is much thinner than the rest of face, the eyes show signs of aging much earlier than the rest of the face.
7.Actual pigmentation – There are some people who actually have pigmentation around the eyes either from friction, allergies or hereditary causes. Pigmentary demarcation line is a common reason for this condition and tends to be familial.
8.Other causes – Less sleep, puffy eyes, stress – These are more common and generally temporary reasons for appearance of dark circles. Correction in lifestyle helps in tackling these symptoms.
Q. What are the different treatments for dark circles??
Ans. As mentioned earlier, treatment should be directed towards the cause and there is not one single magic cream for all causes of dark circles.
Dr. Vrushali Recommends a specialised chemical peel for actual pigmentation around the eyes. It contains trichloroacetic acid, retinol and arbutin which facilitate the shedding of epidermis and reduce melanin in the undereye area. It is specially formulated for the sensitive under-eye skin for dark circle treatment. Repeating the treatment every 10 days helps in achieving a desired result.
For sunken eyes, due to bony framework, a hyaluronic acid filler injection namely Restylane or Juvederm Ultra or Juvederm Volbella is recommended. This filler lasts between 9 to 15 months depending on individual metabolism.
Thinned out skin in dark circles can be made stronger with microdermabrasion, microneedling and mesoporation at regular intervals. Specialised medical grade products that help with collagen building are applied after these procedures for deeper penetration.
Skin with deep line and creases can be managed with fractionated ablative laser or microneedling radiofrequency at repeated intervals to make the creases shallow.
Allergies around the eyes should be correctly identified and properly treated and only the shoud the treatment to erase dark circles be initiated.
The whole point is until the cause is identified, the dark circle treatment cannot give good results.
Q. How to take care of the undereye skin ?
Ans. Caring for the skin around the eyes is a delicate process. Because it is thinner, it not only tends to be the first place to show signs of aging, but also is more sensitive than the rest of the skin. Therefore, extra care needs to be taken when choosing a skincare product for this area. Products that contain exfoliants should be choosen with caution. A retinol would be a good night cream for the skin, but for the eye, its concentration shud be halved. A generous dose of Vitamin C and antioxidants topically maintain its suppleness. Vitamin K helps with capillary strengthening, so those that tend to bruise easily can do with a Vitamin K cream.