Dark circles are a common problem nowadays. With people spending more hours in front of computer screens and less hours in bed, their incidence is definitely on the rise. They make you look chronically tired, dull, lethargic and in extreme cases, something out of a horror show.
The various reasons why they occur are:
- Genetic: If your parents, aunts etc have it, you are more likely to develop it.
- Lack of sleep: The most common cause. In a metropolitan life, if you get 5-6 hours, you are lucky. The deficit builds up over months and causes darkening and puffiness due to poor circulation.
- Lack of proper nutrition: Diets deficient in fresh fruits and veggies lead to antioxidant deficiencies, which in turn cause pigmentary irregularities.
- Allergies: Chronic ones can be the cause of dark circles (especially hay fever, pollen allergies etc)
- Over-exposure to computer monitors, television screens and such.
- Stress, chronic fatigue, anxiety.
There are many more minor causes but the crux of the matter is that once you’ve got dark circles, they’re resistant to treatment and very persistent.
Here’s what you can do:
- Improve your diet: Raw fruit and vegetables — of at least 5 different colours (the brighter the better) must be included daily in your diet.
- Use a high-potency sunscreen around your eyes, because ultra-violet exposure can darken and worsen the existing problem. For the same reason, always wear sunglasses when outdoors.
- Use an excellent quality skin moisturiser (like Physiogel or Lipidz) that resembles natural moisturising factors and plumps up skin cells, making them look softer and lighter.
- Get your allergies treated by a good dermatologist or allergy specialist.
- Vitamin C is known to help under-eye pigmentation. High concentration creams or serums (eg C-VIT) are available on a dermatologist’s prescription for home use.
- Consult your dermatologist for an argipeel. This is a revolutionary new treatment that can fade away your dark circles most effectively, without any damage to the sensitive under-eye skin or side-effects. Argipeels are gel peels containing arginine, derived from natural sources (ie brown sugar). Arginine activates the immune system, contributes to healing, helps eliminate toxins like ammonia, enhances blood circulation and increases collagen production. All this helps to decrease darkening and improve the quality of under-eye skin. You need one treatment every 10 days for 6-8 such sittings. Treatments are painless and quite affordable.
- ‘Fillers’ can be used to fill out the hollowness under the eyes that is responsible for shading and a dark effect. This is, however, an expensive treatment.
For all it’s worth — my last piece of advice is to get enough sleep regularly and de-addict yourself from those computer screens. Dark circles are for pandas — you deserve a flawless healthy complexion.
Dr Parul S Kolhe is an MBBS and holds a DDV and DNB in dermatology.