Dark Circles 101: The Different Types of Under-Eye Discoloration
If you’ve ever dealt with dark circles beneath your eyes, you know that it’s near impossible to master a fresh-faced, bright-eyed look with them around. You also know that making the sunken shadows disappear—sans concealer, of course—is no walk in the park. So we tapped board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com expert, Dr. Dendy Engelman to share tricks on how to alleviate the bags—which are anything but designer—below. Step one: Consider their source. Step two: Devise a plan of attack. It’s time to bid good riddance to dark circles once and for all.
If you’ve ever dealt with dark under-eye circles, you know the struggle. Bags and discoloration make it nearly impossible to master a fresh-faced, bright-eyed look without loads upon loads of full-coverage concealer. But, we haven’t given up hope. To help us navigate the tricky world of under-eyes, we tapped board-certified dermatologist and Skincare.com expert, Dr. Dendy Engelman. Ahead, she shares her tricks, tips and some product recommendations to make your dark under-eye circles less noticeable.
What Causes Dark Under-Eye Circles?
“Dark circles are the result of pooled blood underneath the skin,” explains Dr. Engelman. “Because skin around the eye is very thin, almost transparent, blood pooled below this area can be visible and very noticeable. Dark circles can also be the result of fatigue or a side effect of aging. As we age, we lose subcutaneous fat, which can mask blueness below the surface of the skin. Some people get dark circles as a result of hyperpigmentation triggered by chronic eye-rubbing, sun exposure or simply genetics.”
Can You Get Rid of Dark Under-Eye Circles?
“While there isn’t a way to get rid of dark circles caused by thinning skin or aging, you can temporarily reduce the appearance of them with the application of products formulated with ingredients that are vasoconstrictors or hydrators,” says Dr. Engelman. Examples of vasoconstrictors are caffeine and green tea, while hydrators are ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid.
“You can also try thickening the surface of skin with a prescription retinoid. If you have puffy eyes, cut out salt and alcohol, which can lead to water retention and exacerbate swelling. Sleep on an extra pillow to drain the fluid that can accumulate around the eyes when you’re lying down, and if you still notice puffiness in the morning, try a cold compress,” adds Dr. Engelman.
The Best Products for Dark Under-Eye Circles
To reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles as much as humanly possible, we took Dr. Engelman’s advice and rounded up four products that will have you well on your way to brighter-looking eyes.
To help with morning puffiness, use a product with a cooling roller, such as the Garnier Clearly Brighter Anti-Puff Eye Roller. “A product with a metal roller ball gently distributes lymphatic build-up from underneath the eyes, alleviating the appearance of dark circles,” Dr. Engelman says. This gel formula — infused with antioxidant vitamin C, mint and caffeine — instantly cools and refreshes skin while the micro-stimulating roll-on applicator helps de-puff and reduce the look of under-eye bags.
This eye cream is formulated with a magic combination of phe-resorcinol (an agent known for its targeted action on melanin), caffeine and light-reflective pigments to visibly reduce the appearance of dark circles and brighten the eye contour area. The unique metal applicator also offers a cooling effect that pairs perfectly with the gentle melt-in texture of the formula.
A cult-favorite, IT Cosmetics Confidence in an Eye Cream was formulated specifically for those with dark circles and anti-aging concerns. It contains a rich ceramide complex to help soothe and hydrate the area. But what really sets this product apart from the rest is its apricot tint, which helps with color correction.
The newest addition to the Effaclar line, Adapalene Gel is an over-the-counter topical retinoid acne treatment that should be used once daily. Per Dr. Engleman’s recommendation, a retinoid can be used around the eye area to help thicken the skin due to its collagen-stimulating properties.