Tear Troughs Causing Dark Circles Under the Eyes
The tear trough is an age-related depression in the lower eye rim caused by a hollowness from fat loss in the area where the lower eyelid and cheek meet. Tear troughs develop through changes in connective tissue in the already thin tissue of the eyelids and under-eye area. Collagen and elastin in the eyelids decrease with age resulting in skin laxity. In addition, the pull of gravity causes lax tissue and fat pads under the eyes to redistribute down the face. Fat pads are present in the face and usually give plumpness and contour to areas. So when they sink, a hollow appears in the area.
- The malar fat pad, responsible for the curve of your cheek at the lid cheek junction, moves down the face.
- The dark appearance results from a shadow cast as light falls across the under-eye hollows.
- Eye bags and thinning of the skin often accompany tear trough formation.
Applying tension to the undereye skin lessens the dark circle appearance as the tear trough becomes more shallow. Tear troughs can be accompanied by under-eye bags, eye wrinkles and thinning of the lid skin. The best treatment for tear troughs is replacing the volume loss and plumping out the under-eye hollows. Under-eye fillers are the most straightforward in-clinic procedure, whereas fat transplant can be used as a surgical correction.
Under-Eye Filler Treatment of Dark Circles.
- Under-eye filler can help reduce the appearance of dark circles.
- Dermal filler can be placed in the cheek area, directly in the tear trough or both. The aim is to replace volume in the lid/cheek junction, and often cheek filler assists in correction.
- Filler will improve the cosmetic appearance of bags under the eyes.
New skin booster dermal fillers are an excellent choice for under eye fillers. They contain filler to replace the volume in the hollow area and skin nutrient components to improve the skin texture and address laxity and fine wrinkles in the under-eye area.
Under Eye Bags Causing Dark Circles
Aging tissue changes also cause under-eye bags, once again, there is no change in the colour of the skin, but the bulging eyelids causes a shadow appearance on the skin. They commonly occur alongside tear troughs. The cause of under-eye bags is the laxity of the eye muscle and connective tissue around the eye. Because of the loosening of eye muscle fibres, gravity and weakening of eyelid connective tissue, the fat pads around the eyes (periorbital fat pads) can protrude forward. This can occur in the upper as well as lower eyelids.
If you apply traction to the under-eye bags, the appearance of the shadow decreases, but the bulge will worsen as you assist in pulling lax tissue down.
Under-eye bags are best addressed with surgery, although sometimes the careful placement of undereye filler can help by decreasing the accent of the shadow in the tear trough, diminishing the appearance of under-eye puffiness, and reducing the appearance of the dark eye circles.
Dark Circles from Excess Pigmentation
Excess pigmentation in the eyelid skin also causes dark circles under the eyes. The pigment can be from melanin which causes a brown or brown-grey pigmentation, or haemosiderin, which causes a blue-brown colour. When tension is applied to lower eyelid skin, the area of pigmentation spreads, and there is no lessening of the dark circle appearance.
There are several causes of excess melanin pigmentation, causing dark circles from genetic or environmental factors under the eyes. Birthmarks and congenital forms of hyperpigmentation are not as common as the environmental causes, which include
- Allergic skin reactions cause increased pigmentation by trauma caused by repeated rubbing due to itchiness.
- Excessive sun exposure.
Dark Circles Under the Eye From Sun Exposure
Your skin naturally produces melanin when exposed to the sun. Especially in climates like Brisbane, with sun most days of the year, it is vital to wear sunscreen. If your eye area is exposed, some people have a genetic predisposition to darkening around the eyes from melanin. The critical factor in decreasing these dark circles is wearing concealer, sunscreen, hats and sun protection. In addition, it is essential to get a non-chemical sunscreen as these irritate eyes.
When dark circles under the eyes are caused by melanin pigmentation, the best treatment approach is depigmenting agents such as skincare, peels or lasers.
Dark Circles from Haemosiderin
There is also a rarer cause of excess pigmentation that is haemosiderin staining. Haemosiderin is caused by blood leaking out from blood vessels and can occur after trauma and bruising. Unfortunately, it appears to the very little help with treating pigmentation due to haemosiderosis, though there are anecdotal reports that Vitamin K does. Fortunately, haemosiderosis is very rare.
Vascular Dark Circles Under the Eyes
Vascular dark circles occur because the underlying blood vessels of the eye muscles become visible through the thin, more translucent lower eyelid skin. As a result, dark vascular circles are present with bluish, purple discolouration. Applying tension to the lower eyelid causes the darkening to become more extensive, and the colour intensifies as the skin is thinner.
Sometimes visible vessels are detectable, but generally, the purple, dark circles under the eyes are simply because of the hue of the network of blood vessels visible through thin skin. Vascular dark circles worsen with aging; however, some people begin with naturally more delicate skin. Therefore, any factor that causes blood vessels to dilate will exacerbate the appearance of dark circles. These include stress from poor sleep.
Treatment Of Vascular Dark Circles
Treatment for dark vascular circles aims to increase the skin thickness to hide the vascularity, decrease the vessels themselves or camouflage them.
- Treatments aimed at improving the thickness of the skin include skin booster dermal fillers, PRP and fat transfer.
- ND Yag lasers such as Excell V also target dark vascular circles by decreasing vascularity.