Are Your Dark Circles a Sign of an Underlying Health Issue?
Are They Getting Worse?
While temporary dark circles are not an issue, longer-lasting ones can be problematic—and they can become something that goes beyond a problem of beauty because they sometimes may suggest an underlying issue. Dark circles that persist or get worse may be a sign of chronic inflammation or vasodilation (blood pooling) caused by leaky blood vessels. Both of these conditions will not be relieved by standard eye creams for dark circles recommended by many of the dermatologists in Pittsburgh (and many other locations), because these eye creams only treat dry skin, wrinkling, or age spots — the symptoms, but not the underlying cause.
What Causes Them?
If your dark circles have only been noticeable for the past few days or weeks, it is likely that they are caused by excess melanin production. Induced in times of stress, excess melanin production will temporarily cause undereye skin to darken. It should ease up with some stress reduction techniques, catching up on sleep, or a standard vitamin C eye cream like Skinceuticals AOX+ Eye Gel, which we offer to patients at Acqua Blu Medical Spa.
If your dark circles have been chronic, try the following test: Look in the mirror. Apply pressure to the dark circle under your eyes. If you apply pressure to the circle and it disappears, your problem is likely due to blood pooling under the eyes. This can be treated with laser vein treatment in some cases. If the color persists, the dark circle is likely to be caused by excess pigment. This can be treated by non-invasive dermatology procedures. And if the color “moves” to the inside corner of your eye, it’s probably due to a deep tear trough.
How Can You Prevent Them?
Sometimes, it’s as simple as advice your mother might have told you: Stay out of the sun, exercise, and sleep enough. The undereye skin is different from the rest of the face because it contains far less oil glands, and has to keep up with near-constant eye movements. Keeping the undereye skin firm and thick is important to help reduce the appearance and the look of dark circles. Proper diet, including antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, are also important.
One somewhat surprising tip? If your dark circles don’t go away with rest, stress reduction, and sun avoidance, you may want to consider more invasive treatments, such as professional laser treatments, prescription-grade retinoids, or other treatments available from a dermatologist in Pittsburgh and other locations. We offer an array of invasive and non-invasive treatments at Acqua Blu Medical Spa that may help address your concern.
The New Cure
Like everything else, more gentle and effective ways to treat dark circles are on the rise. Previously, dermatologists might recommend rounds of vitamin K and retinoids to treat chronic dark circles, which only made the skin temporarily thin — and the dark circles more visible. Now pro dermatologists really treat the skin and the underlying issue — they can treat the melanin production, inflammation, or blood pooling that causes the dark circles, and increase the thickness and resilience of the skin itself. To discuss your individual situation and weigh your options with our board-certified Pittsburgh plastic surgeon Dr. Brian V. Heil and team of dermatology experts, contact us at (724) 933-1800 or send us an email.