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Don’t be too anxious about dark circles around the eyes…

March 8, 2018

Not many of us would be familiar with ‘Periorbital melanosis or hyperpigmentation’ – these are medical terms for those dark circles that are seen around eyes. Touching or rubbing the eyes can exacerbate the condition by causing the skin under the eyes to darken and thicken. Due to its association with tiredness or lack of sleep it is a condition we prefer not to experience too often. Although lack of sleep does play a role in brown circles or under-eye discolouration, so can ageing, genetics, allergies, hormonal abnormalities or simply an accumulation of skin damage. Some loss of fat and bone mass can also cause the appearance of dark circles around the eyes through the shadow effect that may form in hollows.

Tiredness is only one reason for dark circles around the eyes 

There have been limited studies to the causes of dark circles but according to medical literature they can be an outward sign of exhaustion. The circles may also appear darker during periods of anxiety and may then have a more profound effect on facial appearance.  Lifestyle factors are a common cause of the condition, these include, poor sleep patterns, inadequate nutrition, insufficient hydration and excessive alcohol consumption.

How we sleep helps too!  

Interestingly, sleeping on ones stomach can result in dark circles around eyes due to the build of fluids and the congestion of blood vessels. One eye may be puffier than the other if we sleep on a particular side.  hanging the position to sleeping on ones’ back with an extra pillow is the solution. When lack of sleep or  tiredness is related to the appearance of dark circles or bags under the eyes, there is a way to reduce the darkening effect. Gently apply an ice pack, ice-cubes, slices of cool cucumber or frozen peas to the eyes. This can constrict leaky blood vessels and lessen the appearance of dark circles or bags under the eyes.

Genetics may be the cause

For some the dark circles may be more permanent and entirely normal, possibly due to ageing or simply genetics and hereditary.  An excess of skin pigmentation combined with thin and luminous lower eyelid skin covering the orbicularis oculi (the muscle in the face that closes the eyelids) is an unavoidable cause of the appearance of brown circles (Aghae,2016).  Significant weight loss can also result in dark circles around the eyes. This occurs due to a loss of volume around the eyes exposing the underlying blue veins. This creates a hollow trough and the appearance of a dark circle (Talakoub et al,2015).

The natural role of Collagen   

Ageing is a common factor associated with the formation of dark circles around eyes. Loss of collagen as we age leads to thinner skin and the possible appearance of shadows under the eyes. This occurs as the body’s production of collagen declines and skin loses its youthful density. Collagen is our body’s most abundant protein and is found in muscles, tendons, tissues, skin and blood. Collagen is important to overall facial appearance as it provides the skin with its suppleness and elasticity.

Restoring Collagen to slow down the ageing process

The natural decline of collagen as we age, can be slowed, by consuming clean (naturally wholesome) nutritious foods that support collagen repair. These foods include orange vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes rich in Vitamin A, and varieties of fish, high in Omega-3, such as Salmon, Tuna and Mackerel. There are various topical solutions that may assist in the regeneration of collagen. These include skin creams that contain caffeine that   constrict the underlying vessels to temporarily diminish protruding blood vessels and the dark circles around eyes (Talakoub et al,2015).

Alternatively, a topical remedy (cream) that provides a natural solution is an eye treatment known as ‘Remescar Eye Bags & Dark Circles’. This product combines clay minerals and specialized Peptides to diminish eye bags, puffiness and dark circles. The peptides used are derived from proteins found in collagen. This natural formulation will firm up the skin, and decrease the accumulation of fluids that cause dark circles around the eyes. In addition, the product will decrease the muscular contractions that may contribute to the dark circles. Tobacco smoking (including passive smoking) should be avoided as this dehydrates the skin and causes collagen degradation.

Food allergies and dark circles around the eyes

Food allergies can also be a trigger for dark circles around the eyes. Dairy products are frequently the cause of allergic reactions in food sensitive individuals due to the whey and casein proteins found in i.e cheese and milk. Other foods that may cause an allergic reaction are Gluten found in Wheat, or the many preservatives and additives used in packaged foods. Soy products and specific nuts may also be responsible for an allergic reaction. Shellfish, Lobsters or Clams can trigger inflammation and dark circles around the eyes. To help address the extent of any food sensitivity, consume less processed foods and eat more ‘clean foods’ – those natural in origin and entirely unprocessed i.e vegetables and fruit. Avoid foods high in salt to avoid water retention, and stay hydrated, drink eight glasses or ten cups of water a day.

 

References
Aghaei, Shahin. 2016. “An Approach to Dark Circles under the Eyes:” 1 (2). https://doi.org/10.18282/jsd.v1.i2.67  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305741162_An_approach_to_dark_circles_under_the_eyes.
“Dark Circles, Bags, and Other Signs of Aging Eyes | Audubon Dermatology.” n.d.  http://audubondermatology.com/dark-circles-bags-and-other-signs-of-aging-eyes/.
Ganceviciene, Ruta, Aikaterini I. Liakou, Athanasios Theodoridis, Evgenia Makrantonaki, and Christos C. Zouboulis. 2012. “Skin Anti-Aging Strategies.” Dermato-Endocrinology 4 (3): 308–19 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583892/
Roberts, Wendy E. 2014. “Periorbital Hyperpigmentation: Review of Etiology, Medical Evaluation, and Aesthetic Treatment.” Journal of Drugs in Dermatology: JDD 13 (4): 472–82. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24719068
Talakoub, By: Lily, and Naissan Wesley. n.d. “Dark Circles under the Eyes.” http://www.mcleandermatologycenter.com/pdf/media/dark-circles-under-the-eyes.pdf.
Williams, Jon. n.d. “What Food Allergies Cause Under Eye Circles?” LIVESTRONG.COM. https://www.livestrong.com/article/279445-what-food-allergies-cause-under-eye-circles/.