It’s fair to say we’ve all experienced dark circles at one point or another. For some of us, this discoloration is an infrequent occurrence, making an appearance only after a late night. However, for other people, dark circles can be a chronic condition, thanks to a host of factors. No matter which camp you fall into, we have remedies.
What are dark circles?
First things first, let’s ensure we’re all talking about the same thing when we say “dark circles.” Officially known as periorbital hyperpigmentation, dark circles are discoloration of the undereye area.
What causes dark circles?
What doesn’t? JK. But seriously, undereye discoloration can be the result of so many factors:
- Lack of sleep: This is a common one. Fatigue makes skin look dull, which makes discoloration more noticeable. (Fun fact: When eyes are puffy, which can also happen if you’re tired, the swelling can cast a shadow over the eye area that makes it seem as though you have dark circles when you really truly don’t.)
- Genetics: Mom and Dad can also play a role in whether you’re predisposed to developing dark circles.
- Age: The passage of time also has a hand in dark circle formation because skin gets thinner as we get older. It’s a lot easier to spy the underlying blood vessels that make undereyes appear dark through thin skin than it is through thick tissue.
- Allergies: If you keep Claritin on standby, you’re also likely to be plagued by dark circles. Not only does rubbing and scratching your eyes rupture blood vessels and trigger inflammation, the body’s natural response to allergens (releasing histamines) can make eyes red and puffy, plus dilate blood vessels, so they’re more obvious under skin.
- Sun exposure: No surprise here since UV rays are to blame for a lot of skin issues. In this case, the body often produces excess pigment in response to UV.
- Dehydration: If you’re not drinking enough water, you’ll see it in your face — especially your undereyes — because dehydration is another guaranteed way to ensure dull skin.
How can you prevent dark circles?
In addition to the behavioral changes you can make (like getting an ample amount of sleep and drinking plenty of water), a diligent, proactive skincare routine with proper undereye care can help you get the jump on dark circles before they have a chance to form — especially when they’re the result of things that are out of your control, such as your genetic makeup and the aging process.
Vitamin C is going to be your BFF in this endeavor. Everyone’s favorite antioxidant is also incredibly good at stimulating the production of skin-thickening collagen. The plumper that undereye tissue is, the more difficult it will be to notice the darkness-causing blood vessels underneath. Applying our Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic Firm & Bright Eye Treatment every morning will go a long way toward boosting the collagen levels under your eyes. Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic Firm & Bright Eye Treatment also provides immediate hydration, which is good if you’re still getting used to chugging four to six cups of water each day. And if those weren’t enough to convince you, this lightweight serum deserves a place in your morning routine, our Firm & Bright Eye Treatment also tackles puffiness. Believe it.
However, on the topic of building collagen, no conversation would be complete without a shoutout to retinol. The vitamin A derivative is a dermatologist favorite for turning the body into a collagen production powerhouse. The best defense is always a good offense. Plump and thicken the skin underneath your eyes, and those darkness-inducing blood vessels will never get a chance to get anywhere near the skin surface. Obviously, retinol is strong stuff, so you need to choose a formula that’s specifically made for the eye area, like our Dr. Dennis Gross Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Triple Correction Eye Serum, which also contains ferulic acid and bakuchiol to minimize potential irritation.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t also put in a plug for applying sunscreen every morning. After all, repeated sun exposure leads to hyperpigmentation; you’re doing all this work to avoid developing discoloration…sunscreen is a no-brainer. Look for an SPF 30 and keep in mind that a mineral formula, like our Dr. Dennis Gross All-Physical Lightweight Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30, is less likely than a chemical version to upset your eyes.
How to remove dark circles under eyes
This is the part where you’re so stoked that you have our Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic Firm & Bright Eye Treatment in your arsenal. Because among all the other wonderous things vitamin C can do for skin, it also helps block tyrosinase, which is an enzyme needed to make melanin (aka the pigment in your skin, eyes, and hair). As a result, dark circles will become less noticeable. In addition, this silky serum is formulated with tranexamic acid, an amino acid derivative that blocks pigmentation enzymes from connecting with melanin cells, thus also aiding in discoloration reduction. Talk about an added bonus!
And there’s more good news. Another ingredient that puts the hurt on tyrosinase? Why, it’s retinol, conveniently found in the Dr. Dennis Gross Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Triple Correction Eye Serum also recommended above. Smart of you to include that one as part of your regimen as well.
To make the most out of both products, we suggest applying your vitamin C-laden Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic Firm & Bright Eye Treatment in the morning (before your sunscreen) and smoothing on your Dr. Dennis Gross Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Triple Correction Eye Serum before bed so it can work its retinol-based magic while you sleep.
A tool that both treats and prevents dark circles
Topical skincare products are a great way to keep dark circles at bay. But if you’re the type who likes to go the extra mile (and we think that you are), then you’re going to want to give your eye program an energy boost. By that, we mean bringing in light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Consistent exposure to red LEDs increases collagen production. That’s just fact. Red LEDs also help even out skin discoloration and smooth texture. That means that using a red LED device like our Dr. Dennis Gross DRx SpectraLite Eyecare Max Pro for just three minutes a day can help make the transformations in the skin under your eyes that help reduce the appearance of dark circles and keep them from coming back. LEDs are also beloved as an at-home treatment since they work on all skin types and tones without triggering irritation and require no downtime.
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