Some people get dark circles under their eyes when they don’t get enough sleep. Others get them when their allergies are acting up. But for those who have persistent dark circles even when they feel bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, the culprit could be genetics, says a plastic surgeon in New York.
“Genetic under-eye circles are ones that are passed down to us from our parents in heritage,” says Doctor. And typically, the circles “have been present from an early age, often childhood or teenage years.” But there’s no clear sign that under-eye circles are genetic or not because we all have some heritable traits that become more defined as we age. Plus, the fact that they’re inherited doesn’t necessarily impact the way they’re treated.
“There’s a continuum between all types of under-eye circles,” says a Doctor. “Sometimes people feel that they’re genetic when they noticed some at a slightly younger age, but pretty much everyone at one point or another, unless you’re super genetically blessed will notice that they have some tiredness around the eyes, just because that’s kind of a thing that happens with facial aging.”
Because under-eye circles can have so many different causes, a dermatologist in California recommends consulting your dermatologist to help figure out a game plan.
“There are lots of reasons why people have under-eye bags. Some of it’s hereditary, some of it’s discoloration-related, some of it’s volume-related, some of it’s photo-aging or wrinkle-related. And if you don’t know exactly what your issue is or what combination of issues you have, you’re not going to be going down the right road,” says Doctor. “It’s always beneficial and time-efficient to go in to see your dermatologist first when you’re tackling these issues because they can give you an overall sense of whether you can do this topically, or whether you need also in-office treatments.”
Which route you take is dependent on what you’re comfortable with and what results you’re hoping to get.
“Depending on your situation, you may consider something very conservative, like a topical product, something slightly more invasive, like a laser or a chemical peel or another step up, like an injectable, such as Botox or filler. And then finally something like surgery,” says the Doctor. “There is truly no topical products that will function as well as an injectable or a surgery. So it’s very important to manage your expectations.”
If you’re only noticing under-eye darkness developing on one side, a dermatologist in Maryland says you should absolutely make an appointment with your dermatologist.
“There’s a thing called lentigo maligna on the face. They can just show up as a dark patch and it can be mistaken for dark under-eye circles, especially if it’s just one side versus both,” says the Doctor. “That’s something that you want to bring to the attention of a dermatologist because we’re seeing an increase in melanoma.”
If you’re not looking for drastic results and just want something to help you look a bit more awake, there are some topical ingredients that can be helpful to treat genetic dark circles.
Products to help manage genetic dark circles
This sunscreen is recommended by the doctor to use as it helps to prevent dark circles from getting worse but remember that it will not brighten them. The doctor says “It’s critical to use sunscreen, especially for pigment that’s hereditary,” and moreover says “It just gets worse with sun exposure.”
The Doctors are fan of the Isdin K-Ox Eyes cream because it has vitamin K to stimulates blood flow and hyaluronic acid to draw moisture to the under-eye area.
“I happen to love my own peptide eye creams, which is a peptide-rich product that really nourishes the delicate tissues around the eyes,” says the Doctor. “A great peptide-rich eye cream can improve the turgor of the skin around the eyes, which is the thinnest skin on the body.”
This Eye treatment from Nairian contains soothing cucumber and stimulating caffeine. “I recommend products with caffeine because it constricts the blood vessels,” says the Doctor.
Doctor also likes this cream from SkinBetter, a line that you can only purchase through a dermatologist. “I like really the SkinBetter InterFuse Eye because it has vitamin C that brightens up the skin and then caffeine which constricts the vessels,” she says.
According to the doctor, consider getting something from your derm if you want to polish the dark circles under your eyes. The doctor says “Topicals do work for discoloration, but again, the prescription-strength topicals are much more effective than the over-the-counter strength.”
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