Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dark Circles Causes and How to Get Rid of Them

Many of us suffer with dark circles under our eyes. In answer to this common problem, there is an endless availability of creams, in the stores and on the Internet, that offer promises to remove them. These creams can get quite expensive and in many cases does not tackle the underlying cause. So its important to determine the cause of these circles. For this, we need to understand the nature of facial skin.

Unlike skin elsewhere, facial skin is relatively thin, especially underneath the eyes. Facial skin has an incredibly rich blood and nerve supply. Because of this, when we become dehydrated from not drinking enough water, this can make the skin under our eyes appear thinner. This would make skin pigments and blood vessels become more apparent, and thus, giving a darker appearance. Excessive alcohol consumption also leeches the body of water and this can have the same effect.

Dark circles can also be caused by increased pigmentation. Dark circles tend to be more of a problem in races with darker skin. This is true for those who just tend to tan easily, and people who are of African and Indian descent.

Some medications like the oral combined contraceptive, HRT and pregnancy it self can lead to increases in facial pigmentation causing a condition called Melasma (also known as the mask of pregnancy). Melasma typical affects the cheeks and the skin below the eyes.

So how do you get rid of dark circles?

1) See your doctor and get full health screen to rule out reversible problems like anaemia.
2) Drink plenty of water, and stay well hydrated.
3) Avoid excessive alcohol.
4) Avoid excessive sun exposure; tanning will make pigmented dark circles worse.
5) If you're on medication, like the oral contraceptive pill, this may make dark circles under the eyes more apparent. Talk to your doctor about alternative means of birth control.
6) If you have allergies that affect your eyes, this can worsen dark circles. Discuss the prospect of anti-histamines with your doctor.
7) If none of this helps, ask to see a dermatologist. There are various techniques (such as laser treatments and fillers like Juvederm and Restylane) which may help.

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