The Tipping List
Send under-eye circles packing
There’s no need to carry around this extra baggage
As if having persistent under-eye circles (even when you’ve had a full night’s sleep) isn’t bad enough, did you know that there are actually many causes of circles? Even if you could care less about the “why” and just want to get rid of them, it’s important to figure out what’s contributing to the shadows in order to select the best solution.
First, there’s the obvious lack of sleep thing, so if a solid 8 hours of shut-eye fixes the problem, you can probably stop reading here. Then there’s puffiness and fluid retention caused by too much salt or irritation like allergies. Your best bet in this case is to eliminate the offender and be on your merry way. But what if the cause is out of your control, like genetics or the aging process? This is when you may need a little extra help.
Discoloration: If you pull your under-eye skin taut and you still see the dark red-purple color, this is caused by pigment, and a variety of topical products can slowly by surely improve the problem. You can try Hylexin, a cream sold at department and beauty stores, or talk to your dermatologist or plastic surgeon about something stronger. He or she may likely recommend prescription-strength hydroquinone to lighten the skin over a few months. Hylexin: $95, sephora.com
Hollows: Genetics or age-related changes in the fat around the eyes can lead to a depression beneath the eyes that causes prominent shadows. Also called a tear trough deformity, these hollows are best treated by filling the area with injections of hyaluronic-acid based fillers like Restylane or Perlane. (Longer-lasting products can also be used, but you probably want to start with a more temporary product to make sure you like how it looks.) These injections take about 15 minutes and results last for six months or more, but you may experience bruising for up to a week (so please don’t schedule the day before a big event!). When considering this treatment, be sure to select a dermatologist or plastic surgeon who has extensive experience using injectables under the eyes since it’s an extremely technique-dependent procedure.
Bags: Under-eye bags are really just pockets of fat, and you can blame your DNA or Father Time. Surgery is usually the treatment of choice for true under-eye bags, since the only way to get rid of these fat pockets is to physically remove them. Sure, surgery is not something to be taken lightly, but you may be surprised to know that recovery from eyelid surgery is relatively fast and comfortable (i.e. not that painful). If you do decide to move forward and schedule a consultation, make sure your surgeon is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the American Board of Otolaryngology or the American Board of Ophthalmology with accreditation by the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.