What do you do
about dark circles?
Hollow and/or colored, dark circles make the face look permanently sad and tired, even if you are in great shape. Today, there are non invasive and effective procedures to eliminate them.
Answers and explanations from aesthetic medicine. With the amiable collaboration of Doctor Katia Taoueb, aesthetic physician from the 16th arrondissement of Paris
The first visible signs of aging appear in the eye contour area. This is normal given that the skin in that area is particularly fragile and thin, with a thickness three to five times inferior to other parts of the body. But that's not all.
Another factor is a specific type of aging associated with increased oxidative stress following climatic aggressions, sun exposure, winds, lack of sleep, smoking, alcohol consumption and excess time spent in front of a computer screen.
It becomes manifest through different changes that include both hollow and/or colored dark circles, which, according to research, represent women's number one skin concern.
To deal with this unsightly and complex problem, we should first play the prevention card with a healthy lifestyle (elimination of tobacco, sufficient sleep, no sun exposure, wearing sun glasses) and everyday skincare rituals (makeup removal, moisturization) consisting of advanced cosmetic products specially designed for the eye area (see box).
The next step is aestheticmedicine, with only minimally or completely non invasive procedures: injections of hyaluronic acid, fat, superficial skin peels.
With age, the fat surrounding the eye gradually melts away, the bony contour of the eye orbit becomes more visible and hollow circles appear. Two high-performance procedures can add volume to this vulnerable area: one medical and temporary (hyaluoronic acid injections), the other surgical and definitive (lipostructure).
Hyaluronic acid injections
Hyaluronic acid injections represent the leading procedures for hollow dark circles. But careful! Not all types of hyaluronic acid are suitable for the delicate eye contour area. To ensure natural and even corrective results, the practitioner will use specific hyaluronic acid with optimal spreadability and placement capacity.
How is it done? Injected deep into the skin, the product gently spreads and instantly coats the dark circle. A single injection is generally sufficient to cover the area from the cheekbone to the inner eye corner and delicately fill in the circle as well as all fine lines located along the lashline. The procedure is painless given that the formulation of most hyaluronic acids includes a numbing agent called lidocaine.
Results: Results are immediate and spectacular, lasting up to twelve months. Dark circles are very clearly attenuated, eyes look recontoured and the entire eye area regains all its radiance.
Side effects: Occasional local manifestations (i.e. inflammatory reactions, haematomas, temporary numbness, indurations, dyschromia…) or general manifestations (i.e. hypersensibility) may occur immediately after the injection or after a delay.
Lipostructure also called lipofilling, is a surgical technique consisting of delicately filling in dark undereye circles with fat taken from the patient herself.
How is it done? Performed by a plastic surgeon on an outpatient basis, the procedure starts with some atraumatic liposuction, intended to collect, after local anesthesia, about 20cc of fat from the inside of each knee or thigh. Centrifuged for a few seconds, the fat is instantly reinjected, with a fine micro-cannula, into the top layers of the concerned areas.
Results: Immediately after the procedure, dark circles look filled in, the eyes appear refreshed. However, it is necessary to wait for six to eight months for these results to stabilize and remain intact for life.
Complex and delicate, colored dark circles are treated differently depending on their shade.
The brown color of dark circles corresponds to cutaneous hyperpigmentation. It is often hereditary and associated with ethnic origins (North Africa, India, the Mediterranean Basin). To diminish it, physicians use specific peels with no risk of causing inflammation that could further accentuate the pigments.
To date, gentle peels with low concentrations of TCA (trichloracetic acid) have been most widely used.
However, recently physicians started giving preference to a new generation of safe and effective surface peels, the formula of which combines two remarkable active ingredients: glycolic acid to strengthen desquamation and stimulate cell growth and lactic acid to lighten the epidermis.
How is it done? The practitioner applies the peel under the eye and leaves it on for a few minutes. Then, the peel is eliminated with compresses of neutralizing solution before the treated area is soothed and nourished with a moisturizing cream.
Results: After the very first session, the skin appears clearer, brown colored dark circles are discreetly diminished. These results will intensify with each consecutive session: skin on the lower eyelid, gently boosted by the peels, will look more even and luminous while hyperpigmentation will no longer be visible. In order for these benefits to be long-lasting, it is necessary to be consistent and follow a protocol of four sessions, performed at two week intervals.
Side effects: Some redness that will rapidly fade. No recovery time necessary.
In this case, the color corresponds to excessive dilation of small dermal vessels and capillaries, which may be inherited, age related or due to extreme climatic conditions (severe cold, excessive heat).
Procedure: vascular laser energy which coagulates the vessels. Only drawback: the closeness to the eye requires very precise gestures.
The extreme thinness of lower eyelid skin, combined with absence of subcutaneous fat, means that the underlying structures, bluish veins and purple-tinted muscles, appear by transparency.
Procedure: daily use of flesh colored concealer given that no cosmetic care could actually make skin thicker!
When the hollowed out look of undereye circles is exacerbated by unusual discoloration, the right strategy consists of first treating the hollow area and then correcting the darkened color of the skin.
Once delicately filled in, the shadow area of the undereye circle attracts more light and the dark coloring appears brighter. At the same time, color correction will be less demanding than if it had been done first. Frequently it even proves unnecessary.
For the specific eye area, TEOXANE Cosmeceuticals products and skincare protocol indicated:
• Everyday, in the morning and evening, carefully eliminate eye and face makeup with RHA™ PRIME SOLUTION. Boasting a complex of high-performance anti-aging ingredients (RHA™ resilient hyaluronic acid, Dermo-Restructuring Complex, Novhyal), combined with soothing rose water, this cleansing solution prepares the eye contour for the application of specific skincare.
• Morning and evening, all eye contour problems are specifically targeted: dark circles, puffiness, wrinkles and fine lines, with R[II]EYES. Its exclusive applicator delivers an immediate refreshing and decongesting effect and its comprehensive composition combines the TEOXANE anti-aging complex (RHA™, Dermo-Restructuring Complex and NovHyal) with active ingredients recognized for providing an expert anti-fatigue and anti-aging solution; Hamamelis* extract and Escin** known for their properties to stimulate the microcirculation, hyaluronic acid fragments*** and EPS Seafill**** for their stimulative effect on collagen and elastin synthesis, and pigments and soft focus for their capacity to correct immediately the color.
Specially designed to be fragrance-free for sensitivity around the eyes. 96% of volunteers want to continue to use the product. For 83%, the eye contour area is decongest and 74% observed a reduction of puffiness.*****
*Augustin, M., Hoch, Y. (2004): Phytotherapie bei Hauterkrankungen. München: Elsevier. Bühring, U. (2009): Praxis-Lehrbuch der modernen Heilpflanzenkunde. Stuttgart: Sonntag Verlag.
**Lorenz D, Marek ML. (1960) Das therapeutische wirksame Prinzip der Rosskastanie (Aesculus hippocastanum). Arzneim- Forsch 10:263-272.
***Ex-Vivo tests performed on the ingredient by an independant laboratory.
**** In-Vivo test on the ingredient performed on 17 volunteers by an independant laboratory
*****Self-evaluation carried out on 23 volunteers under dermatological control during 28 days.