Managing Dark Under Eye Circles

Whether the problem is chronic or situational, no one likes to have unsightly, dark circles around her eyes. So what can be done to prevent them or get rid of them?

The first step is understanding what can cause them. Dr. Laurie Polis, a dermatologist in New York City, says, "Dark circles can be caused by a lack of sleep, heredity, the architecture of your eyes and the translucency of the skin under your eyes."

Dark circles are often found lurking around the eyes in the company of fine lines. The cause of fine lines can range from simple aging to excessive sun exposure and smoking. If you have chronic problems with dark circles and fine lines around your eyes, definitely avoid and eliminate exposure to the culprits listed above. Managing or getting rid of the dark circles under your eyes begins with skin care at its most basic level. To promote healthier skin, be sure to drink plenty of water each day (it is generally recommended that a person drink six 8 oz glasses of water a day- or a little more than 1 liter a day). Also be sure to use skin cleansers that are gentle and do not contain harsh or irritating chemicals. Using a non-comedogenic (won't clog pores) moisturizer daily is also very important. The skin around the eyes is very sensitive and delicate, so it's a good idea to use a separate, specialized moisturizer for the skin around the eyes.

Once you have completed the basic steps of skin care, you can focus on managing any remaining skin darkness or fine lines found around the eyes. Dr. Polis gives the following tip, "Use an eye cream containing light-reflecting particles, or learn to camouflage." Camouflaging can be done several ways- there is no "best" way, just use whatever method seems to work best for you and your skin.

Celebrity make-up artist Valerie Sarnelle says, "For...under-eye concealing look for products that are thin, not thick, and then build it on in layers, patting -- and not rubbing -- each layer in until you cover your flaws." Adrien Arpel, also a celebrity make-up artist, suggests, "For better under-eye coverage choose a blue-based concealer, which helps reflect the light and make the eyes look brighter. For extra heavy dark circles try a yellow- or orange-based concealer, which neutralizes darkness beneath the eyes. If you don't have a color concealer, use foundation two shades lighter under your eyes and blend, blend, blend!" You may also find that the darkest area of eye circle is in the inner corner of the eye--if this is the case for you, using a white or blue-toned eye liner pencil to camouflage (some companies make them specifically for covering up dark circles). Avoid using dark eye liners, or eye liner at all, to keep from drawing attention to eyes where the darkness is more noticeable.

Finally, if reflecting light or camouflaging just isn't satisfactory enough for you, there are several products that lighten hyperpigmented or unevenly toned skin. A dermatologist can recommend, or even prescribe, a cream or product that is safe to use around the eyes. Alternatively, there are many products available to consumers without a prescription, which have undergone clinical trials to measure safety & effectiveness.