Non-surgical Solutions for Dark Circles that Actually Work

Dark circles can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as lack of rest or sunken under-eye areas. If you noticed that your dark circles do not get better even if you had lots of rest, it could be due to a lack of volume in your under-eye area. Dark circles can make you look tired and restless, and many people search high and low for an effective solution.

There are surgical methods such as repositioning or transplanting fat under the eyes to treat dark circles, but most people tend to shy away from surgical methods due to the anesthesia, incision, and recovery period involved. There are also safe, non-surgical treatments, and we're not just talking about the home remedies you see online that do not work.

To find the most suitable and effective treatment for you, Dr. Kim Jiseon from MH Clinic has shared four main causes of dark circles that most people are unaware of, and recommended some effective non-surgical treatments for each cause.

Dr. Kim Jiseon at MH Skin Clinic in Korea

1. Under Eyes Filler - works for dark circles caused by sunken under-eyes

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Firstly, if you have dark circles caused by sunken under-eye areas, the best treatment for you would be getting under eyes fillers. This most distinctive feature of this type of dark circles is that you have noticeable tear trough hollowing. The tear trough causes a shadow on the under-eye, which resembles dark circles. The cause of this may be due to aging, but there also cases where the tear trough is inherited.

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For such cases, fillers are the first treatment that is usually recommended. In order to achieve the most natural results, there are some things to take note when choosing the filler type. Firstly, regular hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers are transparent, which means that the under-eye area may continue to appear bluish even after the procedure. These regular HA fillers are unsuitable for dark circles or aegyo sal (love bands under the eyes).

For dark circles, an opaque filler such as Ellanse is recommended. Because this filler is opaque, it helps to scatter the light due to the Tyndall effect, which makes the under-eye area look brighter. The filler also stimulates collagen production, allowing for natural anti-aging results and is suitable for use around the sensitive eyes. Many people have the misconception that fillers are all made the same because all they do is add volume to the face, but that is not true because each filler has its own use and appropriate treatment location.

Related: A Korean Dermatologist's Guide to Facial Fillers

2. Combination of Thread Lifting and Ultherapy - for dark circles caused by excess and sagging under-eye fat

Photo Credit: American Academy of Opthalmology

If your dark circles are caused by protruding excess fat in the under-eye area, it can be corrected with a combination of Thread Lifting and Ultherapy. There are surgical and non-surgical methods for treating under-eye protrusions. This excess fat is commonly known as "eyebags". The fat is held together by a thin, tough membrane called the orbital septum. As you get older, this membrane becomes loosened due to aging and the fat in the orbital septum sags, forming eyebags.

Surgical methods to remove these eyebags include laser removal of the fat either through an incision on the outer side of the under-eye or through the conjunctiva on the inner side of the under-eye. Surgery is very effective in treating under-eye protrusions as the fat is removed during surgery, but in some cases where the fat is so concentrated, a tear trough might form after surgery, which can lead to the recurrence of dark circles. In addition, even though the fat is removed, it does not other fundamental problems such as loss of skin elasticity and pigmentation are not resolved through surgery.

On the other hand, the non-surgical method of combining Thread Lifting and Ultherapy laser gives you natural results, is safe, and does not require any sleep anesthesia. Because the skin around the eyes is thinner and more sensitive, using threads with the thinnest PDO will be the safest approach. In addition, the Ultherapy laser can resolve skin elasticity and pigmentation issues while the eyebags are held together with thread lifting, so repeated procedures are not required. This method is very effective for dark circles caused by eye bags, and can also help to improve wrinkles around the eye area.

3. Laser Treatment - for dark circles caused by blood vessels showing up under thin skin

If you do not notice any sunken or protruding areas under your eyes, your dark circles may be due to blood vessels and muscles showing up under the thin under-eye skin. The skin under the eyes is so thin that the redness of the orbital muscle or the subcutaneous blood vessels may appear under the skin, and this is when it appears red from the outside. It is especially obvious when you're tired because the blood in the vessels lacks oxygen and becomes darker.

To resolve this, treatment can be performed with a blood vessel laser. Excel-V, V-beam and Cynergy are some lasers that can help you achieve great results.

Exel-V is a laser with three functions that improve skin aging with various effects such as toning under-eye vascular pigmentation. The laser has various modes to treat pigmentation in various depths:

  1. Long pulse 532 KTP laser mode to treat vascular pigmentation close to epidermis
  2. Long pulse 1064mm wavelength laser mode to treat deep, thick vascular lesions
  3. Microsecond Nd:Yag laser mode to treat pores, scars, fine wrinkles, and even out skin tone

The V-beam shrinks blood vessels to target problems like facial flushing, surgical scarring, and keloid, mainly caused by excessive expansion of capillaries. It can also destroy hemoglobin, a pigment protein in red blood cells, without damaging the skin tissue.

The Cynergy is a laser optimized for capturing all blemishes and facial flushing blemishes caused by vascular diseases. It reduces the number of aging blood vessels and stimulates regeneration of new blood vessels.

4. Toning and Luminus Cell - for dark circles caused by pigmentation

When the cause of dark circles is pigmentation, it can be corrected with Toning (Whitening) and Luminus Cell. Increased melanin pigmentation around the eyes causes the under-eye area to be darker. Atopy, allergies, and the habit of rubbing the eyes may also contribute to pigmentation. To alleviate this symptom, Whitening Therapy and Luminus Cell Therapy are suitable to improve skin pigmentation.

We've broken down the main causes of dark circles that most people are unaware of. However, everyone is different and in some cases, your dark circles might be due to combination of reasons. To find out the best treatment for your dark circle worries, you should consult a professional to get advice on the cause of your dark circles.

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