Let’s shed some light on dark circles
In our previous article, Men’s Eye Care 101, we covered a lot of information about common eye care concerns. We covered wrinkles, bags, and puffy eyes.
Dark circles are not simple, so we put together this guide to give the topic the space it needs.
What causes them?
Most people will experience a mild form of dark circles because of the naturally thin, delicate nature of the skin around the eyes. The skin is so thin (remember: 1-ply tissue) that it causes the blood vessels and veins which are very close to the skin’s surface to be visible. These veins and capillaries carry blue-hued, deoxygenated blood, which is why the area appears to have a blue tinge.
Tear Trough Shadows
For some men, their dark circles are much more pronounced simply because of shadows. The area underneath the lower eyelid and above the cheek is known as the tear trough. A deep tear trough can cause a shadow to form in the area, giving the appearance of dark circles. Most of the discolouration these men see are shadows being cast by the structure of their faces. The Aesthetics Journal has a great summary of this phenomenon, which you can read here.
You can do a quick test at home to see if your dark circles are mostly shadows. Stand in front of a mirror in a room with good lighting. Look directly into the mirror, focusing your attention on the dark recesses around your eyes. Then, move your head slowly in various directions (look up, down, left and right). Notice whether the majority of the discolouration disappears or whether it stays exactly in the same spot under your eyes. If the dark circles disappear when you change angles, then its likely just shadows being cast by your facial structure.
Allergies and Genetics
Another potential culprit for dark circles is allergies and chronic sinus issues. The chronic inflammation from these conditions can cause a permanent blue-purple color to set under the eyes.
One last thing to consider is your genetics. If dark circles are common in your family, then you are likely to experience them as well.
Two Other Theories
For many others, their dark circles are unfortunately not just shadows. There are two theories as to why they experience more darkening than others.
Theory number one focuses on the accumulation of melanin.
When your skin is damaged and becomes inflamed, it triggers your body’s response to produce more melanin. Melanin is a dark brown pigment that is produced by our skin and hair. Dark circles can be made worse from exposure to UV rays from the sun and tanning beds.
Since the skin around your eyes is so delicate, the UV light damages your skin much and causes inflammation much more easily, triggering dark pigment to be created in the skin. Men with darker skin are more prone to producing extra melanin, which is a common concern amongst this demographic.
Theory number two is relatively new to the skin care conversation table. It focuses on the accumulation of heme.
Heme is an iron-rich molecule found in red blood cells. According to the heme theory, the veins and blood vessels in the under eye area can become leaky, allowing red blood cells to escape out into the surrounding tissues. When the red blood cells are broken down and the hemoglobin inside them oxidizes, it has a dark blue-black color, which discolors the thin skin under the eyes. This build up of heme is believed to cause dark circles.
What can you do?
There are multiple potential reasons why a man has dark circles around his eyes. Here is a list of things that you can do to keep them under control.
Protect your eyes from UV damage
Wear sunscreen regularly and UV protective sunglasses to protect the skin around your eyes.
Manage your allergies and chronic sinus condition
If you experience allergies or chronic sinus issues, be sure to manage your symptoms as recommended by your physician. Avoid your allergy triggers whenever possible. If you are not presently working with a specialist, consider booking an appointment with one to learn more about how you can stay on top of your condition.
Use an eye cream or serum
To treat the issue, Vitamin C is a popular ingredient for lightening darker, pigmented skin. It acts slowly, taking a few weeks before results will begin to show. Choose a serum that has high amounts of stable vitamin C.
Retinol is another popular ingredient in quality eye creams. It safely exfoliates the thin skin around the eyes, which can also help to lighten the area over time. A prescribed retinoid can also help thicken the skin, which can make the underlying blood vessels less visible.
Peptides are also ingredients to look for in eye care products. Peptides in eye-specific products are usually engineered to tighten the skin and strengthen it, making it more resilient to damage.
Chemical Peel series
Booking a series of weekly chemical peels can help speed up the lightening of your under-eyes. We recommend doing 4-6 treatments, once per week. Pairing these treatments with an effective home care eye product will help to boost and prolong the results.
If your dark circles are caused from shadows due to deep tear troughs, dermal fillers may be the solution. The injected substance fills the hollow spaces in the tear trough, changing the structure so that it no longer casts a shadow.
Here is a video that shows the results of applications in the tear trough region on men. The purpose of sharing this video is for the great before and after footage.
*Please note, Bodé is not affiliated with Milo Clinic or supports all of the information provided in the video.
If you have questions about whether dermal fillers would help you with your concerns, book a consultation with a clinic that you trust and that has experience working on men with your specific concerns.
There are laser treatments that are specifically engineered to break down excess pigment in your skin. These treatments can deliver instantaneous results.
Wear Under Eye Concealer
Need to look sharp for a meeting or an event? Need to look fresh instantly? The least invasive and easiest solution is to wear concealer overtop the tear trough area. Makeup is not just for women. Makeup is just paint that’s been formulated for your face and body.
Check out this make up artist’s introduction to covering up dark circles using concealer. The first 4 minutes of the video is the basics, and really all you need to start. If you’re interested in learning more about color theory and makeup, then you can finish the rest of the video.
Unfortunately, there are no makeup stores specifically for guys in Canada. If you want help in choosing a shade and testing a product before buying it, go to a makeup store like Sephora or MAC. They have make up artists that you can schedule an appointment with to test products and to teach you how to use them. These stores also provide samples for you to try the product at home for a few days to see if you like it before you invest your money.