If you could name the one feature that makes you feel less confident about your appearance, what would you say? A lot of people would name the dark circles under their eyes. Dark circles can make you look tired and can add years to your appearance.
People who have dark circles often wonder what they can do to get rid of them, or at the very least, what they can do to make the circles less visible. Blepharoplasty, aka an eyelid lift, can help in some cases. It all depends on the cause of dark circles.
What Causes Dark Circles?
Although many assume that dark circles develop under the eyes when you don’t get enough sleep, the reality is that many things can cause them. The skin in the area beneath the eyes is sensitive and thinner than the skin on other parts of the face, so blood vessels can be more visible beneath it.
Two common causes of dark under-eye circles are allergies and irritation. If you regularly rub your eyes, you can damage the small blood vessels beneath the skin, making them visible. The blood vessels can leave what looks like dark half-moons under the eyes.
Allergies that cause nasal congestion or a rash on the skin can also make the blood vessels in the under-eye area more prominent, contributing to dark circles. You might also notice that dark circles are more visible when you have a cold or sinus problem, thanks to the swelling of the blood vessels near the nose and eyes.
While not getting enough sleep can make dark circles more visible, so can your sleeping position. If you sleep on your stomach or side, fluid can pool in the area below the eyes, making circles more prominent.
In some cases, dark circles are simply areas of excess pigmentation beneath the eyes. People with darker complexions might be more likely to have dark circles that develop because of excess pigmentation.
Finally, the aging process can also lead to the development of dark circles, or at least, the appearance of dark circles under the eyes. Some people develop under-eye bags as they get older. The bags can cast shadows, making the eyes below the eyes look darker.
Dark Circles vs. Bags Under the Eyes vs. Festoons
Dark circles are often grouped with puffy eyes or under-eye bags, but the truth is, they are different concerns. Under-eye bags and puffiness are also different from festoons, another issue they’re often confused with.
When people talk about dark circles, they’re usually referring to dark half-moons that stretch from the tear duct to the opposite corner of the eye.
When people talk about under-eye bags, they’re usually referring to areas of puffiness just below the eye. The puffiness might have the same half-moon shape as a dark circle, and in fact, dark circles can also accompany under-eye bags.
Bags beneath the eyes usually develop as a result of weakening muscles and sagging skin in the area below the eye. Fat deposits can shift downward, making the bags look puffy. In some instances, bags form under the eyes because of fluid buildup and swelling.
Festoons are sometimes confused with under-eye bags but are different. Festoons are slightly lower than under-eye bags and usually form along the upper cheeks.
They often occur with under-eye bags and can be treated with the same methods, including surgery. Festoon surgery focuses on tightening loose muscles and removing any sagging skin. It can be performed as part of an eyelid lift.
Dark Circle Treatment Options
While blepharoplasty is usually the most effective way to treat under-eye bags or festoons, you have a few options when it comes to treating dark circles. The best treatment typically depends on the cause of the circles.
For example, getting a good night’s sleep or two can help circles caused by being overtired fade away. If your dark circles are due to allergies or a cold, taking an antihistamine or a nasal decongestant can help.
In the case of circles that develop as a result of the aging process, using an eye cream that contains a retinoid can be helpful. The retinoid can help to stimulate collagen in the skin below your eyes, making it thicker and helping to mask the blood vessels that create the shadows.
Blepharoplasty is another treatment option that can be effective when dark circles develop as part of the aging process. You’re likely to see good results if you have dark circles along with under-eye bags.
How Blepharoplasty Can Get Rid of Dark Circles
If you’ve got dark circles and under-eye bags, an eyelid lift can help to reduce the size of the bags, making your dark circles less visible. During a lower eyelid lift, Dr. Bared makes an incision in the lash line, then removes any excess fat from the area. If necessary, he will also cut away excess skin and tighten the muscles in the under-eye area.
The result is a smoother, bag-free area under the eyes. Since the bags are gone, they can’t create the shadows that might have contributed to your dark circles.
Deciding if Blepharoplasty Is Right for You
Blepharoplasty can help you look more youthful and alert and can help you feel more confident in your appearance. Some of the things to consider when deciding whether or not the surgery is the right choice include your schedule, your overall health and the cause of your under-eye circles.
Typically, the right candidate for blepharoplasty will be in good health. It’s also important that a candidate have enough time for the procedure itself and the recovery afterward. Initial recovery can take up to two weeks, so make sure you can take the time off from work or other activities before deciding to go ahead.
Speaking with a board-certified plastic surgeon, such as Dr. Anthony Bared, can be one way to determine if eyelid surgery is right for you. During a consultation, Dr. Bared will examine your eye area and assess the cause of your dark circles. He’ll discuss the pros and cons of blepharoplasty with you to help you make the right choice. Call 800-943-7295 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Bared today.