Thursday, February 27, 2020

Treating dark circles under the eyes

Jul 11. 2019
Thanisorn Thamlikitkul MD
Thanisorn Thamlikitkul MD
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Special to The Nation 

If you’ve ever experienced dark circles or shadows under your eyes, you’ll know how annoying they are and how they typically give a fatigued and aged appearance to your face. So, what’s the treatment to cure the dark circles?

Dark circles are exactly what they sound like: dark areas that are located underneath your eyes. They are common, and unfortunately can develop as a part of the ageing process though they may occur in young people, too. While they aren’t a medical concern, they can be an instigator of cosmetic distress.

To treat dark circles, dermatologists must first determine the cause. Thin lower eyelid skin, hyperpigmentation, blood vessels, an orbital structural problem or some combination of all four, are the usual culprits. Medical treatment can vary depending on the underlying cause. Sometimes multiple treatments may be promising and efficacious. For example, if you have dark circles because of hyperpigmentation caused by inflammation in the skin as a result of an allergic reaction or frequently rubbing the skin under the eye area, the discoloration can be treated by topical medication combined with allergy treatment and simply avoiding scratching or rubbing beneath your eyes. Laser treatment is also an option and is effective in lightening the dark circles. And thanks to modern laser technology, the Nu Pico Laser, the latest generation of lasers, is the treatment of choice for pigmentation, especially at the delicate undereye area thanks to its safety profile.

The Nu Pico is a pigment-targeting laser which is named after the unit of time of its pulse duration. The laser pulse from the Nu Pico Laser is so fast that it offers a strong, photomechanical effect that shatters the unwanted pigment that will then be easily flushed by the body. This means that the dark eye circles will be cleared up in fewer treatments than if an ordinary laser is used. Besides, the Nu Pico Laser is suitable for all skin tones, including darker skin tone. Undereye hyperpigmentation, however, is more common in those with darker skin tones, particularly Indian women, and it is considered as having a genetic basis. The Nu Pico Laser is quite safe in treating skin of colour and minimising the occurrence of excessive pigmentation.

Another very common cause of dark circles is thin and translucent undereye skin that increases the visibility of blood vessels causing the undereye areas to look purple or bluish. In this case, a vascular laser that targets blood vessels might be recommended. The laser will destroy and cause vessels to shrink. The deconstructed blood vessels are then reabsorbed into the body and the bluish color under the eye dissipates.

Most often, dark circles are the result of a sunken tear trough or bone structure. These features create shadow that shows up as a dark circle. The problem can be addressed by filler injection. The treatment assists by filling the tear trough areas, making them look less tired and completely rejuvenating the lower eyelid areas.

Undereye filler injection is a quick fix but it is not risk free. Injecting into this area should be performed only by a dermatologist who specialises in this field to ensure that you’re in safe hands.

THANISORN THAMLIKITKUL MD is a member of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery and certified in dermatological laser surgery. Send your questions for her to

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