The dreaded phrase “you look tired” comes with the instant mental image of dark, deflated under-eye circles. But contrary to popular belief, fatigue isn’t the only reason dark circles crop up. Hereditary predisposition, dilated blood vessels, thinning skin, discoloration, allergies and skin irritation contribute to these unwanted accessories. While concealer is your best bet to camouflaging their appearance, some topical vitamin treatments, a regular moisturizing routine and a healthy lifestyle may help keep fatigue, hyperpigmentation and dry skin around the eyes at bay.
First Line of Defense
One culprit behind dark circles is enlarged or dilated veins around the eyes. While vitamin K supplements have been popularly lauded for the ability to de-puff the eye area by improving circulation, no definitive studies have been completed on this front. However, you can give your topical vitamin K routine a boost with a cream containing a retinol. This ingredient encourages collagen production and new cell growth, which may help give your eyes a fresher, brighter appearance. It won’t hurt to up the vitamin K in your diet with healthful broccoli, cabbage, seaweed and dark greens but these additions won’t necessarily de-puff your eyes or give you glowing skin after a couple days of religiously healthy snacking. Laser treatments at your dermatologist’s office are one of the only proven methods to decrease the visibility of blood vessels more effectively than either diet or topical creams.
Vitamin C Crash Course
Vitamin C may provide a boost of brightness and antioxidant power to your face if you have thinning, dry skin or visible veins. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C helps prevent sun damage and may brighten age or sun spots. The antioxidants in vitamin C may also encourage collagen production and higher circulation for firmer skin. In general, these topical creams can be applied once a day. However, the exfoliating nature of these creams might irritate some sensitive skin types; in which case, try applying the cream every few days. Up your vitamin C intake by eating lots of fresh citrus, red and green peppers, strawberries and broccoli. These foods won’t give your skin a sudden and complete makeover but they will give your overall diet and immune system a healthful boost.
The Best of Vitamin B
Many people struggle with sensitive skin around the eyes, which can lead to irritation, discoloration and that dreaded tired look. That’s where vitamin B3 comes in. Also known as niacinamide, this form of B vitamin boosts the production of fatty acids, which prevents the skin from losing water and retains elasticity. This property helps protect skin that gets easily irritated by sun and pollutants. Niacinamide also lightens age spots, scarring and any areas of heightened pigmentation and can help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles under the eyes. Niacinamide creams can be applied topically morning and evening to reap the full benefits. This protective vitamin has been reported to increase overall energy when incorporated into your diet. Foods like whole grains, dark greens and eggs introduce a healthy dose of B vitamins into your system.
Reap the Benefits of Retinoids
For those who suffer from hyperpigmentation, age spots or sagging skin, vitamin A is a potent force against signs of aging around the eyes. There are creams that are derived from vitamin A known as retinoids, which come in different forms of concentration. Proven to be the best weapon in your anti-aging wheelhouse, retinoids can achieve powerful results. Retinoids are a triple-threat, enhancing collagen production, smoothing out the skin and evening out pigmentation. While peeling may occur, it’s more of a mild side effect than a true exfoliating action. Because of its potency, this active can irritate the skin around the eyes, so it’s best to start out by applying the retinoid every other day and keep the application light. If your skin responds well to the topical treatment you can apply the product once every evening. Retinoids should be applied at night because sunlight renders the vitamin A inactive, but they don’t make skin any more vulnerable to UV rays than a buffing face scrub would. Adding bright foods, such as sweet potato, carrot, papaya, cheese and eggs to your diet boosts your vitamin A intake. However, your body already stores plenty of vitamin A and these dietary additions won’t make your skin glow, thicken or tighten automatically.
This article has been reviewed by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Emmy Graber.