The causes of shadowy under-eye circles are many—lack of sleep, thinning skin from simple aging, genetic predisposition, damaging environmental factors and allergic reactions all contribute to this common beauty problem. While the laundry list of causes may seem intimidating, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Your solutions are just as numerous as the causes, especially as skin care tech, trends and treatments continue to evolve.
All in the Retinol
While vitamin A–derived retinoids have been a beauty industry staple for decades, helping do everything from refine pores to fight wrinkles, they have a few new partners to lend a hand in the fight against dark circles. Paired with ingredients such as adenosine and retinyl linoleate, retinol penetrates the skin more quickly and acts more gently, cutting back on the redness and irritation that more concentrated retinoids may cause.
Some fresh under-eye creams and correctors employ palmitoyl-based ingredients, which ease the appearance of under-eye circles by reducing inflammation and thickening the skin. By plumping up the under-eye area through an increase in collagen, palmitoyl helps to counteract the transparency of mature skin, and reduce the appearance of dark blood vessels. In contrast to the slow-acting treatments of yore, penetration-encouraging agents such as jasmine derivatives help today’s eye creams work more quickly and efficiently.
The Latest “It” Factor
Human growth factors, or epidermal growth factors (EGF), are naturally occurring hormones and proteins that stimulate cellular growth. By boosting collagen production and healing capabilities, growth factors offer a spectrum of benefits that help out in the dark circles department—regular application of a cream or serum with EGF can reduce the appearance of lines, improve the effects of aging caused by photodamage and lend rough skin a smoother texture.
Tried and True
While you shouldn’t ignore innovation in skin care, don’t forget to look into the staples. In addition to retinol, seek under-eye creams that contain time-tested ingredients such as skin-brightening phytonadione, known more commonly as vitamin K. Also in the vitamin realm, standbys like vitamin C and E have been proven to reduce the appearance of under-eye circles. Antioxidant vitamin C does so by combating cell damage via encouraging collagen synthesis, while anti-inflammatory vitamin E protects the skin from damaging and darkening UV rays.
Trends in Makeup
When paired with effective eye creams, makeup makes for a one-two punch against dark circles. Illuminating concealers are perpetually popular, and for good reason—these handy concealer pens specifically balance out the blue and green tones associated with dark circles, adding a little glow to the under-eye area. You can also use spot concealers with added botanical skin-lightening agents to ease the issue; some of the latest include licorice or mulberry extract.
This article has been reviewed by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Emmy Graber.