Me and My Under Eye Shadows

I think the most prominent signs of aging on my face  are the dark shadows under my eyes.  Most women over age 40 share my problem, but not all shadows come from the same source.  In fact there are three  major causes:

1.  Excess Pigmentation– the darkened areas are actually deposits of melanin, produced from too much sun exposure.  The melanin can accumulate both above and below the eyes and is often an inheritied trait.  That is to say, some people tend to make more melanin in that area.  This  is a major cause of my dark circles.  According to Dr Ellen Marmur, my dermatologist,  the dark pigmentation under my eyes are actually  groups of  10-12 tiny freckles.  My take-away from that is that I really need a turbo powered sunscreen for my eyes.  Its the #1 item on my beauty  shopping list.

2.  Pigmentation from blood hemoglobin—  the second cause  of dark shadows  is the presence of tiny fragile blood vessels that leak  minute  amounts of blood.  The hemoglobin in the blood darkens  and is seen as bluish shadows under the very thin skin  in the area. I  have seen eye care products with caffeine  and since  caffeine  consticts blood vessels, maybe that’s another  effective tool.    That might also be how cold tea bags can reduce  eye swelling. 

3.  Structural changes age we grow older —  Fat pads which give  youthful contours to our cheeks and jawline, also plump up the eye area.  As the fat pads naturally shrink with age, the loss of underlying volume leads to hollows under the eye, which then look dark and shaded. How do you tell  if this  is the cause of your under eye shadows?    Gently move the skin away from the shadow.  If the skin looks light and natural, then the discoloration is caused, at least in part, by age-related hollows. 

There is certainly no shortage of products that promise to reduce dark circles-  but do they deliever?  Some have good science behind them while others seem to  created in a  marketing brain storming session.  I’ve been  trying out different ones and taking before and after pix.  But I have only two eyes and there are  so many  options.  Happily,  friends  have offered the use of their dark circles for science.  I’m really curious to see  what we   discover.

8 thoughts on “Me and My Under Eye Shadows

  1. I am so happy you are addressing this – I have #1 and starting #3 and it’s driving me crazy. Thanks to a lifetime of oily skin – the rest of my face looks great! but my eyes make me look old. I have resorted to using the dark spot stuff not just on my face but adding it to the under eye ditch. Just started – can’t tell if its working yet.

    What makes me angry is that the beauty counter people keep trying to sell me stuff for puffy eyes. I don’t have puffy eyes – just a small fat puff in the corner of eye you described in #3. They all SWEAR their cream can fix the problem. Can’t wait to see what you find out.

  2. Could the purple circles under my eyes (close to the bridge of my nose) be caused from bad sinuses? I had sinus surgery 4 yrs ago.

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