If you woke up with dark spots just under your eyes, the dark circles have caught you - every skincare lover's nightmare. According to dermatologist Dr. Claudia Marçal, dark circles come in violet or brownish brown around the eyelids, the most unsightly being in the lower eyelid. Dark circles may be noticeable in childhood from genetics, and are also more common in some ethnic groups such as Arabs, Turks, Andean and Indians, as these people have a greater natural deposit of pigments.
But in addition to genetics, a number of factors during quarantine may have contributed to the formation or worsening of dark circles.
Types of Dark Circles
There are three types of dark circles and each type has a different cause. For Dr. Paola Pomerantzeff, the structural dark circle is caused by the structural anatomy of the eye socket. Some people have the deepest tear groove. This can be genetically determined or caused by the normal aging process (there is loss of fat in the region and with that the groove becomes deeper). Structural dark circles can worsen due to weight loss.
Vascular dark circles are caused by the presence of vessels below the skin. Those who have more vessels (which are genetically determined) have a greater tendency to get these. Insomnia also makes vascular dark circles worse.
Pigmented dark circles are caused by brownish pigments (excess melanin) in the skin of the lower eyelid. This is caused by lack of sleep or respiratory allergies which can worsen dark circles via increased pigment.
Below, we consulted skincare doctors to clue us in onto why dark circles may have appeared or worsened during quarantine:
You lost too much weight too fast
This is not the best time (in fact, it never is!) to go on an overly restrictive and unattended diet. It may work, but losing too much weight has a negative consequence for your appearance: you will end up looking older. “When we think about weight loss, we often think about the loss of volume and body fat, a slimmer body, more energy and a regained self-confidence. So far, so good, they are all natural effects of the kgs lost.
But weight loss also has implications on the face. After all, we lose fat on the entire body”, says plastic surgeon Dr. Mário Farinazzo, member of the Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery (SBCP) and Chief of the Rhinology Sector at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP).
"A large part of our facial fat is, say, in the cheek area, and when that fat disappears, that area 'plummets' and the dark circles are more pronounced, with a bluish or brownish blue color," says dermatologist Dr. Abdo Salomão Jr., member of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology. “In the case of dark circles, after ruling out pathological situations and mistakes in eating habits, adequate oral hydration and the reduction of excessive sodium consumption should be followed, to avoid frequent formation of deep dark circles and bags that aggravate wrinkles and premature aging in the region," says medical nutritionist Dr. Marcella, director and professor at the Brazilian Association of Nutrology.
You are eating badly
In the same way that going on crazy diets can be a disaster for facial appearance, eating too much sweets, carbohydrates and sodium can be a big problem. "Dark circles - also known as periorbital hyperpigmentation - worsen with a diet rich in sugar and salt because, like alcohol, there is the formation of edema in the region, making the eyelid more swollen and the deposited pigment more evident", says dermatologist Dr. Claudia Marçal. "These foods increase the inflammatory process, so they influence the appearance of dark circles", says Dr. Abdo. Remember that ultra-processed foods are rich, for the most part, in sodium and sugars.
This is the time to take advantage of isolation to create new healthier habits, such as maintaining a balanced diet and cooking. This will help a lot, because when we return to normal life, it will be easier to go on with a healthy lifestyle, which can bring many positive life changes as well, in addition to preventing a series of diseases.
Invest in a balanced, varied and natural eating habit, which may also be accompanied by individualized dietary supplements prescribed by the doctor to stay healthy and prevent accelerated aging.
You have bad sleeping habits
Uncertain times can wreck havoc on our anxiety which can impair sleep. “During the day, we accumulate thoughts and release the hormone cortisol. And at night, which is, theoretically, the moment we should shut down, this anxiety peaks, because we did not have a balanced day and we were unable to process all this information. That is why, normally, many people cannot sleep ”, says Dr. Mário Farinazzo.
“Sleep helps our hormones go into balance and keep our body functioning properly, including our skin's freshness and hydration. And when we don't sleep well, we tend to get paler and as the eye area gets thinner and is very vascular, which makes dark circles more visible”, says Dr. Abdo. To treat this, increase hydration and seeking to better manage your anxiety and sleep better.
“People who suffer from rhinitis, sinusitis, deviated septum, allergies in the nose, can have a problem in the microcirculation around the eyes impacting the oxygenation of the site, causing this more vascular pigmentation”, says Dr. Abdo.
“In addition, photosensitizing drugs, use of mouth breathers, allergic processes in the eye area, changes in thyroid hormones... all of this causes a greater tendency to the formation of pockets that cause edema, that is, eyelid swelling, with congestion of the capillaries and vessels in the region that are dilated ”, says Dr. Claudia.
In this case, in addition to the allergy treatment, it is necessary to use specific creams for the eye area with actives that improve the microcirculation such as caffeine, preferably in daytime (with antioxidant reinforcement) and nighttime (with renewers) versions.
You still haven't quit smoking
In addition to being a risk factor for Covid-19, smoking also worsens skin quality. “The consumption of each cigarette induces aging, as it is associated with peripheral vasoconstriction for a period of ten minutes, which decreases blood flow to the skin and hair tissue. This has consequences for the loss of brightness and luminosity; quickens the process of skin dyschromia with yellowing of the tissue; formation of dark circles due to the difficulty of local circulation; and decreases skin elasticity due to decreased oxygenation and nutrition ”, comments Dr. Claudia Marçal. In addition to completely eliminating the use of cigarettes, creams that improve microcirculation should also be used.
Finally, Dr. Paola reinforces that good life habits, 8 hours of sleep per night, hydration and sunscreen are tips that help prevent skin aging and minimize dark circles as well.