Dark under-eye circles are about as common as clogged pores or sun damage, so if it’s a skin concern you struggle with, first and foremost, just know you’re far from alone. More good news? Certain MVP ingredients (more on those, ahead) can help to minimize the appearance of dark under-eyes, as well as aid in brightening and imparting a beautiful radiance to the area for an overall healthier look.
While sun damage is one of the major contributors to dark circles, particularly among those with deeper skin tones, there are other sneaky suspects. Here, with the help of Marisa Garshick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in NYC, we’re doing a deep-dive into a few common factors that contribute to dark circles, along with the active ingredients that can help brighten and correct..
The Type: Puffiness- and Allergy-Induced Discoloration
Puffy under-eyes — whether they result from lack of sleep, a sodium-heavy diet, allergies, or another culprit — cast a shadow that creates the illusion of darkness under the eyes. It’s also worth noting that contact allergies can result in redness and irritation in this area, too, which can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (that is, discoloration or darkness).
How to treat it: When it comes to reducing puffiness under the eyes, Dr. Garshick recommends combining cold therapy (see: an ice pack or roller will do just fine) with products that contain depuffing ingredients like caffeine and peptides. Speaking of which: Our Guava Vitamin C Bright-Eye Gel Cream, which—in addition to antioxidant-rich vitamin C and a 3% niacinamide blend—also features two types of peptides and green caffeine to help reduce puffiness and firm up the area.
On top of its depuffing abilities, the eye cream works overtime to brighten and strengthen delicate under-eye skin with its 10% vitamin C complex; it features a slow-time released encapsulated technology that keeps its five forms (!) of clinically advanced, water- and oil-soluble vitamin C highly efficacious and stable. As if that wasn’t enough, the innovative technology also aids in minimizing irritation. We love to see it.
The Type: Inherited Dark Circles
Some dark circles are entirely out of your control. “Some people have genetics that contribute to brown discoloration in the under-eye area,” explains Dr. Garshick. Hereditary dark circles can be somewhat tougher to treat since they’re an inherent part of your DNA makeup, but there are still measures you can take to help improve the skin tone and brighten up the area.
How to treat them: Besides getting adequate sleep, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding toxins like smoking and alcohol (which are known to dilate blood vessels), Dr. Garshick also stresses the importance of using ingredients that enhance overall skin health.
“For those with brown discoloration or hyperpigmentation of the under-eye skin, it can be helpful to use antioxidants such as vitamin C to help brighten the skin and protect against free radical damage,” she says. “Other ingredients that can be helpful include niacinamide, which not only is soothing on the skin, but can also help with pigmentation and the appearance of dark circles.”
Meanwhile, there are also cool-toned dark circles (think a blue-ish hue) that’s particularly common in fair people or among those whose skin is thinning, which can happen with age. That’s because blood vessels may be more visible. If that’s the case, she recommends products that contain peptides to help strengthen and support the skin, which can ultimately lead to thickening. You can find all of the above in the Guava Vitamin C Bright Eye Gel Cream. (Fun fact: Guava seed oil contains a whopping four times more vitamin C than pineapples and oranges.)
The Type: Age-Related Dark Circles
Another culprit that can contribute to the appearance of dark circles is thinning of the skin, which happens naturally as we get older and shed more collagen. “As we age, we lose collagen and volume and this can lead to changes in the eye area,” says Dr. Garshick. “The skin thins and underlying blood vessels become more visible, which can lead to darker under-eyes in some.”
How to treat it: Aging is inevitable (and a blessing!), but there are a few ways to help keep your undereyes looking healthy and youthful every step of the way. For starters, use an antioxidant-packed treatment like Guava Vitamin C Bright-Eye Gel Cream every morning, followed by a dose of sunscreen like Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Sunscreen SPF 50. And don’t skip this step, urges Dr. Garshick. “For all under-eye concerns, it is very important to remember to wear sunscreen,” she says, noting that you should apply it even around the eyelids to protect the thin skin there from further damage. (FYI, our sunscreen was ophthalmologist-tested to be safe for use around the eyes!)
If you’re also dealing with crows feet and lax skin, another good option is Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Cream, which can both prevent and correct visible signs of aging, from fine lines and wrinkles to crepiness and sun damage. And remember: Consistency is key. So long as you stick to your routine and the ingredients proven to combat darkness and puffiness while aiding in brightening, you’re on the right track to under-eye skin success.
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