Once you understand the root of under-eye circles, it’s so much easier to treat them. Here, we break down five types of these facial offenders and what to do about them.
We all know someone who wakes up early looking as fresh as a daisy. For the rest of us, the reality is waking up to skin that seems swollen or swept with a bluish tinge under the eyes. Why? Puffiness is generally associated with fatigue and age, while dark circles—which are affected by the structure of the face and thickness of the skin—are accentuated by lack of sleep, tobacco and alcohol use, poor diet or, quite simply, genetics. “We all have dark circles to some degree,” notes William Gauthier, regional trainer for Pierre Fabre Canada, a skin-care company with brands such as Avène, Klorane and Ducray. “It’s even possible to have different types of under-eye circles at the same time. To prevent or reduce them, it’s important to focus on specialized care,” he says.
What are they? “These pockets are an accumulation of fat under the eye,” says Gauthier. They can be caused by sagging skin, which allows fat cells to cluster in this area.
Pro tip It is not easy to get rid of under-eye fat deposits, unless you have access to cosmetic surgery or targeted medical aesthetic treat-ments. However, there are some ingredients that can help. “Lipolytic tetrapeptides promote the degradation of lipids, which can help reduce the volume of these fatty pockets,” says Mariam White, executive director of Paris-based skin-care company Biologique Recherche (Canada).
Our product pick With its famous tetrapeptide formula and red seaweed extract, this eye serum targets both fat and water deposits under the eyes. Cassava extract has a lifting effect, while a peptide complex reinforces the firmness and elasticity of the skin.
Liposmose Sérum Authentique, $51/8 ml, loshen.ca.
Pigmented dark circles
What are they? Often a result of hyperpigmentation, this kind of dark circle is frequently associated with skin types that produce more melanin. Hereditary factors or sun damage from UV rays can increase their intensity. “Over time, vascular under-eye circles can also turn into pigmented dark circles,” adds Gauthier.
Pro tip “Unfortunately, they can be quite difficult to treat,” says Gauthier, who advises applying concealer to neutralize pigmented under-eye circles. You can also rely on ingre-dients that are known to prevent and reduce pigment spots, such as vitamin C.
Our product pick This serum contains a trio of key ingredients: plumping and smoothing hyaluronic acid; a tripeptide complex which targets dark circles directly; and 10 percent pure vitamin C, which boasts antioxidant and skin-brightening action.
KIEHL’S Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing & Dark Circle-Diminishing Vitamin C Eye Serum, $61, kiehls.ca.
What are they? Puffy eyes when you wake up are caused by an accumulation of fluid. “At night, while you’re lying down, blood tends to stagnate in the vessels, causing the lower eyelid to swell,” says White. Fortunately, the fluid usually goes away pretty quickly, but it can still persist if you have poor circulation.
Pro tip Ingredients that stimulate circulation are ideal. This is also the best moment to use your jade roller, gua sha stone or tool that aids in depuffing the area with lymphatic drainage techniques. (It works even better if the tool in question goes in the freezer for a few minutes before use.)
Our product pick Right when you get out of bed, apply these 100-percent biodegradable gel eye patches, which provide an instant cooling effect. Their formula, composed of organic cornflower and hyaluronic acid, hydrates the skin, smooths fine lines and, above all, facilitates decongestion to reduce the appearance of puffy eyes and dark circles.
KLORANE Smoothing & Soothing Eye Patches with Organic Cornflower, $35, well.ca.
Vascular dark circles
What are they? Also called “blue circles” because of their distinct colour, they are the result of poor blood and lymph circulation. “These two types of circulation overlap and form clumps of blood pigments, which give the eye area a bluish or purple appearance,” says White. The phenomenon is all the more noticeable as the skin around the eyes is much thinner than that of the rest of the face.
Pro tip “Exercises, massage tools and active ingredients, such as caffeine, can help stimulate the circulatory network,” says Gauthier. Placing cucumber slices or the backs of spoons cooled in the freezer on the area surrounding the eyes can help de-puff this area and reduce the appearance of dark circles.
Our product pick Inspired by cryotherapy, this serum is formulated with a caffeine complex and a refreshing bio-tech extract called IceAwake to stimulate circulation and visibly reduce dark circles and puffiness. The metal-tipped cooling applicator massages the eye area and provides a firming effect.
CHARLOTTE TILBURY Cryo-Recovery Depuffing Eye Serum, $78, charlottetilbury.com.
What are they? This type of dark circle, which forms a hollow in the contour of the eye area, is simply the result of anatomy or aging skin. “Over time, fat under the very thin skin in this area decreases, making the orbital bone appear more prom-inent and casting a shadow,” says White. Skin aging also leads to a decrease in cell renewal and the production of certain molecules—such as hyaluronic acid, collagen and elastin, which ensure hydration, firmness and elasticity of the skin—accelerating the problem.
Pro tip “To prevent, treat or fill under-eye hollows, collagen and hyaluronic acid treatments or injections are a good solution because they make it possible to increase volume and reduce dark circles,” says Gauthier.
Our product pick Made from 99 percent natural ingredients, this hyaluronic acid treatment is your best friend: It combats signs of aging, while also plumping and hydrating the skin, in order to visibly reduce the appearance of sunken eyes and wrinkles.
KARINE JONCAS 360° Bio-Lift Eye Care, $45, karinejoncas.ca.