Don’t blame your dark eye circles entirely on your folks. It’s more likely due to stress, especially with circuit breaker measures having disrupted your routine such as hanging out with family and friends and working out at the gym.
Studies show that quarantine and social distancing can bring about mental health issues such as anxiety, anger and depression. And such stressors can cause, firstly, blood to be diverted from your face to other parts of your body, so dark eye circles are more noticeable against your pale complexion. Secondly, stress also cause the capillaries around the eyes to break; as the blood leaks and oxidises, a dark purple hue begins to form.
Dark eye circles, like other signs of ageing such as wrinkles, show up easily simply because skin under the eye is very thin, explains Dr Patricia Yuen of Patricia Yuen Dermatology. “Factors such as intrinsic ageing, extrinsic ageing from sunlight and pollution, and not using suitable skincare, can exacerbate the problem.”
To compound the problem, our eyes (and surrounding skin) are subjected to myriad other stresses every day, with all six muscles in perpetual motion and an average of 10,000 blinks.
So it pays to be conscientious about skincare. Dr Dennis Gross, a leading American dermatologist and founder of his eponymous skincare brand, describes skincare as “hugely effective” to treat various undereye concerns. Dark eye circles that form as a result of pigmentation, for example, can be tackled with retinol and vitamin C.
Vitamin C helps boost your body’s production of collagen, which plumps the skin so veins are pushed further away from the surface and show up less obviously on the complexion. This therefore minimises the appearance of dark eye circles. Other ingredients that offer similar benefits include hyaluronic acid (which improves hydration) and caffeine (constricts visible blood vessels).
Otherwise, Dr Yuen recommends an oil-free cleanser. For moisturiser, pick one with retinol and vitamin K – an antioxidant that accelerates tissue regeneration – and avoid rich formulations as these can cause milia.
With more time at home due to circuit breaker measures in Singapore, you’d also do well to take the opportunity to establish a good eyecare regime. “Take extra time to cleanse carefully around the eye area,” Dr Gross reminds. “The skin is thin, so aggressive scrubbing can cause premature ageing. Also, layer your eyecare products; start with a lighter gel serum and follow with a cream around the orbital bone.”
And here’s a bonus tip for those battling puffiness: “Refrigerate your eye cream,” he adds, “and allow the cool sensation to help de-puff the eye area.”
Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Invigorating Eye Serum
Efficacy studies observed less visible wrinkles and dark eye circles as well as a more even skin tone after 6 weeks of use both morning and night. This gel-like formulation uses DAA (or De-Aging Active) and RPPC (Red Pine Protective Coat) extracts — derived from the stems and leaves and bark respectively of the Korean Red Pine — to repair aged skin, restore resilience and energise the complexion. Buy here.
Guerlain Abeille Royale Eye Cream
Its BlackBee Repair Technology harnesses exclusive Ouessant Island honey, Corsican honey, New Zealand clover honey and the brand’s exclusive royal jelly to arrest dark eye circles, undereye bags and wrinkles. Buy here.
Chai Dream Cream Calm & Restore My Eyes
With vitamin A and Coenzyme Q10, this helps boost cell regeneration and collagen production to diminish puffiness and dark eye circles. Buy here.
Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum
In addition to ferulic acid (which protects against sun damage) and retinol (improves moisture and blurs appearance of wrinkles and fine lines), licorice root extract helps lighten and soothe irritation and redness. Light and gentle on the skin, this even doubles as an eye makeup primer among some women. Buy here.
Supergoop! Bright Eyes 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF40
Sun exposure can bring about or exacerbate problems such as dark eye circles and wrinkles so be sure to slap on UV protection. Packed into this creamy formula is a cocktail of probiotics, pomegranate and caffeine to not only reduce these signs of ageing but also revive appearance with a delicate pink tint. Buy here.
La Prairie White Caviar Eye Extraordinaire
The French skincare giant’s Equation of Light approach proposes that skin luminosity depends on how well skin absorbs and reflects light. For brighter-looking eyes, this offers Golden Caviar extract to boost collagen production. Buy here.
Kew Organics Sensitive Skin Range Total Restorative Eye Essence
From the Singaporean skincare brand comes this organic, plant-based potion of shiitake mushroom, aloe, sea buckthorn and eyewort that seeks to target water retention and toxins. Buy here.
Tom Ford Research Eye Repair Concentrate
White porcelain cacao, caffeine and gyokuro green tea restore radiance for brighter-looking eyes, while hyaluronic acid sustains moisture levels for up to 24 hours. Buy here.