Skin-Care Tips

I’m a Dermatologist, and These Are the 2 Things That Cause Dark Circles Under Your Eyes

Zoe Weiner

Welcome to Dear Derm, our video series in which dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, shares serious skin-care realness. In each episode, she’ll answer your most burning beauty questions and give you all the tools you need to take your glow game to the next level. See All

The skin under your eyes is the most delicate on your entire face, so it makes sense that it's the first place certain conditions—like signs of aging and exhaustion—start to show up. While you can treat fine lines and wrinkles retinol (the same way you would anywhere else), dealing with dark circles is an entirely different beast.

In the latest episode of Dear Derm, Mona Gohara, MD, a Connecticut-based board-certified dermatologist, is dishing out the 411 on how to treat discoloration under your eyes. But before you decide what ingredient is your best bet, it's first important to understand what makes those dark circles show up in the first place.

While you might think that exhaustion is to blame, that's actually not quite the case. According to Dr. Gohara, there are two primary reasons that dark circles start to appear—and a crappy night's sleep isn't one of them. 'There are two causes for dark circles under your eyes: pigment and blood vessels," says Dr. Gohara. "Pigmentary changes under the eyes can be genetic, and are very different amongst different races—for example, Middle Eastern or Southeast Asian people can have genetically dark circles under their eyes." Then, there are the dark circles that everyone is prone to, regardless of their background. "As we get older and our eyelid skin thins, the blood vessels under the skin become more apparent and actually come through as a dark or bluish hue, creating discoloration under the eye," says Dr. Gohara.

Because these dark circles have different root causes, they require different treatments. For genetic dark circles, you'll want to use ingredients that help with hyperpigmentation, while for those caused by blood vessels peering through the surface skin, you'll want to choose a product that works to constrict them. To find out what those are—plus everything else you've ever wanted to know about treating dark circles under your eyes—check out the video above.

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