5 Surprising Causes Of Dark Under-Eye Circles

Thought dark eye issues are because of a lack of sleep? Here are five real surprising reasons that most people don’t know of. We speak to Dr Michelle Lim of the SW1 Clinic to find out more.



Dr Michelle says it’s not uncommon for her, once in a while, to sit in consultation with some families who suffer from the same eye shadowing problem. For some people with dark eye circles, all we can say is that it runs in the family – a matter of genetics. You are simply born with it. This trait is more common is certain ethnic groups. It could be the anatomical shape of the eye socket, usually more sunken than usual.



Dry and sore skin can be caused by skin conditions such as eczema, or eyelid allergic or contact dermatitis. These cause inflammation of the delicate skin around the eyes and this causes the skin to produce more melanin, the natural pigment in our skin. Sometimes, simply being tired or fatigued causes us to rub our eyes more and this can also result in more melanin production and darkening of the eyelids.

“Removing the cause of inflammation will usually put a stop to this over-production of melanin”, says Dr Lim. A fading cream may then be used, or a gentle quattro (laser) toning of the lower eyelids once every 4 weeks will usually improve the pigmentation issue further.


A puffy sac in the lower eyelid region that seems to persist even with good rest? You probably have the dreaded eyebag. One of the things we endure with aging is the loss or displacement of subcutaneous fat in the face. In this case, normal periorbital fat starts to lose its support and falls forward, literally “popping out” of the skin.

If the eyebags are severe enough, consider removing them once and for all with eyebag surgery, called lower blepharoplasty. This surgery is often scarless and does not affect the lashes at all.



Some people with eyebags also notice a depression just beneath the pouch of fat. This is the tear trough which also deepens with age, and results in a dark ring beneath the eyebags. The tear trough deformity is also sometimes seen in people without eyebags, but with undereye hollowing.

With undereye hollowing, filling the deficient area will usually result in alleviation of the dark undereye shadows immediately. This can be done non-invasively – with hyaluronic acid fillers, or together with facial surgical fat-grafting.



The skin of the eyelids are the thinnest. As we age, our skin loses its collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, all of which results in further thinning. Fine blood vessels become more visible under thinned skin and this gives the eyelids a darker appearance. Furthermore, fine lines and wrinkles form, and this affects the way light reflects off the skin around the eyes, resulting in a dull and rough textured appearance, compounding the problem.

Contrary to what people think, wrinkles beneath the eyes is one of the places to not Botox, says Dr Michelle Lim. “Doing so will result in a loss of tone of the lower eyelids. The skin will usually appear even more lax and will often worsen the appearance of eyebags”.

But all is not lost. Dr Michelle suggests resurfacing of the eyelids to improve the aging problem, such as the specially tailored settings of the Miracle Eye Reviver Program, which contains two of SW1 Clinic’s signature anti-aging eye treatments, the SmartX Lite Eyes as well as the Neogen Plasma Eyelift. The results are literally, eye-opening.

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