Lets start with the easiest methods.
Your mother was right! Exercise, stop smoking, have enough rest, eat less salt!
Treat Medical condition
If you have existing allergic rhinitis, use decongestants and inhaled steroids to keep that in check. Minimise eczema flares via proper skin care, moisturizing, and early consult with your doctor when it gets worse.
I mentioned that most creams do not deliver, but not all!
Creams work by addressing some of the causes of dark eye circles.
1. Lightening/ whitening eye creams
These work by lightening the eye area or by improving the pigmentation around the eye. However, not all dark eye rings are caused by pigmentation so have your doctor evaluate them first.
2. Anti-Aging eye creams
These stimulate collagen, and cause the thin skin under the eyes to thicken – thus making the blood vessels less prominent.
3. Eye creams to reduce blood break down products
A newer class of products (e.g. Hyelexin) claim to decrease the blood breakdown products, known as hemosiderin, and thus improve the circles. Unfortunately, results have been non consistent, and mostly anecdotal, or based on in house studies. Thus, more research needs to be done here.
Personally, I prescribe a combination of my most loved products – Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and some lightening compounds (e.g. niacinamide) for the under eye circles. Although they cannot be cured, most report a noticeable improvement in their eye circles.
Again, treatments are largely targeted towards the causes of the dark eye rings.
1. Chemical Peels
These lighten pigmentation and hence are beneficial for dark circles with a pigmentory component.
2. Lasers and Lights
Laser resurfacing, whether non ablative, fractional, or ablative, all stimulate collagen and will improve the dark circles. In my practice, I commonly perform laser toning for this purpose and relatively good results are seen.
Fillers do not improve dark circles per se, but as mentioned in “All About Dark Eye Circles I: What causes them?” , the loss of the fat around the eyes cause the eyes to appear sunken and thus make dark circles more obvious. Fillers are used to correct this volume defect, smoothen the contour around the eyes (known as the tear trough), and hence reduce the shadow cast under the eye. The results are often quite significant. Click here for more about fillers.
We need to be realistic. Dark eye rings take a long time to correct, and require a lot of effort. And after it all, we can only improve, and not treat them. At the end of the day, a good under eye concealer is still very important for individuals afflicted with this problem. The skin under the eye is very sensitive, so be sure to speak to your make up specialist to choose a concealer which is suitable for the under- eye area!