Many people are unclear what the term dark circles under their eyes actually mean and this is often misunderstood.
Under Eye Dark circles can be created by four conditions that affect the area directly beneath the eyelid:
- The skin is a dark purple color
- The skin is a brownish color
- The eyelid is sunken into the eye socket creating a hollow eye look
- The most definitive definition of dark circles is a naso-jugal fold. This is seen as a deep line or depression that takes place right above the cheek area.
Lower eyelid area is a darkish purple color
Most people equate dark circles when the skin below the eyes or lower eyelid is a darkish purple color. After closer inspection it can be noted that “everyone” has this type of coloring in this area. This typically occurs because the skin below the eyes and lower eyelid is thinner than on any other part of the face.
In fact, what you are seeing is the muscle that controls the eyelid which is a purplish color. In individuals whose skin is slightly thicker take on a slightly bluish color. But, every lower eyelid reflects some type of coloring simply because the skin is so thin and the muscle is visible. Everyone; however, is somewhat different due to racial backgrounds, skin texture and the color of the muscle. These differences create a vast selection of coloring under the lower eyelid.
Brownish Pigmentation of the Skin on the Lower Eyelid
This can be caused by a number of things such as birth control pills, sun damage, various medications and pregnancy. While often referred to as dark circles it is actually referred to as hyper pigmentation in the medical profession. Protecting the area with sun screen or determining and correcting the underlying cause is a normal course of action in correcting this type of discoloration.
After the underlying cause has been corrected there are several other available options to remove the brownish coloring.
Bleaching the skin with agents like Kojic Acid or hydroquinone and microdermabrasion are all viable and successful options as are Microlaserpeel®, deep exfoliation, using laser techniques or IPL or Photo Facial. All of these techniques have been proven successful.
Appearing Hollowed Eyed
The eyes of a large number of people appear to have sunken into the eye socket. This generally occurs when an individual is lacking a sufficient amount of fat around the eye, and fat is responsible for plumping up the skin of the lower eyelid.
Insufficient fat can be caused by a number of factors that might include malnutrition, a health condition, dehydration, heredity, orbital bone trauma and racial features.
In the case of a medical condition, the solution revolves around the correction of the condition or illness. In the case of racial features or heredity, additional fat, generally taken from the abdomen or hip region, must be surgically implanted through a procedure known as blepharoplasty.
Blepharoplasty involves making an incision along the lower eyelid in the pink section of the inside of the eyelid or the transconjunctival approach. Using this method avoids potential scarring on the outer section of the eyelid.
Medically Defined Under Eye Dark Circles; The Naso-jugal Fold or Tear
The most definitive definition of a dark circle begins next to the nose at the inside corner of the eye and runs directly above the cheek to the outer edge of the lower section of the eye. This region takes on a darker appearance because the skin is connected to the orbit or socket bone rim.
This allows the lower eyelid and cheek skin to move and bulge freely which generates a shadowing effect and the appearance of a darker coloring.
This type of dark circle, tear or naso-jugal fold will worsen with aging. While the overall facial skin begins to sag the small section of skin located under the eye and above the cheek do no due to its attachment to bone. As the lower eyelid skin begins to lose its elasticity and hangs down it creates a deeper depression which creates a larger shadowing illusion. This increase in shadowing then makes dark circles more apparent.
The fold of the naso-jugal or dark circle is tightly attached to the bone of the eye socket rim with a ligament known as the arcus marginalis.
The correction, in this case, utilizes a procedure referred to as transconjunctival blepharoplasty. This surgical procedure involves the arcus marginalis ligament. This ligament is detached which releases the naso-jugal fold. Once this is completed the naso-jugal fold is then freed and allowed to move with both the cheek and eyelid skin which causes a lessening of the shadow effect.
A fat graft is inserted under the skin of lower eyelid area to prevent the arcus marginalis to reattach itself and to fill out or plump up the area. This implant is known as a tear trough implant.
A correct diagnosis is imperative when dealing with a tear trough deformity or naso-jugal fold. This condition needs to be distinguished from the purplish coloring, hollow eye condition or hyperpigmentation that is so common. In order to make the proper correction of true dark circles it is necessary to undergo a blepharoplasty which allows the release of the arcus marginalis and the grafting of fat or implants into the tear trough.
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