How to get rid of dark circles

This has to be the bane of my existence.

I have dark under eye circles – pigmentation inherited from my mum – although mine just happens to be a bit worse than hers.

It’s a combination of pigmentation in the corners of the eyes and underneath and then some additional, but lighter pigmentation on the cheekbones. They kind of look like freckles, but not as good.

The cause of dark circles differs from person to person. It can be because you rub your eyes, medication you’re taking or like me, you inherited it.

Because the skin around the eyes is so thin, you can see the blood vessels way more clearly, giving it that darker colour.

Unfortunately, as we get older pigmentation gets worse. The skin under the eyes gets thinner and sags because we lose collagen that plumps up the skin.

The sooner you start looking after your skin, specifically the under eye area, the better.

Here are my top 5 tips to decrease the appearance of dark under eye circles.

1. Use a moisturiser, night cream, eye cream or eye mask containing retinol. Retinol is a Vitamin A, an anti-ageing wonder product because it thickens the outer layer of the skin by stimulating the production of collagen. This means decreasing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, steer clear of Vitamin A. If you're not sure what else to avoid, read this.

2. Use Vitamin C. It lightens pigmentation and you have 2 options. You can add a Vitamin C powder to the moisturiser, serum or eye cream you already use, or you can buy a product already containing it.

While we’re on the topic of eye creams, consider buying one with caffeine because it constricts blood vessels.

3. Wear sunscreen. This is my number 1 beauty rule (on par actually with removing your makeup before bed). It’s the best anti-ageing product and like retinol, start using it now if you can.

As well as preventing fine lines and wrinkles and offering sun protection, it protects the skin from UVA and UVB rays that add to the pigmentation problem. Exposure to the sun can also cause sunspots. Anything preventative is a good idea.

Not all sunscreens are created equal though so find out whether you should be using a chemical or physical sunscreen here.

4. Use a colour corrector. You can mix it in with your concealer or apply it separately.

When it comes to knowing which colour to pick here’s a rough guide but you might need to try a few out or better yet, head to a makeup counter and ask for a sample.

Pink: covers blue tones on fair skin

Peach: covers blue/purple tones on medium skin

Salmon: covers dark spots on darker skin

Yellow: conceals purple on olive or darker skin

Green: hides redness

When it comes to your concealer, always get one a shade lighter than your foundation.

5. Injectables or fillers. These might be your last resort but can be a good option, especially if you’ve tried everything else.

The injectables are usually collagen or hyaluronic acid which plump up the area.

Hyaluronic acid is one of my favourite ingredients and you can read more about why it's your go to for saving your skin this Winter.

If you don’t want to go for the injectable option, there are other treatments that increase the production of collagen so speak to a skin expert or dermal clinician for more specific advice.

Finally, no discussion about dark circles is complete without mentioning ways to remove puffiness under the eyes, more commonly known as bags.

1. Try not to sleep on your stomach because fluid pools in the area.

2. Cool pieces of cucumber or cold tea bags decrease puffiness so lay still and relax for about 10 minutes.

3. If you don’t have 10 minutes, splash some cold water on your face in the morning.