Dark circles under your eyes: how to know what they mean

In the past 12 months there's been a 160 per cent increase in searches for 'what causes dark circles around the eyes' and a 150 per cent increase people searching for how to remove dark circles under eyes.

Dr Sophie Shotter of the Illuminate Skin Clinic  in Kent confirms that they are some most common concerns she sees in her clinic. However, she points out that 'dark circles' is a catch-all term that can have a variety of different causes. Not all dark circles are the same. In the video, she explains how to decode them

What do my dark circles mean?

1. Dark purple or blue discolouration: caused by blood vessels being visible through the delicate skin around the eye. These become more prominent with age as the skin starts to thin.

2. Brownness around the eyes is  pigmentation  caused by sun damage

3. A little shadow can be a cause of volume loss too; tear trough deformity casts a small shadow making the area look dark.

All these different dark circles are treated differently. Eye bags, on the other hand, are down to a loss of volume and to address these you may need, what Sophie calls "structural work", in the form of dermal filler treatments - either filler in the cheek or directly in the tear trough. Ask your practitioner for before and after photos to check that this treatment is right for you.

How to get rid of dark circles permanently

For blue or purple dark circles you need to work on the skin quality around the eyes. Good quality eye cream used morning and night will thicken the skin and decrease the visibility of the blood vessels. A cream that contains retinol is a good option but be sure it's in an eye formulation. It's important not to overuse retinol around the eye - a retinol face cream will very likely cause irritation, says Sophie.

Our edit of retinol eye creams  is a good place to find one to suit your budget.

MORE GLOSS: 11 foods to eat to reduce dark circles

Sophie also recommends using complexion-boosting ingredient vitamin K around the eyes. It's often used to help skin recover from surgery and it’s been shown to make cuts and bruises heal considerably faster than usual. Dab  Omorovicza Reviving Eye Cream , £85 for 15ml, on to decrease the capillary leakage that causes the blueness.

Pigmentation: Ingredients we'd normally use on pigmentation around the face are too aggressive to use around the eyes. Sophie suggests consulting a specialist for guidance on how to use products that won't cause irritation. Try a low-concentration of vitamin C to lighten a little bit; five per cent formulations are good to go for.

In-clinic treatments such as chemical peels or mesotherapy can target the production of pigment in the skin.

Follow Sophie Shotter on Instagram

MORE GLOSS: How to use concealer to hide dark circles