No one is safe. Adults have them. So do eight-year-old children. Even the most sleep obsessed, can’t-function-without-a-solid-eight-hours kind of person isn’t immune. The problem is twofold: darkness and puffiness are inherently two different issues, requiring very different treatments. And getting enough rest isn’t one of them.
“Under-eye inflammation is much easier to treat than dark circles,” says New York City plastic surgeon Dr. Sherrell Aston, whose jam-packed surgery schedule keeps him in the operating room a good 10 hours each day. “Remove the fat pads in the eyelids, and the puffiness is gone. Darkness requires more persistence, and you always run the risk of removing too much pigment. Once it’s gone, it can’t be put back.”
Dr. Fredric Brandt, a dermatologist with practices in New York and Miami, uses a number of treatments—bleaching creams, lasers, chemical peels—to treat dark circles. “I like bleaching creams,” he says. “They’re great for lightening brown spots under the eyes caused by the sun, and unlike laser lightening treatments and peels, require no recovery time.”
All dark circles, however, aren’t created equal. Those with a bluish hue are a vascular problem—the blood vessels under the eyes are more dilated, more visible—and do not respond to pigment lightening procedures. The only solution is eyelid surgery or collagen injections.
Covering up circles is also an option, but too much concealer can accentuate dry skin, fine lines, and wrinkles. “Concealer is the quickest way to make a woman look prettier: awake, young, and alive,” says Valerie Sarnelle, the founder of Valerie Beverly Hills.