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MYTH BUSTER – Dark under eye circles and wrinkles around eyes

Today’s myth busting post was submitted Dr. Michele Koo, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon practicing in St. Louis, Missouri.  It’s nice to see that Dr. Koo corroborates what we’ve said in previous posts about the lack of efficacy in topical products for under eye circles. She also touches on a point we made in a recent podcast: that relaxing facial muscles reduces wrinkles as opposed to exercising facial muscles.

Dr. Koo says:

Your friends will suggest Preparation H, organic green tea bags, cold cucumbers, etc etc but none of these myths will work. They may make you feel better immediately after the application of the above suggestions but 10 minutes later, you’re starting in the mirror frustrated because the dark circles and wrinkles are no better.

The solutions to the dark circles depend on the cause. If the dark circles under your eyes is a result of pigmentation of the actual skin, medical strength topical creams will lighten the skin with continued use. Over the counter creams and ointments will NOT decrease the dark pigment no matter how expense the product. Most of the time, a chemical peel or micro-pen needling or laser will also be required to improve the pigment and quality of the skin around the eyes.

If your dark circles and bulges around your eyes is a result of excess fat and skin protruding from your orbit, surgical correction (blepharoplasty) is the only truly effective solution. The fat and skin need to be re-positioned and restored to the previous location and the excess removed. The key is not to remove too much skin or fat otherwise as one ages the eyes begin to appear too hollow and sunken.

The fine wrinkles surrounding the eyes can be improved with specific medical grade topical creams that should be designed specific for your needs and skin type by a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist. Most effective products will contain a retinoid, ascorbic acid, and a glycolic acid. The deeper the wrinkles, the stronger the products or peels need to be. The best intervention for the prevention of wrinkles is to use a sunBLOCK not a sunscreen everyday no matter if it is sunny or not.

If your complaint is the crows feet wrinkles, you will need BOTOX to stop the action of the muscles on a continued and repeated basis every 3-6 months. BOTOX paralyzes the squinting muscles thereby preventing the creases from forming and becoming deeper. A combination of BOTOX, topical skin creams, chemical peels, and micro-pen needling or lasering will improve skin quality and improve the appearance of the skin surrounding the eyes.

BEST SOLUTION FOR SKIN WRINKLES AROUND: Use the best skin products and sunblocks available at a very young age

BEST SOLUTION FOR DARK CIRCLES AND SAGGY EYELIDS OR LOWER EYELID BAGS: The correct surgery to address the specific problem with attention to being conservative.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • rozy January 29, 2014, 5:37 am

    Always love to hear me some myths busted!

  • rozy January 29, 2014, 5:40 am

    “use a sunBLOCK not a sunscreen everyday no matter if it is sunny or not” I thought we aren’t supposed to call it sunblock bc no sunscreen can block the sun 100 percent. What is she saying? To avoid the sun as much as possible?

    • Randy Schueller January 29, 2014, 7:47 am

      People have been using the term “sunblock” for a long time. Just because the law has changed doesn’t mean everyone will instantly stop calling it that – it’ll take some time.

      • Dr Michele Koo January 31, 2014, 8:49 am

        Randy, you are absolutely correct in 2012 the FDA changed the verbiage of what was allowed to be called waterproof, water resistant and sunblock. Sunblock is not a permitted terminology any longer although there are physical blockers such as zinc oxide that reflect or scatter UVRadiation rather than absorb or convert energy into longer lower (less harmful) energy wavelengths. More to follow….what would you like to hear about…

    • Michele Koo January 31, 2014, 12:54 pm

      Rozy, you’re so correct, can’t “officially” use sunBLOCK terminology when selling a sunscreen product. The intent is to use a BROAD SPECTRUM sunscreen with UVA and UVB coverage with up to a SPF 30. Any SPF over 30 has not been clinically shown to provide any benefit for skin cancer prevention or skin aging effects. I personally use broad spectrum SPF 50 with a hat! That is a personal preference to prevent and minimize skin damage and agin.

  • Stacey January 29, 2014, 8:12 am

    A surgery or Botox may not be suggested always.. There are some good eye care creams available in market. which can work effectively.

    • Michele Koo January 31, 2014, 1:00 pm

      There are so many options available prior to surgery or BOTOX. The solution depends on the problem and my patients complaints. Keep in mind that the reason many of the skin products are over the counter is that they do NOT contain either the ingredients or the strength of ingredients that will truly effect the type of change you are looking for in your skin pigmentation or texture.
      Dr Koo

  • Abigail January 29, 2014, 8:18 am

    Yes, but sunblock is no longer in use because it suggested one was better than the other when it wasn’t, that’s part of why the law was changed, so why use one and not the other?

  • Massi January 29, 2014, 11:37 am

    I did some quick research and found the difference between the 2 are in the ingredients … Sunblocks physically block the sun with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide where as sunscreens “contains chemicals that absorb UV radiation and reduce the amount that reaches the skin”

    I found that information from the link below. Maybe it’s wrong so I will need the many beauty brains here to take a closer look.

    • Randy Schueller January 29, 2014, 12:18 pm

      Massi: The information you found was correct but it is now outdated because the sunscreen regs changed last year. The term “sunblock” is no longer allowed: “To give users some idea of how long they can stay in the water and maintain the labeled SPF protection, products will be labeled with one of two ratings — water resistant (40 minutes) or water resistant (80 minutes). The terms waterproof, very water resistant, sweat-proof or all-day protection will not be allowed, nor will the term sunblock.”

  • Massi January 29, 2014, 11:41 am

    So, she says the “BEST SOLUTION FOR SKIN WRINKLES AROUND: Use the best skin products and sunblocks available at a very young age” and Stacey says “surgery or Botox may not be suggested always.. There are some good eye care creams available in market. which can work effectively.” Does anyone care to share what these products are? I think I will submit a audio question about this very topic for further insight ^_^

  • Shawn January 29, 2014, 3:41 pm

    I was wondering the same thing Massi, as to what products were recommended. I have bought countless separate eye creams and most were a waste of money and had to learn that the hard way! From my experience I have only found one product that really made a big difference and that product is called Is Clinical eye complex, not to be confused with youth eye complex by them. I used to have what looked like a red bubble under my one eye for years and a friend bought me that product. Less than a week later it was pretty much gone! Could not believe it. It also lightens things up under the eye and takes down puffiness. It is expensive but it can be found on Amazon a lot cheaper. I have tried so many and always go back to this one cause it really did work for me! Hope this helps 🙂

  • Stacy January 30, 2014, 11:30 am

    Sunscreen is a daily must. Eye creams are over priced, tiny amounts of a moisturizer. Any good serum or moisturizer can be used under the eye.

    I always reference http://www.beautypedia.com before buying a product because the reviews are based on what science says about the ingredients, not what someone subjectively thinks about the product.

  • rozy January 31, 2014, 12:27 am

    Yes but I don’t understand why she says one is better than the other when they are the same thing.

  • Cristina February 9, 2014, 8:16 am

    I agree that the solution for dark circles under the eye depends upon the cause of it. First, know the cause of it, maybe lack of sleep or alcohol intake, etc. You can use natural remedies for it but I tried Vitamin C Serum and it really worked for me.