Have you got dark circle or dark eyelids? Many people do. It’s a condition called Periorbital Hyperpigmentation and there are many ways to prevent and cure this condition.
The skin on the upper eyelids is not the same as most of the skin we have – it is thinner and more delicate and therefore reacts to environmental and internal stressors quicker than the rest of the body – the sign of these stressors is a darkening of the eyelids and surrounding orbital area.
Genetically, some people have darker eyelids than others, but if the condition is not usual for your skin type, then it is time to determine the cause and find a suitable treatment.
What Causes Dark Eyelids?
The color of our skin is determined the distribution of melanin. This is a natural skin pigment produced by melanocytes, mature melanin-forming cells. When our system produces more melanin, the skin will take on a darker color – less melanin means lighter skin and so on.
Melanin, however, is not distributed evenly in the skin. Some areas of the body have more melanin than others. The eyelids for example, often contain a little more melanin as a form of protection since the skin on the eyelids is very thin. This can change, and the eyelids can become significantly darker, leading to periorbital hyperpigmentation. The most common causes of this condition are listed below.
Every so often the eyelid discoloration is due to inflammation around the area of the eyes. Inflammation is a localized physical condition that comes as a reaction to an injury, irritant, or an infection. It is a process through which our body protects the tissue against damage.
Swollen eyelids caused by inflammation is a fairly short-term condition, however, it can persist for several weeks or even months. When this happens, the inflammation can lead to a darkening of the skin around the eye and the eyelid.
Injury to the eyes can result in permanent darkening of the eyelid and surrounding skin if the injury is severe or prolonged – and we are not talking about the standard ‘black eye’.
For instance, repeatedly rubbing your eye is a perfect example of a mechanical injury. The most frequent electromagnetic injury affecting humans is sunburn. However, the effects of the sun upon the eyelids are usually temporary. Finally, coming in contact with harmful chemical substances such as strong acids can cause chemical burns which can be permanent.
Whether the injury is mechanical, electromagnetic, or chemical, long-lasting effects can occur when the injury is severe or prolonged.
Lack of sleep
Dark eyelids are often causes by lack of sleep. That’s because insufficient sleep can influence the production of melanin around the eyes, giving the eyelids a darker color. Additionally, lack of sleep can also cause the blood vessels to dilate. This too can change the color of the skin to some extent. If you experience sleeplessness for extended periods of time and your eyelids begin to appear darker, it’s time to consult your physician or seek natural remedies to help you sleep.
Some people are more prone to develop allergies than others. People with allergies involving the eye, such as allergic rhinitis and allergic conjunctivitis, have the habit of rubbing their eyes excessively. This constant rubbing can lead to a darkening of the skin. Allergic contact dermatitis due to certain irritants such as make-up, skincare products, hair spray, etc., can also trigger an allergic reaction in the eyes.
Nutritional deficiencies are also believed to influence the color of the skin on the eyelids. For instance, a deficiency of Vitamin B, Vitamin C and Iron are associated with dark circles around the eyes and dark eyelids. If you have an Iron deficiency, the blood is not sufficiently oxygenated, causing it to appear dark bluish color that is especially apparent in the thin, delicate skin on the eyelids. Vitamin C plays a role in the absorption of Iron. Without sufficient Vitamin C the body bruises easily and the eyelids appear dark and sunken.
Hormonal changes related to pregnancy can increase melanin production, usually in patches on the face – a condition called Melasma. These darkened patches may also appear on the eyelids or around the eye area. They are however, usually temporary and will disappear once baby is born.
Genetics plays a role in many aspects of our health and how we look. If there is a family trait of dark eyelids, chances are yours will look similar. Prominent veins and blood vessels can also contribute to the look of dark eyelids.
As we age, our skin becomes thin from loss of collagen and fat. Since the eyelid contains very little of both, these quickly appear darker as the blood vessels below become more visible
Natural Remedies for Dark Eyelids You Must Try
There are many over-the-counter eye creams that promise to lighten the dark area around your eyes, but may not be suited for such a sensitive area. Furthermore, these creams can camouflage the problem, and it is best you discover the cause of the discoloration. Instead, try proven natural remedies that will not further jeopardize your health.
Almond and coconut oils
Almond and coconut oils can be used as a topical ointment to make darken skin patches fade away naturally. Place a small quantity (just a drop or two) of either of the two organic oils on your finger and massage the problematic area on the skin. Do it in the evening, so you can leave the ointment overnight. This natural remedy can be used for extended periods of time without any side effect.
Cucumbers are one of the best things you can use for skin care. It’s no wonder it is used with such prominence in this type of products. It has anti-oxidant, mild astringent, and emollient properties, and it will soothe the area around the eyes. You can place it on your eyelids either crushed or cut in slices. This treatment for dark eyelids will fight against the aggravation of the discoloration, but you will also observe its bleaching effect.
Rose water and lemon juice
You can create a natural ointment for hyperpigmentation mixing a few drops of lemon juice with a few drops of rose water. Dip a cotton pad in the mixture and apply it to the area you want to lighten. Leave the potion on your eyelids for about 4 to 5 minutes. Rinse it off to prevent any dryness to the eyelids because of the lemon juice. You can combine this remedy with almond oil to ensure the area is well moisturized.
Potatoes are natural bleachers that can help reduce the effects of melanin. Apply the remedy the same way you would when using cucumbers. You can try both alternatives to find out which of the two works best for your skin.
Tea has more use than one. If you enjoy drinking black or green tea, then we have an excellent remedy for dark eyelids. Instead of throwing the tea bags away, let’s make use of them. Black tea and green tea are both rich in antioxidants, and they are known to reduce inflammation as well as diminish discoloration. Take two tea bags and chill them for half an hour. Place them on the eyelids and allow about fifteen minutes before removing them. Rinse the area and apply an organic oil to keep your skin well hydrated.
The use of a cold compress is especially helpful when addressing dilated blood vessels and swelling from inflammation. Cold compresses can also help minimize bruising from broken blood vessels.
You can make your own simple cold compress by wrapping a bag of frozen peas or corn in a clean towel and gently pressing to the eye, or you can purchase a cold compress from a drugstore. Either way, apply the cold compress to the eye for five to ten minutes to relieve swelling and dark eyelids should diminish in no time.
Medical or OTC Treatments for Dark Eyelids
- Bleaching treatments are often used for diminishing the look of dark eyelids. Topical agents such as nonphenolic and phenolic bleaching agents are often used for treating hyperpigmentation. These can be harsh on the delicate skin of the eyelid should be used with caution.
- Hydroquinone is a popular bleaching agent made as a solution containing only 2 – 6 % Hydroquinone, is applied in small doses over a period of 5 – 7 months. Hydroquonine has harmful side effects and can cause itching, inflammation, irritation to name a few. More significantly prolonged use of hydroquinone has been linked to cancer.
- Topical Vitamin C is an effective treatment for hyperpigmentation, especially around the eyelids. It is a powerful antioxidant and relatively safe to use.
- Chemical peels (glycolic acid) are a highly effective, although more drastic, treatment for Periocular Hyperpigmentation. Chemical peels should be done under the supervision of a qualified, licensed professional and should not be attempted as a home remedy.
Remember that treatment is most effective after identifying the underlying cause. Depending on the nature of the condition, a specialist can recommend a number of medicines, such as tretinoin and prescription skin-whitening agents if appropriate. Always seek advice from a medical professional before starting a medicinal treatment on your eyelids.
Unless your condition is genetic, there simple precautions you can take to prevent Periocular Hyperpigmentation or darkening of the upper eyelids.
- Always wear quality sunglasses when going out in the sun. Make sure that your sunscreen blocks both UVA and UVB light. Read more about how to apply sunscreen for proper protection.
- One of the best ways you can prevent dark eyelids is to take care of your skin. Consider using a foundation or concealer with a built-in sunscreen that you can apply to your upper eyelids.
- To prevent the eyelid from darkening, the skin should be protected from sun and harsh chemicals. If you have sensitive or delicate skin, always skin test new products first. This can minimize the chance of inflammation which can lead to darkening of the eyelid.