Posted by: Angela | 2011/03/31

Lines and dark circles

Hi Doc

I came to South Africa 6 years ago and I found the air to be very dry and the sun rather harsh. During this period I have bought all sorts of moisturisers, exfoliators, masks etc but I have watched with trepidation as my skin continued to decline losing elasticity, losing its smooth and supple texture. I am also developing laughter lines and crows feet. Yet I am using an anti-aging and tightening cream. I must say for 3 years until last year I was driving a lot as I was in sales. I have been at home for a year now and I am not reaping the rewards of less direct sun!

I am dark skinned and turn 40 this May. I need to look after my skin well because my husband is younger than me so it puts the pressure on.

My second problem is dark circles around the eyes. I have had these as long as I can remember. I have never been on any contraception all my life. My mum and my young sister also have the same dark circles around their eyes.

Sorry if I am sounding vain...


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Our expert says:
Expert ImageAnti-ageing expert

Hi Angela, thank you for the question.

This is a difficult question to answer over the net as one would ideally like to examine the skin and the ‘dark circles’ before deciding on the best treatment options.

Your first choice must be a good SPF (50 or higher) that contains zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide applied several times daily especially during our summer months.
I am a firm believer in using topicals that contain alphahydroxy and polyhydroxy acids, vitamin C and vitamin A derivatives. A number of topicals contain these ingredients in one form or another and we recommend all our patients to consider the NeoStrata range but one can also look at Environ, Nimue, IS Clinical, etc.

I would also add the NeoStrata glycolic acid peel to your regime as this will boost collagen and elastin production and improve fine lines, texture, and pores and give a healthy hydrated glow to the skin.
Ultimately one may have to consider technology based treatments (such as IPL or fractional skin resurfacing) and Botox and dermal fillers to achieve the best results.

Dark circles are typically associated with a genetic component and the commonest age of our patients for this area is between 30 to 45 years. Generally speaking dark circles around the eye area is caused by 3 main reasons:
1. Pigmentation: if there is only pigmentation then either laser (Fraxel or Alma) can be used with similar results however as with all technology based treatments one of the determining factors is the operator
2. Tear trough fat loss: this allows the skin to fall onto the bony area allowing a shadow effect which will worsen the appearance of pigmentation and veins
3. Superficial veins

Typically we find all three as a cause but if there is a tear trough depression we typically treat this first; just by lifting the skin the shadow effect is reduced allowing a considerable lightening effect of both pigmentation and veins.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Roelien Parkin | 2011/04/08

I also have very dark circles under my eyes and have tried various creams. The best one so far is actually a Preparation H cream, but it still does not help enough. make up also barely covers it.

How do you lift the skin and is it a costly process? where can I have it done in East London?

Reply to Roelien Parkin
Posted by: Angela | 2011/04/06

Thank you Doc. Can I get these over the counter or i must consult a dermatologist?

Reply to Angela

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