Although dark under-eye circles can appear on any skin type, African-American skin is at particular risk since hyperpigmentation occurs more often in colored skin. Furthermore, African-American skin often does not respond well to conventional skin lighteners, such as hydroquinone. When removing dark circles from African-American skin or handling ethnic skin in general, you must be careful because such skin tends to overreact to stress.
Take care of yourself, get plenty of rest and reduce stress. Although sleep deprivation and stress are not the only causes of under-eye circles, they are the main causes. The skin repairs itself during sleep, so sleep deprivation over an extended period wreaks havoc on skin and leads to under-eye swelling, discoloration, sagging and wrinkling. In addition to adequate sleep, get plenty of exercise. Doing this will reduce stress hormones, improve your overall health and mood and improve blood circulation. Poor blood circulation is one of the major causes of under eye circles.
Find out if you have any other risk factors for under-eye circles. Sleep deprivation and stress are not the only causes of under-eye dark circles and puffiness. Allergies can also cause them. Visit your doctor for a skin or blood allergy test.
Examine your lifestyle and medical history for other risk factors. Smoking, drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages, sun exposure, genetics, nasal congestion and eczema are other risk factors for under eye circles. Although you cannot control all factors, such as nasal congestion, eczema or genetics, you can decrease sun exposure, stop smoking and reduce the consumption of alcohol and caffeine.
Use the right skin creams. Vitamin K creams have been shown to reduce the appearance of under-eye dark circles. Vitamin A creams and alpha-hydroxy creams exfoliate and tighten undereye skin, thereby reducing sagging and revealing lighter skin.
Consider lightening under-eye skin with safe products. Vitamin C, kojic acid and alpha arbutin are all safe skin lighteners for black skin. Avoid hydroquinone-based products, since hydroquinone can irritate the skin and, in rare cases, cause a skin disorder known as ochronosis. Ochronosis is a chronic and disfiguring skin condition marked by discoloration and rough patches.
Camouflage the skin discoloration. Hide the darkening by patting foundation that is slightly lighter than your regular foundation underneath your eyes. Set the foundation with loose powder.