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Detailed Guide to Dark Circles Treatment
Using Laser Technology

Dark circles are a prevalent problem among men and women. This dermal condition is unavoidably a topic of debate, as it is often associated with ageing or simply having an excessively busy life. It is one feature commonly noticed when meeting an affected individual for the first time or when looking in the mirror. As a result, it's reasonable that it could hurt one's self-esteem and confidence.

But what causes dark circles and what can be done about them? The answers to these questions lie in this guide. Not only does it provide a lowdown on causative factors and preventive measures, but it also delves into the use of lasers for treatment. So, kindly read on to learn more about this topic.

What Are Dark Circles?

Dark circles, formally known as per orbital hyperpigmentation, occur when the skin under the eyes loses its elasticity and tone. There is a reduction in the supply of collagen to this region, which causes the skin to thin out, resulting in the appearance of wrinkles and lines. And because the facial area around the eyes is now thinner, it’s more likely to show unwanted changes sooner than other parts of the body.

The accumulation of fluid under the eyes, as well as venous congestion and swelling, causes dark circles. Such unwanted discoloration makes a person look tired and old. The following are underlying triggers for this disorder:

  • Lack of collagen production due to ageing
  • Sleep deprivation and fatigue
  • Overexposure to direct sunlight
  • Excessive eye rubbing
  • Dehydration
  • Eczema
  • Allergies triggered by specific cosmetic products
  • Reactive medications
  • Under eye troughs
  • Genetics
  • Extreme vascularity
  • Vitamin B12 and iron deficiency anaemia

Understandably, it’s the first few triggers that are more prevalent and are easily remedied using self-care. For example, getting adequate rest and drinking enough water is easily attainable for most people. However, some of the aforementioned causes, particularly genetics, are more difficult to address.

Types of Dark Circles
Dark circles are categorized into three types:

Vascular dark circle
This condition is mostly caused by blood pooling underneath the eyes. It could be due to fluid retention, blocked blood vessels, or even blood thinners. Affected persons may also have puffiness, akin to eye bags. Discolouration may be purple, pink or blue.

Pigmented dark circle
Excess melanin is often to blame for this problem. This is more common in people with light skin tones. It causes a noticeable brown-red colour to show up on the skin. People with dark skin tones may also be affected, but this may not be as pronounced.

Mixed dark circle
This dermal condition is a result of swelling of blood vessels, as well as excessive production of melanin. It typically appears after a person’s face has undergone some sort of trauma.

The aforementioned dermatological conditions create a feeling of being old and fatigued, even when that isn’t the case. To seek immediate results, affected persons often turn to cosmetic products. Yet, there are consequences to this. One lasting solution to eliminating dark circles is the use of lasers.

Introduction to Laser Technology

Lasers are becoming increasingly popular in dermatology as a treatment option for a wide range of skin disorders, including dark circles. The technology uses light in the near-infrared spectrum to penetrate the skin. The devices that incorporate this tech differ based on:

  • Radiant exposure
  • Pulse characteristics
  • Wavelength

Understanding the type of dark circle that is prominent can aid in the delivery of long-lasting, successful laser therapy. Plus, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved this technology for the treatment of under-eye dark circles.

How Does the Laser Technology Work?
It is pertinent to point out that lasers can be classified into two groups based on what they do: ablative and non-ablative. In ablative lasers, high-powered energy is delivered below the skin surface to remove tissues with excessive melanin deposits. The treatment often results in thermal damage, whereby the target area has a scab-like scar.

This outcome is due to the laser breaking down the structure of the skin. It does, however, stimulate the underlying tissues to create collagen, which is necessary for enhancing suppleness. Ablative lasers are more invasive than their counterparts.

In contrast, the non-ablative laser is a non-invasive technique, which delivers thermal energy below the skin surface. The tech targets underlying structures without affecting the skin surface. The body repairs itself by triggering the production of collagen, which results in firmness.

Laser Treatment for Different Dark Circles
Each listed condition has its unique approach to treatment. When treating pigmented dark circles, the laser targets the skin cells riddled with excessive melanin and breaks it down. This process causes the body to produce collagen to restructure the region. Therefore, the skin under the eyes becomes firmer and more supple.

This technology is also used to treat dark circles caused by constrictions in blood vessels. By so doing, the target area no longer accumulates blood, reducing vascularity. Moreover, it enhances the skin's youthful appearance via rejuvenation.

The third dermal condition, which combines the first two, requires varied cosmetic procedures to achieve long-term results.

Available Laser Treatment Technologies

As previously highlighted, lasers can be ablative or non-ablative. Those belonging to the former category include fractional and garnet lasers. The latter comprises Q-switched and pulse dye lasers.

Fractional Laser
This laser technology works best for pigmented dark circle treatments. It is the latest ablative solution, which comes with fewer scarring results. Using thermal energy, it destroys targeted microscopic areas of the skin, which triggers collagen production for prompt restructuring of the tissues. Unlike previous solutions, the surrounding tissues of the target area are unaffected, which significantly reduces downtime.

Garnet Laser
Like how all ablative lasers work, garnet lasers target the skin tissues underneath the skin, while also ridding the topical area of melanin deposits. Patients who under this procedure require at least three sessions to see significant results. However, side effects could include scarring and inflammation, which tend to disappear over time. Garnet lasers include Nd:YAG and Er:YAG technologies.

Q-Switched Laser
This technology addresses hyperpigmentation under the eyes. It breaks down specific tissues using light and heat without damaging surrounding parts. While this procedure does not leave scars as permanently as its ablative counterparts do, it still feels discomforting. Inflammation, itchiness, and flushing may occur as well.

Pulsed Dye Laser
This laser option heats congested blood vessels for free flow. Plus, it reduces the appearance of vascularity in the area.


Laser technology is popular for removing dark circles beneath the eyes, owing to the numerous advantages it has over other procedures. For example, it is minimally invasive and produces long-term results. Plus, cosmetic patients pay less in treatment, with the cost-per-session being anywhere from $200 to $600. The downtime required for healing is minimal, making it suitable for anyone with a demanding lifestyle.

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