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How To Decode (And Deal With) Dark Circles Vs. Under-Eye Bags

Just like Isla Fisher and Amy Adams, dark circles and under-eye bags are often mistaken for one another. But also like Fisher and Adams, they are actually completely distinct.”Dark circles and under-eye bags are terms that are often used interchangeably because many people don’t realise that there is a difference,” Biologi Dermal Specialist Lucy Macdougald tells ELLE.The question is, how do you decipher between them? Lucy gave us the details on how to decode.

HOW CAN I DECIPHER DARK CIRCLES FROM UNDER-EYE BAGS?

Enter the pinch test. “The pinch test can usually give you a quick indication,” explains Lucy. “You essentially just gently lift up the skin between two fingers; if darkness seems to go away whilst doing that then it’s likely you’ve got under eye bags or thinning of the skin and not dark circles or pigmentation,” she says.”However as the skin around the eye area is extremely delicate, it does need to be a gentle pinch rather than any aggressive movement,” she recommends.Alright, now you know what you’re dealing with, let’s dive into the differences.

WHAT ARE DARK CIRCLES?

“Dark circles are literally just that – darkness under and around the eye area which is caused by genetics and skin tone,” Lucy explains. “The appearance of blue-ish and purple-ish colours around the eyes is caused by the skin being thin and translucent where the colour comes from the underlying veins,” she shares.

WHAT CAUSES DARK CIRCLES?

“Dark circles can appear darker when a person lacks sleep because they’ll have increased fluid build-up which leads to pooled blood in the superficial blood vessels,” Lucy tells ELLE.

HOW CAN DARK CIRCLES BE TREATED?

“To treat dark circles, try a potent Vitamin C applied to the area. Vitamin C will help to even out the skin tone and lighten dark eye circles,” she advises.

WHAT ARE UNDER-EYE BAGS?

“Under eye bags look like swelling or puffiness under the eye area (in the eye trough). It’s basically puffy skin that essentially looks like ‘bags’ of puffiness – hence the name!,” explains Lucy.

WHAT CAUSES UNDER-EYE BAGS?

“Under eye bags can also be genetic and a normal sign of the ageing process. They’re caused by fluid retention in the eye socket, where the orbital fat (the padding behind the eyes) has drooped and migrated south,” she shares.”Without getting too scientific, it is basically a combination of skin sagging, weaker collagen and gravity bringing the orbital fat below the eyes, which then gets targeted by fluid and can swell the area.”

HOW CAN UNDER-EYE BAGS BE TREATED?

“Some people do get fillers in the area to elevate the surrounding skin and smooth out the texture,” she confirms.”An alternative is also a radiofrequency treatment, which heats the skin to produce collagen and elastin, thus tightening and smoothing out the skin in that area,” Lucy advises.After a less invasive fix? “Eye patches can help to smooth and plump the surface temporarily, however, for longer term results try introducing a collagen stimulating serum into your routine. Also be mindful that other factors like lack of sleep can contribute to issues in the eye area.”

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