Boston Plastic Surgery, Cosmetic Plastic Surgery, Dr Seckel, Boston Massachusetts, Concord Massachusetts

Blue Dark Circles Under Eyes


Millions of people have dark blue circles under their eyes often called raccoon eyes. Blue skin color under eyes is normal for most people. However some people have very dark blue under their eyes. This is often referred to as dark blue circles under the eyes. Below I explain how blue color occurs in the eyelids.

If you see small red and purple blood vessels on the lower eyelid and the skin has a blue or purple color then blood vessels may be the cause of your dark blue circles under eyes. Blue dark circles under the eyes effects millions of people. Many people have the arcus deformity which is a hollow depression under the eye. The arcus deformity requires laser surgery for removal. Many have eye bags or puffy eyes which create a deep dark circle under the eyes. Some people have brown pigment or sun damage on the lower eyelids which causes a dark circle look. In my experience, most patients who complain of dark blue circles under the eyes have broken blood vessels and a dark blue or purple color on the skin under the eyes.

The different causes of dark circles under eyes are each unique and each requires a very different treatment method. Broken blood vessels and small veins that cause dark circles under the eyes are best treated with intense pulsed light treatments. Dark circles caused by the arcus deformity require surgical release of the arcus marginalis. Excess pigment causing dark circles requires laser treatment.

We inherit the color and characteristics of our lower eyelid skin from our parents. Dark blue circles under eyes often appear during childhood, many people tell me they first noticed dark blue circles when they were 9 or 10 years old. I am going to add some information from an Ezine Article that I wrote about broken blood vessels as a cause of dark blue circles under the eyes. Broken blood vessels are the easiest cause of dark circles under eyes to treat and correct.

How Broken Blood Vessels Cause Dark Blue Circles under Eyes?

Actually what most people call broken blood vessels are not really broken blood vessels. What most people see are visible blood vessels on the skin in areas that they do not expect to see blood vessels. These small vessels are arterioles, venules, and capillaries. Arterioles carry fresh blood to the skin and venules take old blood away from the skin, back to the heart and lungs to be refreshed with oxygen. Capillaries connect the arterioles and venules. The color of the blood in these vesssels gives the eyelid the color known as blue under eye circles. Normally blood vessels are deeper in the skin and not visible. Visible or broken blood vessels become noticeable in the following situations:

• Thin Skin- The eyelid skin is the thinnest skin in the body. The eyelid skin is only 1/6 the thickness of the skin on the rest of the face. The skin is so thin that you can see through it. You can actually see the small blood vessels in the skin of the eyelid. These same vessels are present in all skin but are not visible in thicker skin elsewhere in the body. The lower eyelid muscle is purple, and this color is visible through the eyelid skin. That is why all lower eyelids have a darker blue color under the eyes. This blue color is what most people refer to as dark circles under the eyes.

• Telangiectasias or Spider Veins
- The small bood vessels seen in dark circles under the eyes can be dilated or enlarged a condition called telangiectasia or often referred to as spider veins. The dilated or enlarged vessels can be arterioles or venules. Telangiectasias are most often caused by heredity. However, aging, pregnancy, use of topical steroid cream, excessive exertion such as weight lifting, and Rosacea also can cause telangiectasia

• Aging and Inflammation- Ultraviolet radiation and other skin aging factors produce inflammation or irritation to the skin, especially the thin skin around the eyes. When eyelid skin is inflamed, new blood vessels grow into the skin to repair the damage. These new blood vessels stay in the skin and are visible. The presence of these blood vessels darkens the color of the lower eyelid skin and can appear as dark circles under the eyes.

How To Remove Dark blue Circles under Eyes Caused by Broken blood Vessels

Lasers can remove broken blood vessels under the eyes, but newer light based treatments are safer and better. The newer technique called Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) or photo facial is a much gentler procedure that is very effective and does not leave marks or white areas under the eye, a major problem with older laser techniques.

• IPL- Photo Facial
-Intense pulsed light (IPL) is not a laser. IPL uses a bright flash of visible light which is tuned to be absorbed by the specific color of blood. The light passes through the skin without injuring the skin and is preferentially absorbed by the blood in the small broken blood vessels-venules and arterioles. The light energy causes the blood to boil and the heat causes the blood vessel to shrink and close. The process takes about 6 weeks. Usually 3 IPL treatments scheduled 6 weeks apart are required to remove all of the vessels causing the dark blue circle under the eye. Eye shields must be placed on the eye to protect the eye from the light. IPL is the best treatment for Rosacea.

• Laser- Two laser wavelengths are specifically absorbed by blood vessels-the 532nm and 1064nm laser wavelengths. The 1064nm laser is usually too strong to be used on the eyelids. The 532nm laser is the one more commonly used to correct dark circles under eyes caused by blood vessels. However, because the laser is so strong, the eyelid skin is often damaged and a scar or white area on the eyelid skin can occur. Since IPL has been developed, the laser is no longer the choice for treating dark circles under eyes. Eye shields must be [placed on the eye to protect the eye from the laser.

• Vein Injections- Very large and noticeable veins on the lower eyelid can be closed by injecting a sclerosing solution that is most commonly used on the lower legs to treat spider veins. This is a very tricky procedure and should only be done by an expert experienced in this technique.

• Fractional laser resurfacing to thicken skin
- New fractional laser resurfacing techniques are safe to use on the eyelids with eye protective shield in place. These new fractional laser techniques plump or thicken the lower eyelid skin and can improve dark circles under eyes. Thicker lower eyelid skin helps camouflage the broken blood vessels and Telangiectasias.

Prevention of Dark Circles under Eyes caused by Broken Blood Vessels

Inherited dark circles under eyes cannot be prevented. However there are things we can do to prevent new blood vessels from forming and making the dark circles worse. Since Ultraviolet radiation from the sun causes inflammation and new blood vessel growth, sun protection is the most important.

• Sun block- Always make sure that you apply sun block to the eyelids when you apply sun block to your face.

• Eye protection
-Always wear protective sunglasses that cover the crow’s feet areas as well as the eyes.

• Anti-inflammatory-Medical grade topical Vitamin C Serum is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication. Its use on the face and eyelids can help reduce inflammation which leads to new growth of blood vessels and Telangiectasias on the facial and eyelid skin.

If you are bothered by dark blue circles under eyes and can see many small blood vessels on the lower eyelid skin, IPL may be the answer you are looking for.

For more information on dark circles under eyes call 978-369-4499 or email us. Read our free newsletter to learn about new non-surgical rejuvenation techniques. Read Save Your Face to learn how to prevent facial aging.

Dr. Seckel
Concord, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts

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