All right ladies, the often misjudged, misunderstood and misery causing commonality between most women. Dark Circles, almost ALL of us have them, and for the vast majority of us, they are unfortunately genetic and we need to embrace our concealers. There are some methods of treating them, but any and all results will be a slow progression, and you may never get to a completely dark circle free existence.
However, not all dark circles are the same. No not at all, there are 3 types:
1. Those caused my shadows when eyes are puffy (or bulbous like mine). You can tell if this is you by tilting your head upward, so you see inside your nose at a mirror. Do your dark circles disappear? Fabulous, handle the puff, the circles go away.
2. Hyperpigmentation circles. Yes, eyes can overpigment too! This is very common among women of color (just like other pigmentation issues) and cannot be treated the usual way. If your circles appear more brown than blue or purple, and do not lessen no matter how much sleep you get, this is you (white girls don't discoutn it, it happens to us too, my aunt has a TERRIBLE case of these kinds of circles) First off all, the #1 thing is a strong broad spectrum sunblock. My favorite is the Shisedio SPF32, it's the gentlest I've ever come across for eyes and is mostly physical/mineral blocks. Also, embrace your concealer, the higher coverage it is (read, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, just because it doesn't have an SPF rating doesn't mean it won't help) the better. Your second step is to use lightening products similar to the types that you may be using on the face. Arbutin and liquorice extract are effective gentle ingredients for under the eyes (but do be careful) however if you can handle hydroquinone, by all means go for it.
3. Skin thinness circles. This is what I have, and my mom does, and my sister. These are circles that look bluish or purplish (depending on your skin undertone) and for some, downright greenish. They get much worse when you don't get enough sleep, and they are a sign of many other underlying health deficiencies (Vitamin K, Iron, Folic Acid, B6, get these into your diet in plentiful amounts and report back on the details for me). Again this kind of skin thinness, just like the thinness that happens on the butt and allows cellulite to show through, is often genetic and you can thank your mama. But you can do something about it. Like with any other skin condition, embrace your sunblock around the eyes too, to avoid future collagen breakdown and further thinness. When looking for eye creams look for things that help repair veins, something with Vitamin K perhaps, and things that thicken the skin (so the blue shows through less) like peptides and kinetin (the only common anti-aging ingredients I would ever put around the eye, fear retinoids, AHA's and fancy newfangled herbal extracts like the dickens, you don't want to experiment with your vision and your very easily accessed blood vessels).
This is why I believe most women have trouble with dark circles and give up on trying to treat them. All those myriad eye creams with newfangled fancy bum plant extracts are only really, basic creams. No one looks to target their specific circle issue and is therefore stuck trying new things just for the hell of it. REBEL, get circle educated!
Image courtesy of indiculture.com