Dear Marta, I am 25 and have dark under eye circles……

Dear Marta, I am 42 and have hereditary dark under eye circles.  Please help…..

I get no end of letters about dark under eye circles from both women and men and from all ages. I find it so frustrating when I hear that they have been dismissed by a doctor with the word “hereditary”, as if nothing can be done. Dark circles may be hereditary, but there are solutions.

If your panda eyes are chronic then consider that the source may be have more to do with your nose than how much sleep you are getting. The primary cause of dark circles is a blocked nose. According to the Mayo Clinic, when your nose is congested, veins that usually drain from your eyes into your nose become widened (dilated) and darker. Dark circles can, therefore, be an indication of allergies.

So a nasal decongestant spray may be the first thing that you should invest in. There are also a couple of things that may be best avoided. Over use of retinol creams can cause the skin tissue to become 'vascular' and over stimulate the capillaries. While hemorrhoid cream may help a bit because its purpose in life is to constrict swollen blood vessels. But it smells disgusting, usually contains petrolatum and is way too harsh for under-eye skin. Although vitamin K and vitamin C creams are often recommended, these may having a drying effect on delicate eye-area skin. Furthermore, research does not support vitamin K as an effective solution.

There are potions and lotions in the eye cream dept that can help diminish the appearance of dark circles and there are some ingredients to look out for:

Hesperidin methyl chalcone, which is found in citrus fruits, lowers the filtration rate of capillaries (less blood flowing though capillaries close to the surface of the skin potentially means less discoloration under the eyes). It may also prevent leaking from the veins below the eye and has been shown to help strengthen capillaries. It is one of the key ingredients in Hydropeptide’s Anti-Wrinkle Dark Circle Concentrate ($60 in the TIA shop).

Bioskinup Contour 3r, which is the combination of three plant extracts – Brazilian ginseng, a Brazilian tree called p.olacoides and lily – is also supposed to help dark circles (as well as wrinkles and puffiness by 50%) if used for 28 days. It is in Chella’s Anti-fatigue Eye Mask.

Haloxyl is also a dark circle fader. This is a peptide formulation that also includes chrysin and hydroxysuccinimide. The two color degradation elements in hemaglobin are bilrubin and iron. Chrysin, from passionflower, stimulates the enzyme that clears out bilrubin while hydroxysuccinimide makes the iron soluble so that it can be eliminated. It is in Your Best Face Correct eye cream.

Eyeseryl is a peptide that has been shown in clinical trials (conducted by the company that makes it) to fade dark circles. It is in ReLuma’s eye cream.

In the meantime, camouflage helps. Follow Kristen's tips for effective concealer application and check out our all new Five Best concealer roundup.