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December 11, 2020

Eye bags vs Dark Eye Circles: What is the Difference?

Girl with Dark Eye Circles using Eye Patch

People have to constantly battle with their own kind of stress levels daily, and these pressures often lead to relentless, sleepless situations where not just the mind and body, but the eyes included, pay the price. Eye bags and dark eye circles, while always used together, are actually two different things. Eye bags refer to the swelling around the eyes while dark eye circles are the darkening of the under-eye skin. 

Have you experienced the utter desperation and frustration as you type out for the umpteenth time on Google ‘how to get rid of dark circles and eye bags’ to be rid of the dark shadows under your eyes?

Eyelid surgery is one of the many methods that people go for to reduce their eye bags and dark circles. It was the fourth most performed cosmetic surgery in 2016.

What exactly are Eye Bags & what causes it?

Eye bags are the mild swelling or puffiness under the eyes that come with age. As you age, the muscles and tissues around your eyes weaken. Your eyelids can appear puffy when normal fat that helps support the eyes could potentially protrude the lower eyelids. Additionally, fluid could also accumulate in the space below your eyes, adding to the swelling. [1]

Several factors can worsen or cause this effect such as:
●    Fluid retention, especially after a salty meal or upon waking up
●    Inadequate sleep
●    Smoking
●    Allergies
●    Heredity - eye bags could run in the family 

Eye bags can be noticeable through mild swelling, droopy or loose skin, and dark circles and while individuals may not like their appearance, the eye bags are mostly mild and harmless. However, if the swelling is severe, painful, itchy, persistent or red, visit your doctor immediately. 

What exactly are Dark Eye Circles & what causes it?

Dark eye circles are quite common in men and women. They’re often accompanied by eye bags and can make you appear much more tired and older than you are. To make matters worse, they can be quite stubborn to remove.

Dark circles can affect anyone, and there a number of contributing factors [2] such as:

Fatigue - Dark circles can be formed under your eyes due to inadequate sleep, extreme fatigue, oversleeping or sleep deprivation that could cause your skin to become pale and dull, permitting the blood vessels and dark tissues under your skin to show. Stress causes the release of stress hormones (cortisol) from your adrenals and these hormones can stimulate the pigment cells to make more pigmentation. Fluid can build up beneath your eyes due to lack of sleep as well, causing them to appear puffy. Hence, the shadows cast by your puffy eyelids could actually be the dark circles you see.

Age - Another common cause is natural ageing where as you get older, your skin becomes thinner. You tend to lose the fat and collagen needed to maintain your skin’s elasticity causing the dark blood vessels beneath your skin to become more noticeable bringing about those haunted dark circles. 

Eye Strain - Even significant strain on your eyes from staring at your phone or computer screen can cause the blood vessels around your eyes to enlarge and darken.

Allergies - Dark circles can also be triggered by allergic reactions and dry eyes. As a response to harmful bacteria, your body releases histamines when you have an allergic reaction and they cause your blood vessels to dilate and become more noticeable other than the other uncomfortable symptoms such as puffy eyes, redness and itchiness. This can also cause you to rub and scratch the itchy skin further inflaming the skin resulting in friction induced hyperpigmentation. 

Dehydration - Your eyes tend to look sunken and dull when your body is not acquiring the proper amount of water due to the skin almost sticking to the underlying bone causing your dark circles to be quite noticeable.

Sun overexposure - Your body will potentially generate an excess of melanin, a natural skin pigment, when exposed to the sun for an extended period of time. The overexposure towards the eyes can cause pigmentation in the skin to darken.

Genetics - Dark eye circles can be an inherited trait passed down through family history and could either get worse or slowly lighten up. They can also occur from some medical conditions such as thyroid disease.

Treatments: Eye Bags vs Dark Eye Circles

Individuals can choose between at-home treatments or going for laser and eye filler treatments to reduce their eye bags and dark eye circles. At-home treatments include reducing salt in your diet and cutting down on fluids before bedtime, not smoking and preventing allergy symptoms to treat their puffy eye bags. When it comes to treating dark eye circles, applying cold-soaked tea bags can help improve their appearance as caffeine and antioxidants found in tea can aid in stimulating blood circulation and reducing liquid retention beneath the skin. 

We offer the options between Fotona Eye Bag Reduction and Under Eye Fillers for eye bags, PDRN Healer I (Eye) and Pico 450 Laser for dark eye circles, or AGNES Eye Bag Removal for both eye bags and dark eye circles.

Fotona Laser Eye Bag Reduction

A non-invasive Er:YAG laser treatment, the Fotona Laser Eye Bag Reduction is sought out for skin tightening and fine lines reduction around the eyes. This is an effectual treatment specially targeted on individuals who would like non-surgical eye bag removal. The Fotona Laser works on the inside of your under the eyelid (palpebral conjunctiva) to shrink fats and tighten loose undereye skin by stimulating collagen production.

Under-Eye Fillers

Under-eye fillers are for individuals who would like to get rid of their eye bags through painless and non-invasive surgical procedures. These fillers contain hyaluronic acid that is found in your connective tissues and when administered, add volume to the area allowing the skin to stretch so that the areas don’t appear sunken and hollow, giving you a more refreshed look.

PDRN Healer I

PDRN Healer I (Eye) is made up of Polynucleotides (PN) with anti-inflammatory and tissue repair-stimulating properties for long-lasting skin healing and collagen stimulation specially formulated for the thinner delicate skin around the eyes. The procedure will reduce puffiness in the eyes and improve the appearance of dark circles.

AGNES Eye Bag Removal

AGNES Eye Revo is a non-surgical eye bag removal treatment that is a signature service of Dr Lee Mun Heng at Cambridge Medical. The treatment targets the reduction of unwanted eye bags and eye wrinkles without involving surgery. Originated from Korea, it is administered via fine microneedles that emit radio-frequency energy to specifically “melt” the fats causing the eye bags.

Pico 450 Laser

The Pico 450 Laser is an ultra-fast (450 picoseconds) high energy laser that directs laser energy at the targeted area which effectively shatters the pigments into minute fragments with expert precision that will help reduce the intensity of the dark circles.

Treatments for both Eye Bags & Dark Eye Circles

If you are bothered by both eye bags and dark eye circles, you can choose between at-home treatments or heading towards an aesthetic clinic for an AGNES Eye Revo treatment to treat both eye bags and dark eye circles. 

At-home treatments to treat both afflictions include applying a cold compress that will help reduce the appearance of puffiness and eliminate dark circles by shrinking dilated blood vessels, catching up on some extra sleep as sleep deprivation can cause your dark circles to appear more obvious, elevating your head slightly while you sleep such as adding an extra pillow could prevent the fluid from accumulating around your eyes reducing the risk of dark circles when you wake up, and lastly concealing the eye bags and dark circles with makeup.

If none of these options sounds great, or you’ve exhausted all of them and you would like a solution that is more foolproof, the AGNES Eye Revo treatment could be what you’ve been searching for.

AGNES Eye Revo Eyebag + Dark Eye Circles Removal

This treatment can effectively remove eye bags as well as reduce the appearance of dark eye circles using a non-surgical approach and does not require going under the knife, hence, scarring and downtime are avoided. A signature service of Cambridge Medical Group, it is administered using fine microneedles that emits radio-frequency energy that precisely treats the targeted fats. Collagen production is also stimulated, making the skin firm and taut around the eye reducing the appearance of eye bags. 

A combination of laser light therapy with medical-grade products could be a solution to help further improve the individual’s dark eye circles.

Unsure which is the best option for you? Speak to Dr Lee Mun Heng for a customised treatment programme!

  1. Vrcek, I., Ozgur, O., & Nakra, T. (2016). Infraorbital Dark Circles: A Review of the Pathogenesis, Evaluation and Treatment. Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery9(2), 65–72. https://doi.org/10.4103/0974-2077.184046
  2. Mac-Mary, S., Zornoza Solinis, I., Predine, O., Sainthillier, J. M., Sladen, C., Bell, M., & O'Mahony, M. (2019). Identification Of Three Key Factors Contributing To The Aetiology Of Dark Circles By Clinical And Instrumental Assessments Of The Infraorbital Region. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology12, 919–929. https://doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S217956


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