Cucumber slices, special eye cooling pads or a teaspoon cooled in an ice-box are just a few of the remedies that have been used to reduce unsightly rings under eyes after a short night.

But if there are permanent grey, blue, brown, red or violet patches beneath the eyes, it’s a case for the medical profession.

“The skin surrounding the eyes is very thin,” explains dermatologist Markus Steinert. Because there is less fatty tissue in this area, any veins beneath the skin will be more prominent than elsewhere on the body.

As the body grows old the small amount of fatty tissue around the eyes tends to get even thinner.

“But it’s not uncommon for bags to develop under the eyes for genetic reasons,” says Steinert. That explains why discoloured rings can even appear under the eyes of young people.

Circles under the eyes are also quite often the fault of an unhealthy lifestyle. One indication this may be the case is the presence of blue-black discolouration.

“That’s a sign the person is drinking too little water, is getting too little sleep or is not eating enough fruit and vegetables,” says Ursula Sellerberg, a pharmacist.

Moisturising creams that contain urea, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera extract or other moisture-retaining ingredients can help skin around the eyes remain supple.

“The cream should be applied very lightly to the skin,” recommends cosmetic artist Monika Ferdinand.

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Concealer covers rings under the eyes.

Under no circumstances should a used teabag be applied to the eyes as a remedy, as it’s possible an allergic reaction might occur. A simpler, and faster, solution is to disguise bags with the aid of concealer.

“Its colour should be one level brighter than the skin tone or the make-up applied around the eye,” says Ferdinand.

If the rings remain despite all efforts, it’s time to call in a doctor. He or she may conduct a blood test to find out if a vitamin or mineral deficiency is the cause.

In some rare cases eye rings can indicate a kidney or thyroid disease or an allergy. One possible cause is a malfunction in the lymph drainage system.

“In those cases a manual or mechanical lymphatic drainage may help,” says Steinert. Lymphatic drainage should only be carried out by a qualified person.

Another cause could be that the tear ducts have expanded so much that skin begins to droop beneath them, causing superfluous fatty tissue to collect there.

“The most effective thing to do here is to operate so that the fat pockets are reduced in size,” says Steinert. If bags form because fat tissue has reduced in size, then hyaluronic acid can be injected into the affected area to fill it out.

“That’s usually a painless procedure,” says Steinert. Rings that form due to unequal pigment formation can be treated with a laser.

“The connective tissue in the eyelids is tightened in the process,” explains Steinert.

However, there can be side-effects to such procedures, so it’s important to be fully informed before going ahead with such a procedures. Blood clots or light swelling may form at the affected area but they usually disappear after one or two weeks. – dpa/Sabine Meuter

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