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Help for dark circles under the eyes

Ever look into the mirror and wonder if you've just gone a couple of rounds with the heavyweight champ? And lost? Dark circles under the eyes can certainly make you feel like a chump. Until recently, your best defense was a pair of sunglasses. Now there's hope. With the right approach, a great product or two, and some perseverence, you can diminish these unflattering circles and let the real you shine through.

But first, let's examine the problem. What causes "racoon eyes" in the first place?

Hyperpigmentation is often to blame. Melanin, which produces pigment in the skin, can collect under the eyes, making this area darker. This kind of hyperpigmentation may be caused by hereditary factors (most commonly in Far Eastern or Mediterranean peoples), or by excessive sun exposure. The cure? Certain bleaching agents, such as hydroquinone or kojic acid, suppress the production of melanin while they lighten the skin. Try Lift & Lighten Eye Cream by Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare. And be sure to apply a good sunscreen daily to defend against further darkening and wear 100% UV protective sunglasses.

Circles under the eyes also tend to develop with age. As we grow older our skin thins, making the small blood vessels under our eyes more visible. This is characterized by a bruise-like appearance. Vitamin K, taken internally or applied topically, can help -- especially when combined with a retinol-based product such as Retinol Reparative Therapy For Eyes by Erno Laszlo.

While you work toward a more permanent solution, makeup can help. First apply some eye cream to create a moist base for your concealer and to allow for easier blending. A creamy concealer that is a shade lighter than your foundation is recommended. (Tip: choose a yellow-tinted concealer to neutralize the purple tones in the skin.) Blend well under the eyes and into your foundation. Finish with a small amount of loose translucent powder.

One last word of advice: get plenty of sleep. Fatigue can exasperate dark circles. Most of us need 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.