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Should you be rubbing your eyes?

Should you be rubbing your eyes? | RJ CLINIC

It feels so good rubbing your eyes, right? You feel the itch is gone, and your stress relieved, it is so tempting, right? Totally relatable.

BUT, for the sake of your beauty and health, stop rubbing your eyes!


Apart from the increased risk of eyes infection, scratched cornea and thinned cornea, our aesthetic concern is that rubbing your eyes can cause ...

Dark eye circles | RJ CLINIC
Hemosiderin staining can look like panda eyes (encompassing both upper and lower eyelids)

Underneath our eyes lies the blood vessels. When you rub your eyes, the blood vessels break. Iron pigment from blood then leaks and pools under the skin, creating dark shadowy colour under your eyes, also known as hemosiderin staining.

Dark eye circles | RJ CLINIC

If you have allergy, disrupted lymphatic drainage systems can make your eyes look puffy and inflamed. Not only that, it may also cause your eyes to itch. The more you rub, the worse the inflammation. Chronic rubbing causes condition known as postinflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Besides, the skin underneath the eyes, sometimes known as “ tear trough” is thin and more sensitive than skin on other parts of our body. While aging is the most common cause of undereyes skin thinning, UV damage from sun exposure also destroys collagen, which contributes to the thinning of our skin. When the skin is thin, it allows the underlying features to be accentuated, including blood vessels and blood stasis from eyes rubbing.

In certain people, the cause for dark circles is true hyperpigmentation, be it genetic or acquired as in cases of sun exposure.

Shadowing is another cause of dark circles. As we age, we lose our periorbital fat pad and tear trough becomes deeper and sunken. Shadowing from poor lighting enhances the appearance of dark circles.

Dark eye circles | RJ CLINIC
A simple case of shadowing which improved with appropriate filler placement

Other factors such as stress, excessive alcohol intake and smoking can also cause dark circles under your eyes.


Press on the dark area and then release.

If it becomes darker, it is vascular cause.

If it does not change, it is caused by pigment.

However, it can be combination of both factors in some people.


It is important to determine the cause of dark circles for correct treatment.

To thicken the skin, topical retinoid is a good choice, but be careful of retinoid dermatitis especially if you have sensitive skin. Non-pharmacological treatment will be PRP (platelet rich plasma) injection/ dermapen. PRP contains of multiple growth factors, and has the ability to stimulate collagen synthesis, thereby creating a thicker and more youthful skin, indirectly reducing the appearance of dark circles or the “tired look”.

For dark circles attributed to hyperpigmentation, combination of skin care, laser toning and skin booster injection is the choice of treatment. Sunscreen is a must, and skin cares containing agents like retinoids, hydroquinone, kojic acid, niacinamide, vitamin c, azelaic acid and alpha arbutin are preferred.

In cases of sunken eyes that worsen appearance of dark circles, dermal filler or fat transfer give immediate result in the improvement of dark circles.

On top of the treatment as mentioned above, lifestyle plays an important role. Spending all your money on aesthetic treatments will not completely remove your dark circles if the dark circles are caused by poor lifestyle such as sleeping late, smoking, taking drugs or alcohol. To change it or accept it? It is up to you.