If you have dark circles along with tiny white bumps that form under your eyes, you have two different conditions that more than likely are unrelated to one another. Those tiny white bumps are probably milia, tiny cysts that form when dead skin cells are trapped in pockets at the base of a hair follicle or sweat gland. They are common in infants – half of babies develop them according to MayoClinic.com – but adults can get them too. Some people also develop dark circles under their eyes. These two conditions generally have separate causes and you will have to treat them separately.
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Milia are painless and harmless. They occur at all ages in both sexes. On babies, they commonly form on the nose, chin or cheeks. In adults they tend to form on the cheeks and under the eyes, but they can appear elsewhere as well. They tend to go away on their own after a few months.
Medical treatment is not recommended for babies, according to MayoClinic.com. Wash your child’s face gently with water and pat it dry. Don’t use lotions, oils or medicated creams on your baby or child.
If you are an adult with chronic milia, you may be concerned about your appearance. Try using a mild, over-the-counter exfoliator that is safe for use near the eyes. If after several weeks your milia don’t improve, consult with a dermatologist. Your dermatologist may use a chemical peel, micro dermabrasion or laser technique to treat the milia. Commonly, dermatologists puncture each milium and remove the debris with a plugged pore extractor. Do not attempt these treatments at home or you may cause scarring. Topical retinoid creams, lotions and gels – medications that are derived from vitamin A -- may also be helpful in treatment and prevention of milia.
Dark Circle Causes
Dark circles have various causes. Allergies and congestion can commonly cause dark circles, as can atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema. Lifestyle choices such as chronic use of alcohol, poor sleep, stress and smoking can cause under-eye circles. Irregularities in pigment, thinning skin, and exposure to the sun also can contribute to dark circles under the eyes. Anatomical features such as a large brow or forehead can create the impression of dark circles and some people simply have inherited a tendency to have dark skin pigment under the eyes.
Dark Circle Treatment
The treatment of choice depends on the cause of the dark circles. If congestion or allergies cause the circles, treatment of the underlying condition should improve the dark circles. Eczema is a skin condition marked by redness, itching, swelling of the skin and inflammation. Skin irritants, allergens and stress can trigger outbreaks. Eczema can create the appearance of dark circles when it affects the area under the eyes, and rubbing under the eye can worsen the condition. If dark circles result from lifestyle habits, then improving sleep, reducing alcohol use, managing stress and stopping smoking can improve your dark circles. Laser surgery to lighten the skin under the eyes can be helpful when the dark circles occur because of irregularities of skin pigment. No matter what the cause of the dark circles, you can use cosmetics to lighten the skin under your eyes.
Dark Circles and Milia
The one circumstance that may potentially link dark circles and milia is when you use an oily or rich makeup to lighten the skin under your eye. If you are prone to milia, avoid using oily makeup, creamy eye shadows, heavy eye creams and oil-based makeup remover. Use products that are noncomedogenic, meaning they don’t block your pores, and are oil-free.