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Sleeping Might Actually WORSEN Your Tired-Looking Eyes?

Many of my patients consult me because their colleagues and friends have commented that they “look tired”. This problem of “looking tired” can happen to anyone but especially common to executives and professionals who spend a lot of time in front of the monitor. So what’s the “failsafe” remedy? Sleeping more should solve the problem, right?


One of the biggest reasons for dark eye circles worsening is precisely because of the sleep myth!

The Sleep Myth – Sleeping magically cures ALL DECs and tired eyes

Why is this a myth? Isn’t it scientific that sufficient sleep will ensure you don’t get tired looking eyes? I just had a tough week of late reports. I’ll be alright after a weekend of sleep right?

Unfortunately, this is both true and untrue. Broadly, there are 2 main types of “tired eyes”.

Type 1 – Caused by insufficient rest

When you are sleep-deprived or have spent too much time on the monitor, it is possible to develop tired-looking eyes. This is due to retention of fluid and blood around the eyes. This can be common and having good quality rest can alleviate the symptoms. However, if you have been experiencing dark eye circles for some time, you are most likely in the second category.

Type 2 – Caused by various aging factors

Aging causes hollowing of the bony and soft tissue elements around the eye as well as poorer skin quality such as thinning of skin and pigmentation. The causative factors are genetic, lifestyle-related like UV exposure, smoking and even drastic weight loss.

Sleeping does NOT cure tired-looking eyes that arise from these factors. In fact, many of my patients came to me only after MONTHS and YEARS of dark eye circles and tired eyes. They believed sleeping will improve their eye condition but it does not. When they eventually come to me after failing to see improvement, it becomes harder to treat.

Sure, quality sleep doesn’t directly make it any worse but delaying treatment can significantly worsen the condition over time.

How can I treat my tired-looking eyes?

Tired-looking eyes and dark eye circles are conditions that are actually easy to treat once you identify the specific factors behind the symptoms.

Treatment is by divided by the upper eyelids and lower eyelid complexes:

Treating the Upper Eyelid Complex

Problem #1: Droopy brows

As one ages, brow shape and position can change due to loss of skeletal bone, muscle and collagen. The result is loss of brow arch and droopy brows.

Solution: Fillers will help to replacesoft tissue. High Intensity Focused Ultrasound/Radio-Frequency technology to tighten skin.

Price range: Basic Hyaluronic fillers cost $700 onwards while High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)/Radio-Frequency (RF) for eye region costs $750 onwards per session.

Problem #2: Wrinkles

Wrinkles around the eyes causes it to look very tired and aged.

Glabella wrinkles and crow’s feet develop over time due to repeated muscle activity.

Solution: Anti-wrinkle injections

Price range: costs $350 onwards for each region (crow’s feet and glabellar wrinkles).

Treating the Lower Eyelid Complex

Here are my suggested treatment methods for lower eyelid complex based on the cause.

Problem #3: Volume Loss

Over time, there is loss of Fat & Bone around the eye. This results in “Tear trough deformity”.

Solution: The recommended treatment for this is injectable filler to replace the volume loss.

Commonly used fillers for tear trough treatment are hyaluronic acid fillers which are softer in consistency.

Price range: Basic Hyaluronic fillers cost $700 onwards while High Intensity Focused Ultrasound/Radio-Frequency for eye region costs $750 onwards per session.

Problem #4: Allergy

Allergy can cause congestion of blood vessels at the undereye region, which are easily seen due to the thin undereye skin.

Solution: The fastet treatment for allergies is anti-histamines.

Price range: Oral antihistamines cost $30-50 for 1 month/supply.

Problem #5: Pigmentation

Undereye skin is prone to pigmentation as the skin is very delicate and most forget to apply skin protection close enough to the undereye.

Solution: A Picosecond Laser is the treatment of choice for pigmentation, especially at the delicate undereye area due to its safety profile.

Price range: Picosecond Lasers for eye region cost $200 onwards per session.

Problem #6: Eyebag

Eyebags are due to an “out-pouching” of undereye fat. Severe eyebags will require surgery. However, mild eyebags can be treated with microneedling Radio-Frequency devices that deliver heat to melt the fat through tiny needles.

Solution: Microneedling Radio-Frequency for mild eyebags, surgery for serious ones.

Price range: Microneedling Radio-Frequency costs $800 onwards per session.

Problem #7: Loss of Collagen

Thin undereye skin can arise from loss of collagen, making blood vessels more visible.

Collagen stimulating lasers can help to strengthen and thicken the undereye skin so that the blood vessels are less prominent.

Solution: Loose skin can tightened using HIFU, Fractional Picosecond Laser and specialised eye creams that contain retinoids and growth factors.

Price range: HIFU for eye region costs $750 onwards per session. Picosecond Lasers for eye region cost $200 onwards per session. Specialised eye creams can range from $150 upwards for 2-3 months supply.

Problem #8: Undereye Wrinkles

Fine undereye lines cause darker contours and shadow.

Solution: Small, precise doses of anti-wrinkle injections will help to relax the pre-tarsal muscles to soften the fine lines.

Price range: Small doses of anti-wrinkle injections are needed. It will cost around $150 upwards.

Do I NEED to see a doctor?

If you are keen on resolving this issue once and for all, I’ll definitely recommend going to a doctor. Most tired-looking eyes and dark eye circles become harder to treat the longer you delay it.

Treatment success rate is very high once the doctor accurately diagnoses the cause of your condition. You might also be facing more than one of the above problems so find an experienced and trusted doctor who can properly plan a complete treatment programme for you.

Finally… Prevention is better than cure

There is no surefire way of preventing the onset of dark eye circles but here are 3 reliable methods:

  1. Invest in undereye sun protection like undereye skin screen and sunglasses.
  2. Preventive Medical Grade Eye Creams.
  3. Avoid excessive sun exposure.

Prevention is better than cure so make sure you continue to protect your eyes even after improving their condition!

Have questions or need advice? Feel free to WhatsApp or email me below. I enjoy discussing about aesthetics so text me anytime!


Medical Director

After graduating from the National University of Singapore, Dr Boey’s journey in aesthetics brought him to esteemed institutions such as Harvard Medical School, American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine and Queen Mary University of London in diverse cities like Seoul, London, Boston and New York.