When you notice those annoying dark circles under your eyes, is your insomnia the first thing you blame? While getting a decent amount of sleep is incredibly important, fatigue isn’t the only reason your skin looks red, purple, and even a little blue. These are seven more things that can keep the area under your eyes from looking their best and brightest.
What do dark circles under the eyes mean?
To be honest, even if you’ve diligently cared for your skin all your life as carefully as you can, sooner or later you will show signs of aging – and this includes bags under the eyes and dark circles.
Over time, skin naturally loses collagen and becomes thinner, so no matter what kind of skin you have or what good habits you maintain, veins will inevitably begin to show through the thin skin around your eyes. As we already know, sun exposure accelerates the breakdown of collagen, so disciplined and consistent sunscreen habits from an early age are your best weapon against under-eye circles. (Wearing sunglasses in the sun helps too – less squinting = less crows paws!)
Better habits, however, cannot change your genes! Genetics is the biggest determinant of what kind of skin we will have and how we will look as we age. Those of us who have inherited fair or thin skin tend to be more likely to have dark circles under the eyes. When our blood collects in the capillaries under our eyes, it’s just more obvious through lighter skin.
Unfortunately, as more and more blood accumulates there, your delicate capillaries begin to stretch and tighten under the weight, leading to even more confluence and accumulation of blood – and eventually even darker circles around the eyes.
However, for other people, dark circles under the eyes and bags under the eyes are not caused by aging, sunbathing, or genetics. Sometimes it’s just a matter of allergies. Year-round allergies, such as dust or mold, or the seasonal allergies that many of us experience in the spring, trigger the release of histamines, which trigger an inflammatory response. This means that our blood vessels become inflamed and swell – including those under our eyes.
Why do dark circles appear under the eyes
Although dark circles under the eyes are most often caused by fatigue, there are other causes, including:
- allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
- atopic dermatitis (eczema)
- contact dermatitis
- pigmentation disorders
- scratching or rubbing the eyes
- sun exposure
Another cause of dark circles is the natural aging process. As you age, you lose skin oil and collagen. This can make reddish-blue blood vessels under the eyes more visible.
In addition, swollen eyelids or hollows under the eyes usually develop with age. Sometimes these physical changes cast shadows that can appear as dark circles under the eyes.
How to get rid of dark circles under the eyes in cosmetology
Your doctor may suggest a medical option, depending on the diagnosis and cause of under eye circles. This recommendation may include the following.
Skin brightening cream
To help relieve hyperpigmentation under the eyes, a dermatologist may prescribe a skin-lightening cream with azelaic acid, kojic acid, glycolic acid, or hydroquinone. Some of these creams, in formulas with lower percentages of the active ingredient, are available over the counter.
Laser treatments use thermal energy to vaporize damaged cells. Darker pigment under the eyes can be removed. Along with lightening darker skin tones, laser therapy can induce the formation of new collagen.
A dermatologist may suggest a light chemical peel to lighten dark pigmentation under the eyes. These typically include glycolic acid, retinoic acid, or hydroquinone. Your dermatologist may also suggest a Jessner peel, which includes a combination of salicylic acid, lactic acid, and resorcinol.
Fat can be removed surgically in lower eyelid blepharoplasty by a plastic surgeon, an oculoplastic surgeon, or a dermatological surgeon. The procedure can reduce the shadow cast by your eyelid, which can reduce the appearance of dark circles.
A hyaluronic acid-based dermal filler such as Restylane or Juvederm can be injected into the tissue under the eye by an ophthalmologist, dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or specially trained medical professional. Fillers help with loss of volume under the eyes, which can cause dark circles.
How to get rid of dark circles under the eyes at home
There are several ways people report that they have eliminated or reduced the appearance of under eye dark circles. Everyone is different, so some of these remedies may not work for you.
Fatigue and lack of sleep can cause dark circles under the eyes. It can also make you look paler, which can make your dark circles appear darker. Make sure you get seven to eight hours of sleep each night and practice good sleep hygiene.
When you sleep, try extra pillows under your head to reduce the swelling of fluid that collects in your lower eyelids.
Cold to dark circles
Sometimes dilated blood vessels can darken the area under the eyes. A cold compress can cause blood vessels to constrict, which can lead to a reduction in dark circles.
Reduce or eliminate sun exposure to your face.
There are a number of over-the-counter moisturizers that can help you with dark circles under your eyes. Many of them contain caffeine, vitamin E, aloe, hyaluronic acid and/or retinol.
Apply cucumber on dark circles
Proponents of natural healing suggest cooling thick cucumber slices and then laying the chilled cucumber slices on dark circles for about 10 minutes. Then rinse the area with water. Repeat this procedure twice a day.
Almond oil and vitamin E
Natural healing advocates suggest mixing equal amounts of almond oil and vitamin E, and then, right before bed, gently massage the mixture into dark circles. Rinse the area with cold water in the morning. Repeat this process every night until the dark circles disappear.
Natural healers suggest soaking two tea bags in warm water and then chilling the bags in the refrigerator for a few minutes. Place a bag over each eye. After five minutes, remove the tea bags and rinse…