We’ve all experienced it, and some of us experience it more often than not. We look at ourselves in the mirror as we’re getting ready to leave for work, school, or an errand, and there they are – dark circles under our eyes.
Often, the culprit causing our dark circles may be obvious, especially if we suffered from poor sleep the night before or are particularly stressed. There is actually a wide variety of factors that cause under-eye dark circles. Luckily, there are also many different ways to treat or even prevent them.
Causes of Dark Circles
Heredity – If you have fair skin, dark eye circles are often the norm. Because fair skin is more transparent, the blue tint of blood vessels shows through more clearly. Some people also have thin skin that contributes to dark eye circles due to genetics.
Allergies – Nasal congestion caused by allergies can dilate blood vessels around the eyes, causing them to darken. In addition, histamines caused by an allergy attack can inflame blood vessels. Finally, rubbing itchy eyes can also cause broken blood vessels that lead to dark circles.
Age – As we get older, our skin becomes thinner as it loses collagen. It also begins to sag more, causing a sort of shadowing around our eyes.
Sleep – Most of us know that sleep deprivation is a common cause of dark circles, but oversleeping can also cause them to appear.
Lifestyle – Drinking alcohol and smoking can contribute to dark circles under the eyes.
Diet – People who drink too much coffee or other caffeinated drinks may have difficulty getting enough sleep, which could lead to dark circles. Additionally, diets with excess salt can cause fluid retention which may lead to circles.
Other causes can include stress, eczema, iron deficiency, fluid retention, and excessive exposure to the sun.
Danger of Dark Circles?
Sometimes, dark circles can be a sign of more serious medical conditions. In these rare cases, dark under-eye circles might be a symptom of an issue with the liver or hypothyroidism. Though dark circles are generally of no concern, you should visit a medical professional if they appear very suddenly or if the darkness appears only under one eye and doesn’t go away after a few days.
Treating and Preventing Dark Circles
Because there are so many causes of dark under-eye circles, remedies will vary person to person. Still, there are many simple tactics that treat a variety of causes that can be done at home very easily.
If you suffer from dark circles often, there are a few ways to help lessen their severity. One suggestion is to elevate your head with an extra pillow or two when sleeping. This helps to minimize blood pooling under the eyes. Upon waking, it can also help to apply a cold compress to the eyes for five minutes to help constrict blood vessels. (Though people have historically used cucumber slices for this purpose, it’s important to note that the slices can help lessen circles because they are cool – not because of the contents of the cucumber itself! A cold washcloth or a frozen bag of vegetables would work just as well.) Another thing that fortifies and clears our skin is readily available to us from the tap – water. It’s important to drink plenty for skin health. Finally, aim for a solid 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, as too little or even too much sleep could lead to dark under-eye circles.
Along with these easy home remedies, there are many products that may be helpful in combatting against dark under-eye circles. Vitamins such as C, E, and Omega-3 fatty acids can also improve skin’s appearance greatly. There are also many ointments and creams available that are designed to help alleviate dark eye circles. Many of these products have caffeine to help constrict blood vessels, while some are meant to build collagen – such as retinol. Others contain green tea to help strengthen capillary walls.
While dark under-eye circles can be a pain, they are often not harmful or threatening. If you have circles, try the tactics listed above to see if one of them or a combination might work for you. If you have more questions about under-eye circles or eye health in general, contact Uptown Eye Care for more information.