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  5. Dark Circles Under Your Eyes: Causes, Treatments & Prevention Tips

You’ve been getting your beauty sleep for 8 hours every night. Despite this, those dark bags under your eyes have appeared out of nowhere! Does this leave you startled?

Like you, most people think that a good night's rest can banish dark circles under eyes. But the truth is that dark circles can have many other causes. Let’s look at all of them to understand why they are formed and how you can prevent or treat them.

What Are Dark Circles?

Dark circles or periorbital dark circles [1] are a skin concern that arises when blood vessels show up through the delicate thin skin around your eyes. This can make your face look tired and dull. But, they are not necessarily permanent. Identifying the cause of dark circles can help treat them effectively.

What Causes Dark Circles Under Your Eyes?

1. Allergies

Allergies [2] cause the skin to itch. Constant rubbing of the skin around your eyes can lead to dark circles.

2. Medications

Any medications that dilate the blood vessels can lead to dark circles under your eyes. Since the skin around your eyes is delicate, it can easily show up increased blood flow through the skin.

3. Anemia

Lack of iron in your diet makes you anemic [3] and can show up in the form of dark circles. Pregnancy and menstruation can cause low levels of iron and lead underlying veins to become more prominent.

4. Aging

With the natural aging process, people tend to lose collagen [4] in the skin under the eyes. This skin is thinner and ages faster than the rest of the skin due to excessive usage in activities like facial expressions.

5. Sun Exposure

The UV light from the sun triggers the production of melanin (brown skin pigment) [5] making the skin under your eyes darker.

6. Periorbital Hyperpigmentation

This is a condition where more melanin is produced under the eyes, giving them a darker appearance.

7. Stress/Fatigue

A lack of sleep or stress can cause pale skin, making the skin around the eyes darker. The blood underneath appears more blue or darker.

8. Cigarette Smoking, Aalcohol And Caffeine

The toxins in cigarette smoke, alcohol and caffeine cause damage to the delicate structure of the skin around your eyes, making them darker.

9. Dehydration

Lack of fluids in the body can cause the blood vessels underneath your eyes to become more prominent. Result being dark circles around your eyes.

10. Your Genetic Makeup

Some people naturally have more melanin production under the eyes or less collagen. These factors contribute to dark circles under the eyes.

11. Eye Strain

Staring at your computer screens and mobile screens for prolonged periods cause dark circles. There is an increased blood flow under the eyes due to this stress, causing the blood to appear more blue underneath.

How To Remove Dark Circles?

1. Topical Creams

Skin lightening creams help treat under-eye hyperpigmentation. Your doctor may prescribe creams that contain ingredients like niacinamide, alpha-arbutin, azelaic acid, hydroquinone [6], kojic acid, licorice or glycolic acid. Topical creams containing antioxidants like Vitamin E and C or retinoids that boost collagen production can help with dark circles.

2. Lasers

Laser therapy [7] uses heat to vaporize damaged cells. Besides lightening the under eye skin, laser helps in collagen formation as well.

3. Fillers

Dermal fillers [8], which are hyaluronic acid-based, can be injected under your eyes by an ophthalmologist or plastic surgeon. Hyaluronic acid boosts hydration under the eyes making the dark circles become less prominent.

4. Chemical Peels

Chemical peels [9] use exfoliating acids like glycolic acid to gently remove the top layers of the skin to reveal a fresh layer.

5. Blepharoplasty

The fat under your eyes can be surgically removed by a plastic surgeon or a dermatologic surgeon [10]. This procedure helps in decreasing the shadow cast by your eyelid and reduces the appearance of dark circles.


Since the area under your eyes is extremely thin, discuss possible side effects with your doctor beforehand.

6. Home Remedies

A. Cold Compress

A cold compress can constrict the blood vessels and reduce the dark circles. Wrap a few ice cubes in a clean wash cloth and place it under your eyes for about 20 minutes. You can also choose a plain damp cloth.

B. Elevate Your head

Your sleep position matters. Elevate your head with a few extra pillows so that fluid does not jam under your eyes to make them look dark or puffy.

C. Black Or Green Tea Bags

The antioxidants or caffeine in tea can improve blood circulation under your eyes. Soak 2 green or black tea bags in water for five minutes. Remove and place them in a refrigerator for 20 minutes. Take them out and place on your eyes for 10 minutes and rinse later with cool water.

D. Cucumber

Remember how a facial expert places slices of cucumber on your eyes while the face pack is doing its work? Cucumbers are naturally healing and cooling. They help minimize the appearance of dark circles.

E. Almond Oil And Vitamin E

Mix equal amounts of almond oil and vitamin E and apply to your under eye during bedtime. Gentle massaging helps in blood circulation. Wash off the next morning with cold water.

F. Conceal

When all else fails, makeup comes handy. Use a concealer to cover your dark circles and make them look the same as your skin color. Beware of what concealer you are using. If there is a reaction, consult your doctor immediately.

Prevention Tips

  • Sleep well: Lack of sleep, fatigue and stress can cause dark circles. Get adequate sleep (6-8 hours) every night to prevent dark circles.
  • Protect from sun: Limit your exposure to the sun. In case you have to step out, use sunglasses and apply sunscreen.
  • Quit smoking and alcohol : Smoking and alcohol accelerate the aging process and cause dark circles around your eyes.

What Should You Eat To Remove Dark Circles?

Vitamin K is an important nutrient in stopping blood coagulation [11] and stimulating circulation. Foods containing vitamin K like broccoli, green leafy vegetables, sprouts and spinach can help get rid of dark circles under your eyes. Cucumber, watermelons and tomatoes are also a great choice as they have high-water content and collagen boosting ingredients.

Can Drinking More Water Reduce Dark Circles?

Dehydration causes dark circles. Drinking water can help replenish this loss and also helps in flushing out the toxins from your body.

Which Vitamins Reduce Dark Circles?

Vitamin K, A, C and E help reduce dark circles. Vitamin K helps prevent blood coagulation and improves blood circulation. Vitamin C and E are antioxidants [12] that fight free radicals and increase collagen production. Vitamin A helps in tissue repair around the eyes.

Wrapping Up

Dark circles are never a reason for panic. With the right treatments and self care, they go away over time. If your discoloration worsens, talk to your dermatologist to rule out any other health issues. Also remember, you need to celebrate yourself with or without the dark circles.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin

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