Dark undereye circles are rarely a cause for concern, but they’re not exactly fun to have, either. They’re most often the result of exhaustion or a lack of sleep, though there are plenty of other factors that contribute to dark undereye circles, like allergies or the natural aging process. But you don’t have to live with them if you don’t want to! Read on to discover what causes these pesky circles, how to prevent them, and how to minimize their appearance.
What Are Dark Undereye Circles?
Officially known as “idiopathic hyperchromia of the orbital region,” undereye circles are dark marks surrounding the eye area, especially under the eyes. There are two main factors that contribute to developing dark undereye circles: melanin production (the pigment that gives skin its color) and the dilation of blood vessels around the eyes, which makes them more visible.
The Main Causes of Dark Undereye Circles
While the way that dark under eye circles form is well-known, the causes leading to this condition vary and can be tough to diagnose. There are different factors that contribute to melanin production and blood vessel dilation. In most cases, a variety of them are at play when a person develops visible dark undereye circles. Below are some of the most common causes.
Lack of Sleep
Whether it's a lack of sleep or interrupted sleep, low-quality sleep prevents your body from resting, which causes blood vessels to dilate. Because skin is thinnest around your eyes, this causes bluish, dark circles to form. Not sleeping long or well enough is typically the most common cause of dark undereye circles.
Maintaining a healthy diet not only helps improve sleep quality, it also prevents skin from thinning and losing elasticity, which makes under eye blood vessels even more visible, leading to dark undereye circles.
Alcohol or Tobacco Consumption
It's no secret that alcohol can be harmful to your health, but did you know that it can also affect your skin? Alcohol dehydrates your skin and dilates the blood vessels in your face, increasing the likelihood of getting dark undereye circles. Tobacco isn’t great for your skin, either. It decreases collagen and elastin production, which thins and weakens skin in general and causes the blood vessels under your eyes to be even more visible.
Dark undereye circles can also be genetic. In other words, some people inherit them. It’s especially common for those with darker skin tones to develop undereye circles at some point. This condition is called hereditary periorbital melanosis, and while they’re hard to combat, the causes mentioned above can exacerbate their appearance. Luckily, the remedies listed below can help combat them too.
The Most Effective Treatments for Getting Rid of Undereye Dark Circles
It's common to want to minimize or conceal unwanted undereye circles. Here are a few tricks that you can use to brighten your under eye area.
Sleep Enough and Develop Good Habits
The most effective way to eliminate dark undereye circles is to stop them before they start. Hereditary dark circles are hard to treat, but even if you have a genetic predisposition to developing them, maintaining a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and getting enough rest can reduce their appearance.
There's a wide variety of creams on the market that are specifically designed to combat dark undereye circles. Any high-quality product, especially one formulated for the eye area, will improve circulation and effectively decrease the appearance of dark circles. If the cream has vitamin K, its effect will be even more notable.
Home remedies are another way to decrease the appearance of dark undereye circles. Generally these solutions aim to reduce inflammation and increase circulation to the eye area so the blood vessels are less visible. Here are a few ideas:
- Cold compress. Applying something cold to your undereye area is one of the most effective remedies for inflammation. It's a great way to reduce dark undereye circles. You can find gel masks to store in the fridge at any pharmacy or cosmetic store. This option is great, but for something more budget-friendly, you can chill two metal spoons and put them on your eyes. A chilled damp cloth works just as well, too.
- Cucumber slices. Putting cucumber slices on your eyes is cheap, easy, and completely natural. You’ve probably seen people do this in the movies and on TV, but it’s not a cliche— it’s an effective remedy! Vitamin E in the cucumber helps hydrate your skin and decrease inflammation. You can strengthen these properties by keeping the slices in the fridge before using them.
- Chamomile tea bags. Putting a chamomile tea bag on your eyes is another simple and effective trick to getting rid of dark circles. The anti-inflammatory properties in chamomile help the capillary vessels in your eyes contract and appear less visible. The tea bags must be wet in order for their properties to be activated. Try preparing a few cups of chamomile tea, and place the used bags in the fridge. When you're done with your tea, fetch the chilled bags and put them on your eyes. You’ll probably sleep better if you do this before going to bed, which will decrease your likelihood of having dark undereye circles, too.
- Almond oil. Almond oil is rich in vitamins A, B, and E, all of which are essential to maintaining a healthy complexion. Massaging two drops of almond oil onto each eyelid can help decrease inflammation and strengthen your vascular walls. Try this for a few days before bed, and you’ll be sure to notice a difference!
- Tomato and lime face mask. Tomatoes and limes contain antioxidants that can help slow down aging and premature thinning of the skin. Make a paste with tomatoes and a few drops of lime juice and apply around your eyes. Like the other remedies, make sure you chill the mask in order to strengthen its anti-inflammatory properties.
While the above remedies are great for decreasing the appearance of dark undereye circles, they can be tough to completely eliminate. Don’t worry, there are plenty of types of makeup that can help. These products aren’t just for women, either! More and more men are using cosmetics to improve their appearance and feel more confident. In fact, products designed especially for men are also available.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Conditions Can Cause Dark Undereye Circles?
Generally speaking, dark undereye circles are just an aesthetic inconvenience and shouldn’t be cause for concern. There are a few cases, however, where they can be a symptom of a medical issue. A few of the conditions that can cause dark undereye circles are:
- Iron deficiency. An iron deficiency decreases your blood's ability to deliver oxygen to your tissues. This can cause your veins to appear more blue than normal and cause dark undereye circles.
- Dermatitis. Dark undereye circles can be caused by dermatitis, or skin irritation. If it develops on your eyelids, it can also cause what’s called dermal melanocytosis, which is the accumulation of melanin in a specific area of your skin, causing it to darken.
- Allergies. Allergies can cause inflammation in the body’s soft tissue, including your eyelids.
- Thyroid problems. The two most common thyroid conditions are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Someone with hypothyroidism produces more fat than normal, which can accumulate under the eyelids and cause dark undereye circles. A symptom of hyperthyroidism is excessive skin cell regeneration, which can cause eyelids to thicken and appear darker.
What’s the Difference Between Dark Undereye Circles and Bags?
Both conditions affect the upper and lower eyelids. However, dark undereye circles are characterized by a change in skin color, while bags are just inflammation around the eyes due to fat or fluid that's accumulated under the skin.
Follow These Tips and Start Looking Younger Now!We hope this information helps you gain a better understanding of why dark undereye circles occur and how to treat them. Most times they aren’t an indicator of any health problems, but they certainly aren’t aesthetically pleasing. You can minimize their appearance by modifying your habits and using some simple home remedies. If you present other symptoms that indicate a more serious health issue, discuss it with your doctor.
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