What Causes Dark Circles Under Eyes?
A common complaint that many plastic surgeons and dermatologists hear is how to get rid of bags or dark circles under the eyes. Also known as periorbital dark circles, these dark blemishes can occur for a number of reasons. The most common causes are the following:Allergies
Dark circles can appear under the eyes as a result of frequent rubbing or scratching. This commonly occurs in individuals who suffer from seasonal allergies or as a result of certain food allergies.Fatigue
A lack of sleep can often result in the appearance of dark circles around the eyes, since fatigue results in a pale skin tone which accentuates the bluish appearance of blood vessels.Age
Dark circles can appear as a result of shadows that are cast by hollow areas under our eyes. These hollow areas form as a normal part of aging since our skin begins to lose collagen as we get older, resulting in thinner and more translucent skin. To make matters worse, the skin area under the eyes usually contains some of the thinnest skin on our bodies to begin with. In fact, under the eye skin is usually about 0.5 millimeters thick compared to 2mm thickness on other parts of the body.Heredity
This condition usually runs in families, since the appearance of dark circles can be influenced by the bone structure around the eyes. The translucency of our skin is also a trait that is often inherited, and the more translucent the skin is, the higher the chance that dark circles will appear. This is due to the fact that dark circles are usually the result of blood vessels that appear close to the surface of skin, producing a bluish tint. Additionally, individuals with darker skin tones are usually more prone to this condition.Medications
Dark circles are usually the result of the bluish tint associated with blood vessels under the eyes. Therefore, any medication that increases blood flow or causes blood vessels to dilate can increase the appearance of circles under the eyes.Anemia
Anemia occurs when the body isn't producing enough red blood cells or hemoglobin. Hemoglobin binds oxygen and helps provide oxygen to the cells in our body to help them function normally. Dark circles can usually be a sign of anemia caused by an iron deficiency, since iron helps our bodies produce hemoglobin. Without hemoglobin, our skin tone becomes pale, which leads to the veins under our eyes to become more visible. An iron deficiency is usually caused by eating an unbalanced diet or a diet lacking in essential nutrients. An iron deficiency can also occur naturally during pregnancy or menstruation, which is why iron supplements are important in those circumstances.Liver Problems
A more serious cause of dark circles is liver disease, which will usually also be accompanied by mood changes, concentration or memory problems, and nausea. If you suspect liver disease as the reason for your dark circles, consult your doctor as soon as possible for a medical diagnosis.
The good news is that, in most situations, there are a number of simple home remedies that can be used to help treat this common skin condition.
Home Remedies and Natural Treatments for Dark Circles
Since dark circles under the eyes are often caused by dilated blood vessels, a cold compress can help shrink these blood vessels and reduce the dark appearance. Therefore a very effective home remedy is the following:
- Soak a washcloth in cold water.
- Lie down in a comfortable position and close your eyes.
- Place the cold washcloth over both eyes for 15 minutes.
- If the washcloth becomes warm before 15 minutes is up, soak it in cold water again and put it back over your eyes.
- Repeat this 3 times per day.
Cold Cucumber Compress
Cucumbers are a very popular remedy for getting rid of dark circles under the eyes. Cucumbers are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and a number of antioxidants that can help reduce puffy bags under the eyes as well as any skin discoloration. The cool temperature of a cucumber also helps shrink dilated blood vessels. Here is how to use this simple remedy:
- Chill a cucumber in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Cut two round slices of the cucumber, with each slice being approximately one-quarter inch thick.
- Lie down, close your eyes, and place a slice over each eye for 10 minutes.
- Repeat this 3 times per day.
An alternative remedy is to squeeze the juice out of a few slices of cucumber into a small bowl, and mix in half a teaspoon of lemon juice. You can then apply this mixture to the dark circles using a cotton ball, and leave the juice on the skin for 15 minutes. The lemon juice acts as a natural skin bleaching agent while the cucumber contributes antioxidants, both of which will help reduce the dark appearance under the eyes.
Another variation of a cold compress for dark circles is to use a cold raw potato. A potato is rich in antioxidants while also acting as a natural bleaching agent for the skin around your eyes. Potatoes also have the added benefit that they retain a cold temperature for a significant amount of time. To make use of this potato remedy, place a potato in the freezer for 1 hour. After an hour, remove it from the freezer and cut two thick slices. Lie down and place a slice over each eye for 15 minutes. Repeat this up to 3 times per day.
Avocados are rich in Vitamin E, K, and B12 as well as essential fatty acids, which can help increase the elasticity in our skin while also increasing moisture. If you have dark circles that are the result of dehydration, the following avocado remedy can help reduce puffy bags under the eyes while also increasing blood circulation:
- Cut two slices of avocado.
- Lie down and place a piece of avocado under each eye.
- Leave the avocado on for 15 minutes.
- Repeat this twice per day.
Turmeric, Tomato, and Lemon
Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory, which can help reduce dark circles and bags under the eyes. Tomatoes are rich in Vitamins A and C, as well as potassium, calcium, iron, and sulfur. Lemon juice has natural bleaching properties. By combining these three ingredients together, we can create a potent natural remedy for dark circles. Here are the steps that can be followed:
- Blend or crush 1 tomato to extract the juice and pour the juice into a bowl or cup.
- Add half a teaspoon of lemon juice and a pinch of turmeric powder into the tomato juice.
- Mix the ingredients together into a paste.
- Apply the paste under the eyes to cover the dark circles.
- Leave the paste on for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, rinse the paste off with cool water.
- Repeat this once per day.
Witch Hazel is a natural remedy that has been used by Chinese, Japanese, and Native American cultures for centuries. In particular, witch hazel has often been used for treating skin conditions, and its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties make it suitable for constricting blood vessels which makes it an effective natural treatment for the dark circles that appear under our eyes. An effective remedy is the following:
- Soak 2 cotton pads with Witch Hazel extract.
- Lie down and place a cotton pad over each eye for 8 minutes.
- Repeat this once in the morning and once at night.
Chamomile is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, so it is not surprising that it can be used to treat dark circles. The antioxidants help rejuvenate the skin, while the anti-inflammatory helps soothe tired eyes. It also has some natural bleaching properties to help lighten the skin. Here is an easy way to use chamomile to treat dark circles under your eyes:
- Purchase some chamomile tea bags (they can be found in many grocery stores or natural health stores).
- Place 2 tea bags in a cup, and pour hot water over them.
- Let the tea bags steep for 10 minutes.
- Remove the tea bags and place them in a bowl to let them cool down. You can also place them in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process.
- While they cool, you can drink the tea if you prefer (but this is not required).
- Once the tea bags are cold, lie down in a comfortable place, close your eyes, and place a tea bag over each eye.
- Leave the tea bags over the eyes for 15 minutes.
- Repeat this once per day.
One of the easiest ways to get rid of dark circles is to make a few simple lifestyle changes. Some of the leading causes of this condition include not getting enough sleep, eating an unhealthy diet, and having a deficiency of essential nutrients including calcium, iron, and Vitamins A, E, K, and B12. Here are a few simple thing that you can do to reduce the appearance of dark circles:
- Drink lots of water throughout the day.
- Reduce the amount of salty foods in your diet.
- Add more green leafy vegetables to your diet including spinach, kale, and broccoli.
- Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
- Try to get at least 30-45 minutes of exercise each day.