Dark Under Eye Circle
Dark circles under the eyes is a common problem experienced by people with all skin types. When red blood cells are released from burst capillaries, they are broken down by enzymes. The broken down red blood cells have a dark blue-black color which makes dark circles appear more prominent.

Dark circles under the eyes can be caused by many different reasons, including:

Genetics – Those who inherit transparent skin are more likely to have dark under-eye circles. Skin around the eyes is generally very thin. Blood passing in the capillaries under the eyes is visible through the thin skin and gives the impression of dark circles.

Eczema - Also known as atopic dermatitis, it is an itchy inflammation of the skin than can affect the eyelids and the skin around the eyes, appearing as red to brownish-gray patches.

Unhealthy Lifestyle – Smoking, drinking alcohol, poor diet, fatigue and lack of sleep take a toll on the body, and can result in puffy eyes and dark circles.

Age – As we get older, our skin becomes thinner and can begin to lose fat and collagen.  This makes the skin under the eye more translucent, allowing the reddish-blue blood vessels to show through.

Allergies - can cause puffy eyes and congestion, making dark circles look worse

Poor Blood Circulation

Irregular Skin Pigmentation

Sun Exposure - can trigger the production of melanin (the pigment that gives skin its color)

Nasal Congestion - can dilate and darken the veins that run from the eyes to the nose.

Medical Conditions – high blood pressure can cause fluid retention by the blood vessels. Problems with the liver or kidney can also result in dark circles.

There are simple, inexpensive steps you can try at home that can help minimize dark circles:

  • Get sufficient rest.  Lack of sleep can make you appear pale and hollow-eyed, enhancing any existing shadows and circles.
  • Wear sunglasses and sunscreen.  Exposure to the sun results in additional pigment, which will make the circles look worse.
  • Apply a cold compress, or chilled, used teabags to closed eyes.  The cold will reduce dilated, discolored under-eye blood vessels.
  • Elevate your head with extra pillows when sleeping - this will help prevent puffiness caused when fluid pools in lower eyelids.
  • Eye treatment creams.  There are many popular cosmetic eye treatment creams on the market containing ingredients that may help reduce the appearance of circles.  These creams can contain vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, and retinol.
  • Cosmetic concealers.  Cosmetic concealers are designed to camouflage blemishes and dark circles.  Using a concealer that closely matches your skin tone, gently blend in the cosmetic under and around the eye to make the dark circle less noticeable.  Avoid cosmetics containing fragrances, salicylic acid or glycolic acid, since they can irritate the sensitive skin around the eye.   

If you are looking to treat more moderate to severe cases of under eye circles, there are more aggressive treatments offered by dermatologists and plastic surgeons:

Consult with a dermatologist to see which treatment is right for you.


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