Dark circles. Few things can age you more than the appearance of dark, puffy circles under your eyes. The number of cosmetic products claiming to treat dark circles is a testament to how common they are, almost everyone gets them at one time or another. Still, due to genetics or age, some people are more prone to shadows; so you might be someone who has darker, larger, or more frequent dark circles. So what causes under eye circles? And how can you make them go away for good?

Dark circles are harmless, but can be a source of worry and stress

Dark circles are harmless but getting rid of them can be a stressful experience

The important thing to remember is that dark under eye circles are very common, and although they are annoying they are almost never harmful. They can usually be successfully treated at home. Some ideas to try include:

  • Lower your salt intake. Salt increases blood pressure, which can cause swelling around the eyes.
  • Raise your head at night with a wedge or extra pillow. This will encourage drainage.
  • Cold compresses, such as the stereotypical cucumber slices or cold tea bags, will shrink blood vessels.
  • If you have allergies or a sinus infection, take your medication. Antihistamines will help stop the allergic response that leads to swelling and dark areas, and clearing drainage will reduce puffiness, which can cast shadows under the eye.
  • Try under eye creams containing alpha hydroxy acids or retinol. Both have been shown to increase the thickness and health of skin.
  • If you prefer a more natural approach, look for ingredients such as almond oil and arnica, which reduce inflammation; caffeine, which constricts blood vessels, and green tea or vitamins to nourish and support your skin.
  • Dark circles are not harmful, so one of the best tactics to employ is to simply cover them up. Use a concealer a shade lighter than your skin tone, especially one with red or orange undertones. This will counteract the blueish-purple circle and help you look bright and refreshed.

The skin beneath your eyes is extremely thin and delicate. And eyes are complex organs that require a lot of blood flow, so the area around your eyes is also packed with tons of tiny blood vessels. When triggers cause the blood vessels around the eye to fill with blood, the dark blueish-purple color can sometimes be seen right through the thin skin in this area. In some cases fluid even leaks from swollen vessels, causing puffiness and under eye bags.

Certain issues can make this worse. Alcohol use, allergies, and certain medications can trigger circles. Fatigue and illness cause the body to release a hormone called cortisol, which causes blood vessels to swell and can make eyes look darker. Sometimes there is a hereditary tendency towards thin, pale skin, or having blood vessels up high close to the surface. Age makes skin even thinner and can make circles worse.

If home remedies are not having enough of an effect, and your dark circles bother you, it’s worth a consultation with a dermatologist. There are more advanced treatments, such as laser therapy, filler injections, and pulsed light therapy, which can make a big difference in your appearance. As with any skin issue, if your dark circles come on very suddenly or appear under only one eye, it’s best to check in with a doctor.

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*The content on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for diagnosis, treatment or medical advice.*

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