What Causes Dark Circles Under Eyes? + 8 Ways To Get Rid Of Them For Good

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Dark Circles Under Eyes: Causes & How To Get Rid Of Them
Self

Having dark circles under eyes isn't a serious health concern, but it's also not the most flattering accessory. Who could blame you for wanting to treat and get rid of dull dark circles once and for all? 

Sleepless nights and long days can weigh heavily on us mentally and physically, producing numerous adverse effects. Dark under-eye circles make us look as tired as we feel, often aging us and ruining our natural glow.

They might arise overnight, but these pigmentation spots are hard to shake, even after a good night's rest.

RELATED: 21 Best Eye Creams For Dark Circles To Brighten Them Right Up

While there are a number of expensive medical procedures you can do to (allegedly) cure your dark circles, prodding your eyes with needles and lasers seems a little drastic, especially considering that there are plenty of simple remedies you can try at home first.

What causes dark circles? 

Some causes of dark under-eye circles include:

  • Genetic factors
  • Aging
  • Allergies
  • Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Lack of sleep
  • Chronic sinusitis (sinus inflammation)

These can be unavoidable and may require you to consult your doctor in order to reduce under-eye swelling and pigmentation issues.

But often, dark circles are caused or exacerbated by fatigue, bad sleeping habits, and poor nutrition. These effects can be easily reversed by following some simple treatments.

How can you get rid of dark circles at home?

1. Get more sleep.

Sometimes, the most obvious solutions are the most effective.

Since fatigue and lack of rest cause dark circles, getting your required 7-8 hours of sleep per night could cure your pigmentation issues.

When you’re tired, your body produces more cortisol to boost energy levels, which results in more blood flow and larger blood vessels. Since the skin under your eyes is thinner than the rest of your body, dark circles are most visible there.

2. Elevate your head.

It’s not just about the amount of sleep you get — how you sleep plays a huge role in your sleep quality and facial appearance.

Do your dark circles look worse first thing in the morning but ease after a few hours? This could be because of that one thin pillow that you sleep on.

Sleeping on multiple pillows elevates your head and encourages blood to travel away from the head and face. This prevents blood from pooling under the eyes and exacerbating dark circles.

RELATED: 20 Ways To Start Sleeping Better & Stop Feeling So Tired All The Time

3. Try a cold compress.

Dark circles typically indicate that your blood vessels have expanded. So if you want to get rid of them, all you have to do is encourage your veins to retract to their normal size.

Applying a cold compress constricts vessels and decreases blood flow to the affected area, therefore brightening the skin. 

4. Use cucumber.

Chilled cucumber is a great natural remedy for all your pigmentation problems. It works similarly to a cold compress, but with some added nutritional benefits thanks to its vitamin C and folic acid contents.

Vitamin C stimulates cell growth and wakes up the skin, while folic acid stimulates antioxidant activity and fights off toxins that are causing dark or puffy skin. Clinical studies have advocated for the role of cucumber in reducing swelling and removing toxins.

5. Apply a retinol.

Retinol/retinoid creams promote collagen production and can improve the appearance of dull-looking skin.

Lower potency retinoids can be bought over the counter in moisturizers and oils, but a doctor may choose to prescribe a more intense retinol, depending on your needs.

Other moisturizing ingredients that may soothe and ease dark circles include aloe and hyaluronic acid. Not all skin types should use retinol, so always consult your doctor before trying one out.

6. Apply almond oil.

Since high-quality almond oil contains vitamin A-derived retinol, it's another great natural alternative to medicated ointments. It also has a high level of vitamins C and E, which, when combined with retinol, is proven to reduce dark circles.  

7. Soak your eyes with tea bags and vitamin K.

In a 2015 study, a compress containing caffeine and vitamin K applied under the eye was shown to minimize the appearance of dark circles and wrinkles.

Steep caffeinated black or green tea bags in warm water to activate the tea leaves before leaving them to cool in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Then, add a vitamin K oil and leave the bags to sit on your eyes for 10 to 20 minutes before rinsing. 

8. Minimize sun exposure.

Ultraviolet radiation can worsen dark circles in some people by damaging the skin, making blood vessels more visible.

Protect your skin by wearing SPF daily and covering eyes with sunglasses. This is particularly important if you’re using a retinol to treat under-eye circles as this can make the skin more vulnerable to sun damage. 

RELATED: 10 Reasons Why You Wake Up Tired Even After A Full Night Of Sleep, According To Science

What treatments do doctors suggest for dark circles?

If your dark circles are particularly hard to treat, your doctor may recommend a more intense procedure or topical treatment to reduce them. 

1. Fillers

Depending on the shape of your eyes, dark circles may be more noticeable due to shadowing. A hyaluronic-based filler injected into the under eye area by a trained professional can add more volume and plumpness, disguising dark circles. 

2. Laser therapy

Light treatment can vaporize damaged cells, promote collagen production, and lighten darker skin tones. 

3. Chemical peels

Chemical facials can remove darker pigments from the skin and brighten skin tones.

Often, these include retinol or retinoic acid in a higher potency than what you can buy yourself. Chemical peels may also include glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or lactic acid.

4. Blepharoplasty

Fat can be removed from your lower eyelid by a plastic surgeon, oculoplastic surgeon, or dermatologic surgeon to remove the shadow cast by your eyelids. 

RELATED: Why Am I So Tired? 8 Common Causes Of Chronic Fatigue And How To Stop It (So You Can Finally Get Some Shut-Eye)

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Alice Kelly is a writer and storyteller with a passion for lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics. When she’s not creating content for YourTango, you can catch her working on creative fiction and vintage shopping.