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What Really Causes Dark Circles?


The appearance of dark circles can make a person look tired, even when they’re perfectly rested.  Find out exactly what dark circles are and what can help to remove them.

What Are Dark Circles?

Dark circles are defined as being areas of pigmentation under each eye that are round and uniform in appearance.  They affect both men and women.  Dark circles are not generally caused by fatigue or too much partying.  Dark circles can be caused by such things as:

  • Allergies
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Heredity
  • Lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol, and caffeinated drinks
  • Nasal congestion
  • Pigmentation irregularities
  • Sun exposure
  • Thinning skin and loss of fat and collagen
  • Bad circulation
  • Kidney or stomach problems
  • Stress

Lifestyle Changes for Dark Circles

Cold compresses can temporarily reduce the appearance of dark circles.  Elevating your head when you sleep can reduce puffiness.  Even though a lack of sleep doesn’t cause under eye circles, a lack of sleep can make the dark circles that you already have more obvious.

Relieve nasal congestion with a saltwater solution or saline spray.  Quit smoking and reduce the amount of alcohol and caffeine that you consume.  Protecting your eyes from the sun can also help as the pigmentation produced by tanning can make dark circles worse.

You could try using a cream that contains vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, and retinol to help treat under eye circles.  You can also try using a good concealer to hide the appearance of dark circles.  Be aware that some skin creams can be helpful for some people while doing nothing for others.

Home Remedies for Dark Circles

The following remedies may prove to be helpful:

  • Cucumbers – slices of cucumber can help to reduce the appearance of dark circles as they help to lighten the skin and have a soothing, cooling feeling.

  • Vitamin E – a little bit of vitamin E oil can help to reduce dark eye circles and puffiness.

  • Tea bags – another common remedy, a used tea bag (it doesn’t matter if it’s black, green or white tea), and apply it to the skin under the eyes when it has cooled.  Herbal tea bags are not recommended apart from chamomile, which has anti inflammatory properties that can reduce dark circles and puffiness.

Exercises for Dark Circles

Facial exercises can be great for dark circles as it improves the blood flow to the skin, making the skin more elastic and removing toxins.  You can start facial exercises at any age.  Some exercises that help include:

  • Close your eyes and relax.  Next, lift your eyebrows and hold them there for two seconds, and lower for two seconds.  Then open your eyes wide and hold for two seconds.  Repeat this series ten times.

  • Close your eyes. Keeping them closed, look down for two seconds, then look up for two seconds.  Repeat ten times.

  • With open eyes, look down, up, left and right for one second each. Repeat ten times.

Surgery for Dark Eye Circles

If you have severe dark eye circles, surgery is one possible solution.  Procedures that use lasers can rejuvenate the deeper collagen layers of the skin, making the skin smoother and thicker.  Blepharoplasty trims excess skin and tightens it. Surgery should only be considered if all else has failed.


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