Dark circles under your eyes are not the most appealing thing in the world. They can make you look tired and older than you actually are, and sometimes even reveal how many drinks you had last night! But, what does actually cause the appearance of dark under eye circles on your face?
The Main Causes of Dark Circles Under Eye
The most common cause of dark circles under your eyes is fatigue. Losing a few hours of sleep can definitely make a mark on your skin and make your under eye area appear darker than the rest of your face. Sometimes, though, the dark circles are not a discoloration problem, but merely shadows cast by the puffy eyelids or hollows under the eyes, which, unfortunately, develop naturally as a sign of aging.
Another common cause can be allergies. Sometimes, nasal congestion can result in the dilation of the blood vessels that usually drain from the area around the eyes which can make them darker. Also, heredity plays a big part, as dark under eye circles can appear in early childhood as an inherent trait. In this case, there is no way of knowing what will happen in the future as some children will simply outgrow the dark under eye circles, while some will not.
Stress is another big cause as it can put a strain on your whole body, especially the delicate skin under the eyes. People with eczema will also sometimes experience the discoloration under the eyes, and people with iron deficiency will most probably have them, as iron deficiency can prevent the blood from carrying enough oxygen to the area around the eyes.
Completely opposite from sleep deprivation, oversleeping, can also be a big cause for dark under eye circles. Make sure not to sleep too long as you can end up feeling worse than when you sleep too little. Moderation is key when it comes to daily habits.
Breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend can not only cause heartache but also leave you with those pesky dark circles under your eyes! Crying is another factor for this occurrence, so make sure you are happy and healthy and you won’t experience this issue.
Smoking, excessive drinking, too much coffee or cocaine and amphetamines will all result in the appearance of dark circles as they also lead to difficulties when it comes to sleep, which, as we know, is one of the main causes of dark circles.
Sometimes, excessive exposure to the sun can lead to discoloration as the sun promotes the production of melanin. Of course, abnormalities when it comes to skin pigmentation are also a cause, as well as fluid retention which may happen during pregnancy or weight gain.
A very big part of the overall look of your skin, as well as the under eye area, is aging. As we get older, our bodies lose some of the collagen and fat which surrounds the eyes. Losing this precious fat, in combination with the natural thinning of the skin, the dark under-eye circles form and become more prominent over time.
It is worth mentioning that mononucleosis can be a big factor as well as it can make the eyes seem swollen and puffy. This happens because of the fatigue you feel when you are suffering from mononucleosis, and also partly because the illness can cause the yellowing of the eyes and the surrounding skin, also known as jaundice.
A good diet can definitely prevent the discoloration under the eyes. Avoiding too much salt which causes fluid retention can make your area under eye circles look less prominent, and also, in some cases, eliminate them altogether.
Last but not least, a bacterial infection of the eyelid called periorbital cellulitis is also a cause of dark under eye circles. Luckily, it is easily treated with antibiotics, and not dangerous at all.
Two Main Types
There are two main types of dark under eye circles: blue and brown. Each of them has a cause and an effective treatment.
Blue circles are caused by oxygenated blood packed under the skin surrounding the eyes. Since this skin is so thin to the point of being almost transparent, blood is easily shown through it. This is, of course, most prominent in the morning, as the fluids tend to accumulate and veins tend to expand when we spend a lot of time in a horizontal position. As we get older, the blue circles can get worse because of the loss of fat. They can be treated with topical creams with ingredients such as caffeine that can give the skin that temporary boost. Hyaluronic acid and retinoic acid work as well.
Brown circles, on the other hand, appear because of hyperpigmentation, which can happen due to rubbing the eyes, excessive sun exposure, or simply genetics. Most commonly Asian and African American skin tones tend to develop the brown circles. The best way to tackle them is to use a serum infused with a skin brightener such as citrus or soy. You should avoid hydroquinone as dermatologists say that it is too heavy for the are around the eyes. Of course, you can always opt for a professionally done TCS (trichloroacetic acid) chemical peels, or laser treatments to tackle the brown under eye circles.
The Best Thing to Do to Prevent Them
You will thank yourself in a few years. No, seriously. The number one good thing you can do for your skin is to always wear sunscreen. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of July or the end of October, you should always, always, always put on a good sunscreen. It will help with keeping the dark circles at bay and prevent them from returning after one of the professional treatments. Additionally, sun protection will make your skin look healthy and youthful overall, not only under the eyes.