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What Causes Dark Circles Under Your Eyes?

What is your face saying about you? You may have heard the phrase “your face says it all” but have you ever really thought about it? So, what about puffy, dark circles under the eyes? It signals to people that you are tired from lack of sleep or sleep deprivation, or conversely, over sleeping; you might have over indulged a bit too much the night before; or, the one no one likes to hear, you are starting to show signs of premature aging.

Whatever the case may be for your eyes and their accompanying puffy, dark circles, there are things you can do to combat this issue without taking a trip to the dermatologist or plastic surgeon’s office to invest in chemical peels, laser treatments or expensive fillers. 

Read on for a breakdown of what dark circles are, why you may get them, and what you can do to improve the look of your under eye skin. 

What Are Dark Circles? 

Infraorbital dark circles, periorbital hyperpigmentation, periorbital melanosis, infraorbital discoloration, or idiopathic cutaneous hyperemia of the orbital region are all terms dermatologists use to describe a problem that’s common among women. 

The problem we all know way too much about is dark circles under the eyes. In layman terms it is basically the appearance of brown or black pigmented areas of skin surrounding the eyelids that can make you appear tired and stressed. 

There are a number of reasons why you may experience this discoloration of skin under the eye like lifestyle, environmental, and genetic or hereditary factors (thanks mom and dad), but it is important to pinpoint what's causing your particular case of dark circles under the eyes in order to come up with the best treatment options. For our purposes, we are going to explore some common causes of dark circles.

What Causes Dark Circles? 

Not Your Favorite Pair of Genes

Periorbital hyperpigmentation has long been linked to a person's genetics, which may mean if your mom and dad have dark circles, it is likely that you and your siblings will have them too. These types of dark circles usually start in childhood, but unfortunately worsen as you age. Stress can definitely make these dark circles worse even if they are hereditary in nature, so it’s important to maintain a healthy sleep pattern and lifestyle. 

Get More Sleep

It might sound obvious but lack of sleep and fatigue are one of the main causes for puffy, discolored eye bags. This is due to the fact that not getting enough restful sleep at night can actually make your skin appear pale, which in turn makes the dark tissues and blood vessels underneath your eyes more visible. You hear it all the time, but truly getting between seven and eight hours of “restful” sleep at night is so important for your health on the inside as well as the outside. 

Ah-choo!

Yes, you may have guessed it that allergies can be a leading factor in puffy dark circles under your eyes. When your body encounters a hypersensitivity or has an allergic reaction, it naturally releases histamine as a first line of defense against the foreign bacteria. Histamines can cause your blood vessels and capillaries to enlarge and in turn become more visible under the thin skin surrounding your eye. The skin under the eyelid is one of the thinnest parts of the body and provides little veil for the underlying blood and vessels.

Too Much Screen Time

Whether you're watching too much netflix, or staring at too many Excel files at work, eye strain is a major factor in dark circles under the eyes. Again, straining your eyes for long periods of time during the day and night can result in the enlargements of the blood vessels, which in turn causes the skin to look dark and discolored.  

Lack of H2O

bubbles going upwards on a body of water

It affects everything, and we know it, but often still won’t do it -- we have to drink plenty of water to keep our bodies hydrated during the day. When your body is not getting enough water your skin will appear subdued and your eyes will appear concave. It is important to stay hydrated so your skin will appear supple and plump, especially the thin skin surrounding the eye area.

Cut Back on UVs

If you bathe in the sun, or simply don’t incorporate an SPF into your morning skin care routine, you are probably experiencing dark circles. When you get too much sun, your body overproduces melanin, which is what gives your skin its tan color. This in turn can produce excess pigment under your eyes. 

The Joy of Aging

Yes, you guessed it, with each year that passes, we unfortunately begin to show new signs of maturation that can have a huge effect on our skin and overall appearance. As mentioned, the under eye skin is some of the thinnest skin found on the body. Sadly, as we age, that already thin skin begins to become even thinner. We also start to simultaneously lose collagen and fat in our face, which all combine to produce dark-discolored areas of skin under the eyes.   

Solutions for Dark Circles

So, now that you know the common causes of dark circles under the eyes it’s time to learn about the solutions. Yes, there are expensive quick fixes like chemical peels, spot laser treatments, hyaluronic acid fillers and facial fat injections that you can do to quickly eradicate the problem. 

But, consider going a different route first by trying some alternative, more natural, less expensive options. 

The Easiest Things To Do To Reduce Discoloration:

  • Try and lower your stress-level
  • Get adequate restful and undisturbed sleep at night
  • Drink lots of water to keep your skin hydrated
  • Don’t drink alcohol for a few hours before you go to bed
  • Apply an SPF to your face everyday, incorporate it into your morning skincare routine, and limit overall sun exposure  
  • Take an antihistamine at night, like Zyrtec, if you have allergy induced dark circles
  • Elevate your head when you sleep at night to reduce the build up of fluid under your eyes

Topical Treatments 

Retinoids 

The best ingredient to look for in skin care products to help replenish dark circles caused by thin skin are called retinoids. Retinoids are derived from Vitamin A, and are a super compound that can help to rejuvenate and revive the skin to a more elastic, youthful appearance. Retinols found in products like goPure’s Retinol Facial Cream, Firm and Lift Serum, and Retinol Serum  can volumize and plump the skin under your eye while brightening dark spots at the same time. Retinols also provide a protective barrier from environmental stressors. 

Vitamin C

sliced orange fruit on white surface

Vitamin C is a superior antioxidant that also promotes brightening and can conceal discoloration of the skin. When used in products such as our Vitamin C Moisturizer or Vitamin C Serum, it not only soothes and hydrates the skin, but it also protects it from environmental stressors and toxins. Our Vitamin C moisturizer also has green tea extract, which has been shown to help restore and rejuvenate skin complexion. 

Peptides

Peptides are the building blocks of healthy, youthful looking skin. Peptides are produced by our bodies naturally, but as with everything, as we age our body's production of peptides decreases. Peptides are also responsible for signaling the production of important proteins in the skin like collagen and elastin, which are both associated with firm and plump looking skin. That’s why it is important to use skin care products that include peptides like our Glyco-Peptide Anti Wrinkle Moisturizer. It not only hydrates the skin, but it also firms, tightens, and brightens your skin for a more youthful appearance. It specifically is designed to target signs of aging like dry, sagging, and thinning skin. The glycolic acid also works to even skin tone and correct areas of discoloration on the face.

Use a Natural Eye Cream

The skin under the eye is thin and can be sensitive, so when looking for an appropriate eye cream or gel, try and find one free of parabens, toxic additives, harmful waxes, or cheap fillers that can irritate the skin. Our Youthful Glow Eye Gel meets all of that criteria! Packed with vitamins, caffeine, cucumbers, and even plant stem cells, it can brighten and depuff under eye skin, and can be applied as a primer under your foundation.

The Wrap Up 

Now you are in the know about everything concerning dark circles under the eyes. You should be able to determine what's causing your specific discoloration, and hopefully choose an adequate treatment to repair and replenish the appearance of the under eye skin. Prevention is always easier than repair, so do what you can now to have healthier skin in the future.   

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4924417/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/dark-circles-under-eyes/basics/definition/sym-20050624 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4756872/ 

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325801