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What Causes Dark Circles Under Eyes and How To Fix Them

woman examining dark undereye circles

Some days, you wake up bright and shiny and ready to go. Bit of moisturizer, a swipe of mascara and you’re good to go. Others, you wipe the sleep from your eyes, shuffle into the bathroom, flip on the light and… there they are. Right there, beneath the all-important windows to your soul: dark undereye circles.

Whether you only really get dark circles due to lack of sleep (or perhaps too many cocktails!), or they’re just an unavoidable daily occurrence, dark undereye circles can make your skincare and makeup routines feel a bit pointless. On the other hand, who cares if your skin is clear and glowing and your lipstick is on point if anybody sees your dark circles?

Well. First of all, nobody worth your time spends as much time as you do thinking about your imperfections. So if you worry that people are focusing on any kind of blemish on your face, don’t! They probably aren’t. Second of all, there are many things you can do to help reduce the appearance of dark undereye circles. So if they’re eating into your self-esteem, there are steps you can take to rebuild your confidence!

But first, it’s important to understand what dark circles are and why you’re getting them to begin with so that you can decide on the treatment that will be most effective for you.

What are Dark Circles?

When you think of dark circles around your eyes, you might be picturing or thinking of bruises caused by injury. While it’s true that injuries around the sensitive area of your eyes can result in dark shadows that make even the slightest bruise look super dramatic… but we’re not talking about black eyes when we say dark circles.

Dark circles are super common, no matter your gender, but they are even more common if you’re rocking a deeper skin tone. Dark circles are exactly what they sound like — hyperpigmentation around your eyes or what’s often described as “bags” under your eyes. That’s all there is to it!

Dark circles can be tough to get rid of, though, which is why it’s good to get to the root of the problem when you’re trying to minimize them.

Common Causes of Dark Circles

There are a handful of different things that can cause dark circles. However, if you’re concerned about them, as with any problem with your complexion, we recommend speaking to a doctor or dermatologist to help narrow your scope. That said, dark circles aren’t dangerous to your health — just to your ego!


We know — this is the worst thing to be at fault for something that’s bothering you because there’s not much you can do about it. But one of the most significant factors when it comes to dark circles is simply whether you’re genetically predisposed to getting them.

If your dark circles are genetic, you may have struggled with them your whole life. Since they can be an inherited trait, it's not a bad idea to check your family's medical history. Dark circles can develop as early as childhood.

They could also start becoming more prominent as you age… or even just disappear as you get older. It’s hard to say. But if your parents or other close relatives struggle with dark circles, it’s likely you might as well.


Unfortunately, dark circles fall under the umbrella of things you’re more likely to encounter as you get older. The older you get, the less collagen your body produces. Because collagen is so vital for keeping your skin firm and healthy, this can cause several changes to your complexion.

One of which is a thinning in the skin under your eyes. As the skin under your eyes gets thinner, it becomes easier to see the blood vessels beneath the surface of your skin. Hence: dark circles.

As you age, the structure of your face also shifts slightly. Your orbital bones tend to widen, which can make your eyes look a little bit more recessed than they used to. This creates more significant shadows and, when paired with more visible blood vessels, you can see how dark circles become more prominent as we age.


If you’ve ever woken up after a late night out drinking and looked in the mirror to see the Crypt Keeper staring back, you know what we’re talking about. If you haven’t had enough water throughout the day to keep your body nice and hydrated, it can make your skin look duller than usual and even make your eyes appear a bit hollow due to the effect it has on the rest of your skin. When our bodies don't get enough water, the skin under our eyes can look sunken. This happens because of the proximity to the underlying bone under your eyes.

Making sure you’re drinking enough water is always a good idea when it comes to skin health — and your physical health overall! But if you can’t seem to shake your dark circles, try to drink plenty of water as it can be very beneficial.

Eye Strain

Eye strain is tricky because so much of daily life in 2021 requires you to look at a screen! For example, even if you don’t work on a computer, most of your social communication probably occurs over your smartphone. And at the end of the day, you likely unwind in front of an e-reader or the television. All of which put a lot of pressure on your eyes!

Staring at screens for too long can make the blood vessels that surround your eyes get a bit enlarged, which can cause the skin around your eyes to appear darker. While there isn’t much you can do about looking at screens on your phone or at work; it is possible to try to cut back a bit in your personal time.


Another common cause for dark circles is allergies! Allergies may make you think of puffy, red-rimmed eyes, so you might be wondering what we mean. But there’s a connection between your allergic reaction and dark under-eye circles!

If you have dealt with allergy symptoms from seasonal allergies like itchy eyes, sneezing, nasal congestion or general irritation, then hollows and dark circles can appear over time. Allergies can also cause shadows or bruises, referred to as allergic shiners. In addition to itching and puffiness, allergic reactions to histamines can cause blood vessels to dilate. When they’re dilated, they’re more visible beneath the skin, creating dark shadows.

Other Causes

Some other causes of dark circles include:

  • Sun exposure or sun damage
  • Lack of sleep or sleep deprivation
  • Oversleeping
  • Iron deficiency (Anemia)
  • Fatigue

How Do You Fix Your Dark Circles?

the best treatment for dark undereye circles is to treat the root cause. The easiest steps to take — and most effective if these happen to be the specific reasons you’re getting dark circles — are to make sure you’re staying hydrated and cutting back on your screen time.

Suppose your dark circles happen to coincide with periods where your allergies are awful. In that case, an antihistamine might help your blood vessels return to normal and reduce the appearance of under-eye bags.

There are, however, other causes we’ve mentioned that aren’t as easily treated. For example, you obviously can’t change your genetics or that you’re aging. But you can take steps to help reduce the look of dark circles around your eyes.

If you want to avoid procedures like laser therapy, fillers and chemical peels, there are home remedies like cold compresses and creams that can help keep dark circles away.

In addition to ensuring you’re drinking enough water, you can help improve the appearance of your skin by moisturizing regularly. Ideally, you’d moisturize your face during the day and then again before bed.

Finding the right moisturizer for your skin type can be difficult, and especially when you’re trying to improve a specific skin concern, you want to be careful that you don’t add something to your routine that does more harm than good. So take some time to find the right moisturizer for your skin type!

If your dark circles are most likely due to aging, adding a serum to your beauty regimen is a great way to help improve things. Our Hydrafirm and Brightening Serum is packed with hydrating ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid and skin resurfacing heroes like Lactic Acid. This serum will help keep your skin feel nourished and fresh.

Retinol is another excellent ingredient to look into when improving the appearance of your dark circles. Our Vitaleyez Retinol and Vitamin C Complex isn’t just a standard treatment or moisturizer. It has the vitamins you need to help get your skin back on track, as well as caffeine, which is what your tired eyes need to perk up again.

In Conclusion

Dark circles are caused by several issues that don’t have an obvious solution. This can be frustrating because although dark circles aren’t dangerous, they can get to you if you feel like you constantly have to hide them under layers of makeup you’d rather not wear. But don’t worry. If waking up with dark under-eye circles is ruining your day before it even begins, there are steps you can take to help get things off to a brighter start!

By: Tiesha Bridges Licensed Aesthetician & Customer
Service Representative