What Causes Dark Circles Under Eyes?
There’s nothing worse than waking up feeling bright, energetic and ready to take on the day… only to look in the mirror and see that your skin isn’t necessarily feeling that same positive vibe. If you struggle with dark circles under your eyes, you know exactly how it feels to have a shadow cast over your otherwise sunny day by the shadows under your eyes.
Whether it’s about puffiness or persistent dark spots, the first step to getting your complexion back on track is understanding why you get dark circles under your eyes in the first place so you can address the problem effectively.
So let’s explore some common reasons you may experience dark under-eye circles to help you brighten the appearance of your skin — and your outlook!
1. Sleep Problems
This is the most common culprit when it comes to dark under-eye circles! A lack of sleep can wreak havoc on many areas of your life, including your skin. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can increase visible signs of aging, result in greater levels of water loss from your skin throughout the day and even impair your skin barrier’s ability to protect you. But it can also have a big hand in causing dark circles.
When you experience sleep deprivation, your skin can become pale and dull. This allows tissue and blood vessels to become more visible beneath your skin — creating the appearance of dark circles.
Additionally, certain sleep habits can lead to dark circles, too. If your pillow isn’t elevating your head correctly, this can cause fluid to build up beneath the skin of your face, resulting in the frustrating puffiness that makes you want to hide your face from photos for the rest of the day. And puffy eyes can be a cause of dark circles because of the shadows cast by puffy upper and lower eyelids!
2. Staring at Screens
We get it — it’s hard to get around the fact that so much of our lives these days revolve around screens. Whether using social media to keep in touch with friends and family, watching movies and television to unwind or sitting in front of a computer screen for your job, it takes effort to get away from staring at a screen! Unfortunately, spending too much time plugged in can lead to eye strain.
But how does eye stain affect your eye area? Prolonged exposure to screens can enlarge the blood vessels around your eyes. This causes them to be more visible beneath your skin, leading to the appearance of dark shadows.
Additionally, blue light also affects your sleep patterns — it’s why it’s so often recommended that you turn off screens around bedtime, as the blue light your phone, computer or television screens emit can mess with your circadian rhythm. This can contribute to eye bags due to lack of sleep, as we discussed in the first section!
3. Medical Conditions
There are a couple of medical conditions that can lead to dark circles. The first is simple and easy to figure out — if the same seasons or times of year that have you sneezing and sniffling all the time align with the times you inexplicably have dark circles, those hollows beneath your eyes may be due to allergies!
Anemia can also cause dark circles. If you have an iron deficiency, blood cells struggle to get as much oxygen as they should to all of your body’s tissues. This includes the delicate tissue beneath your eyes! An issue with this process can give the appearance of dark circles.
While dark circles are not always due to a health condition, if you’ve never struggled with dark circles before and they’ve appeared alongside symptoms like fatigue, cold hands and feet or shortness of breath, it’s worth a visit to your doctor rather than a dermatologist to make sure the darker skin under your eyes isn’t related to an underlying condition.
4. Getting Older
Age is another super common cause of dark circles. While it’s easy to wake up looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed no matter what you got up to the night before when you’re in your twenties, as we get older, our skin goes through changes that can affect its appearance and cause discoloration.
Your skin gets thinner as you age. You’ll also experience a loss of fat and collagen, both of which help to maintain your skin’s firmness and elasticity — key components of what give you that plump, youthful-looking complexion you didn’t even have to work for when you were a teen. These changes can have a wide range of impacts on your skin, from the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles to making the blood vessels beneath your skin more visible, leading to dark circles.
Not only that, but as your fat stores deplete and you lose that youthful baby face, it can slightly change the appearance of your face, making your orbital area appear more hollow, resulting in a “sunken” look that can cast shadows and cause infraorbital dark circles.
5. Not Drinking Enough Water
Dehydration is a common culprit for skin-related problems! It’s also important to your overall wellness, so even if something else is going on and causing your dark circles, you should ensure you’re getting enough water first and foremost.
When your skin is dehydrated, you can see it! This goes double for the sensitive skin around your eyes, which is even more responsive to dehydration. When you’re not properly hydrated, your skin can look dull and a little less firm. This can cause that frustrating “sunken” appearance we mentioned in the previous section due to how close your eyes sit to the bone.
6. Sun Damage
We’re not talking about a one-off sunburn you got when you neglected to bring sunscreen to reapply one day at the beach.
We’re talking about the kind of sun damage resulting from long-term exposure. Too much exposure to UV rays can damage your skin and instigate the production of melanin.
Melanin is the pigment that gives your skin color. So when your skin produces too much melanin, it can negatively affect your skin tone. If your dark under-eye circles persist no matter how much sleep you get or water you drink, and you’ve ruled out the need for any medical treatments, it could be due to sun damage.
Another of the most common causes of dark circles is genetics. We know this isn’t the answer you want to hear, but much like skin types are inherited, dark circles too can be hereditary. If one or both of your pare nts, or other close relatives, have dark circles, you might be genetically predisposed to having them.
This doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do about them, however!
So, What Can You Do About Dark Circles?
Now that you know what causes dark under-eye circles, let’s talk about some things you can do to help improve the appearance of your dark circles.
This is always our go-to when it comes to skin concerns! While there are other solutions out there which we’ll talk about in the next sections, ensuring that your skincare routine is addressing your specific concerns is a great way to improve the appearance of your skin overall, and keep your skin even and healthy in the long term.
To improve the appearance of dark circles, your first port of call should be an effective eye treatment! Our Vitaleyez Firm & Brighten Eye Treatment is the perfect solution to dark under-eye circles no matter what the cause is!
Powered by Retinol and a Vitamin C Complex, this eye treatment has everything you need to age like a fine bottle of wine. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can brighten the look of skin and work hard to neutralize free radical damage — this is especially useful if your dark circles are related to sun exposure or aging skin.
Retinol, likewise, is a skincare superhero. It’s a super-powered antioxidant that enhances the look of your skin’s tone and texture. It also acts as a chemical exfoliant, so it can help reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. This eye treatment also uses Alpha Arbutin, which doubles down on Retinol and Vitamin C’s hyperpigmentation erasing power.
Nourishing ingredients like Arnica round out this miracle worker, which helps to hydrate and visibly smooth the look of the sensitive skin under your eyes. But while this eye treatment provides some hydration, your moisturizer is another key part of your skincare routine if you’re trying to address dark circles.
Moisturizer and SPF
Our Complexion Protection Moisturizer with SPF 30 has everything you need to hydrate and nourish your skin while using both mineral and chemical actives to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. It may feel lightweight and breathable on your skin, but it provides a heavy-duty dose of hydration because it’s formulated with Hyaluronic Acid or Sodium Hyaluronate.
Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant, which means it can attract water and bind it to your skin, delivering the smoothest, most quenched skin you’ve ever had. Moisturizing Squalane is also in this mix, along with hydration-boosting Niacinamide. Keeping the skin around your eyes hydrated is key to maintaining that firm, full appearance that can help you avoid dark circles and hollow-looking eyes.
The built-in SPF protection is also crucial in avoiding hyperpigmentation caused by sun damage! By combining your moisturizing and sunscreen steps into one easy product, you’ll be able to ensure that after you apply our Vitaleyez Firm & Brighten Eye Treatment, you’ve locked in all that good stuff with proper hydration.
Between these two products, you’ll be able to fight and improve the look of dark circles while nourishing and protecting your skin in a way that will keep it radiant for a long time to come!
This will depend on the cause of your dark circles. Some simple lifestyle adjustments you can make, like adding extra pillows to your bed so you can be sure your body is properly aligned as you sleep and fluid doesn’t build up, resulting in dark circles. You can make sure you’re getting enough sleep and taking some time away from screens to avoid eyestrain.
But in addition to using the right skincare products, there are some simple, at-home remedies you can use to improve the appearance of dark circles. Tea bags, for instance, are a great quick fix if you don’t have anything else on hand!
Tea has antioxidants and caffeine, both of which help to get your blood flowing, which in turn can help reduce the look of enlarged blood vessels or help redistribute fluid under your skin that may be making your eyes puffy. Steep black or green tea bags in hot water for a few minutes, then stick them in the fridge until they’re nice and chilled. (You can drink the tea in the meantime!) Then, apply the chilled tea bags to your eyes for 10-20 minutes.
Although it doesn’t have the benefit of caffeine and helpful antioxidants, you can also improve the appearance of dark circles in a pinch by placing a couple of metal spoons in the freezer until they’re ice-cold. Hold the cold spoons against your under-eye area like a cold compress to help reduce inflammation and puffiness in a pinch!
There are professional treatment options out there that can address dark under-eye circles, sometimes more efficiently than topical solutions. If your dark circles are due to hyperpigmentation, laser therapy can be an option for evening the look of your skin tone.
Chemical peels can also be an effective way of treating dark spots and hyperpigmentation. However, the area around your eyes can be super sensitive, so it’s important to do your research and only seek treatment from a trusted professional!
There’s also the option of injectable fillers if your dark circles are related to fat loss and aging. There’s no shame in fillers if it’s something that will help with your confidence, but like other professional treatments, it’s crucial to do your research to ensure that you’ll be happy with the results.
Waking up feeling ready to take on the day, but not seeing that same go-get-em attitude reflected at you when you look in the mirror can be super frustrating. After all, feeling confident about the way you look can have such a positive impact on your outlook! Struggling with dark circles under your eyes can get in the way of that.
Luckily, there are so many things you can do to help improve the appearance of dark circles, and even out your skin tone so that the inner glow you’re feeling is reflected in your appearance in no time!