What Causes Dark Eye Circles?

Dark circles under your eyes can make you feel self-conscious, especially if you’ve gotten a full night’s sleep and still get repeatedly told by that you “look so tired.” It can be frustrating to have these circles without understanding why they’re there. If this happens to you, fear not. There are many factors that can contribute to the dark circles, and many of them are treatable and fixable.

  • Allergies. A common side effect of allergies is nasal congestion, which occurs when allergens irritate your airways and cause an overproduction of mucus. Congested sinuses can dilate the blood vessels that allow blood to drain from the area around your eyes and can cause the mucus membranes in your eyes to become inflamed and give your eyes a darkened appearance.
  • Drinking alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates the body and as a result can cause your eyes to have that sunken, dark-circled appearance, or make already existing ones more obvious.
Many factors may contribute to the dark, puffiness of the under-eye.
  • Fatigue. Exhaustion leaves your skin looking pale which will make any dark circles that are under your eyes more obvious.
  • Oversleeping. When it comes to dark, puffy eye circles, oversleeping can be just as bad, if not worse, than not getting enough sleep. If your sleep cycle gets interrupted or changes, chances are that you’ll experience dark eye circles and puffiness.
  • Aging. As our bodies get older, our skin begins to get a little thinner and lose some of its collagen. This can make the blueish blood vessels under your eyes stand out more and contribute to the dark circles.
  • Over-exposure to the sun. When exposed to the sun, your body produces a skin pigment known as melatonin. Melatonin darkens your skin, so when you overexpose your eyes to the sun, they will become darker, too. To avoid this problem, wear 100% UV protection sunglasses.
  • Nicotine, caffeine, and salt. Like alcohol, nicotine and caffeine dehydrate the body and make the appearance of dark circles more noticeable. Salt, on the other hand, causes your body to retain water which can lead to puffy eyes and dark bags.
  • Wearing heavy glasses. Heavy-framed glasses weigh down the delicate skin that surrounds your eyes and can break capillaries or even bruise the area.
  • Stress. When you are experiencing stress, your blood begins to primarily flow towards your main organs and can result in a pallid, drained looking face that will make dark circles more noticeable. Stress can also trigger the capillaries around the eyes to burst under the skin and pool oxidized blood giving you dark circles.

You can easily remedy most of these under-eye maladies by making little adjustments to your life. Eat vitamin-rich foods, especially ones rich in vitamins A, C and E which combat dehydration, and cut down on alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and salt which all contribute to dark circles. Get enough sleep and, when necessary, apply cold compresses to your eyes for a quick-fix for dark eye circles.

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