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How to Get Rid of Dark Under Eye Circles

In this guide, you'll find out the reasons dark circles exist, and some tips to treat them at home.

By Helga George

As adorable as raccoons are, who wants to look like one? 

There are many reasons that you might have dark circles and possibly bags under your eyes. Some of them might be out of your control, like genetics and aging. Other reasons, like not getting enough sleep, are factors that you can do something about. Let’s get to the bottom of these mysterious dark circles, why you have them, and some steps you can take to lessen their appearance over time. 

Why You Have Dark Circles

One of the unfortunate effects of growing older is the thinning skin below your eyes, which results in the appearance of dark circles. The skin under your eyes is four times thinner than the skin on the rest of your body, which means it’s easier to see the blood vessels under the skin beneath your eyes. The appearance of those blood vessels is responsible for those stubborn undereye dark circles. 

While this is a problem that can happen to everybody, some people are more likely to get dark circles under their eyes:

  • The elderly
  • People who are genetically prone to them
  • People who are a part of certain ethnic groups

If you do not belong to one of these groups (yet), there are many reasons why you may have or develop or have dark circles. 

Sleep Deprivation

Let’s start with a common culprit–lack of sleep.

Even if you stay up just a few hours later then you should, that can be enough to cause dark circles to form. When you don’t get enough sleep, your skin becomes pale and dull. Pale skin allows the blood vessels beneath your eyes and dark tissues to show.

Lack of sleep is also responsible for fluid build-up, which results in puffy eyes. Your eyelids then cast shadows, which enhance the dark circles. 

If you are reading this and thinking, “I totally get enough sleep” you may still have problems if you sleep on your stomach. Being in this position for an extended period of time can cause fluid to drain and pool in the front of your face, leading to puffiness under your eyes. It may be worth it to research some tips to get a better night’s sleep

Eye Strain

By now we all know sitting in front of a computer all day is extremely unhealthy for many reasons, one being the strain it put on the eys. Straining your eyes can lead to the enlargement of blood vessels around your eyes. Similarly to lack of sleep, this will cause the skin around your eyes will get darker. 

Aging

Growing older is something we can not prevent and is, unfortunately, another thing that can cause dark under-eye circles. As you age the blood vessels under your eyes to become more visible and lead to dark circles under your eyes.

Allergies and Rubbing Your Eyes

Having allergies can really do a number on the area around your eyes. Allergic reactions cause your blood vessels to become more visible which, as we’ve learned, appear as dark circles. Additionally, when your eyes itch from your allergies, you are more likely to rub them and the area surrounding them 

Rubbing the skin around your eyes makes your symptoms much worse. Your skin becomes inflamed, swells, and you break blood vessels. This can lead to some serious dark circles under your eyes.

Too Much Sun

If you get too much sun, your body produces an excessive amount of melanin – the compound that turns your skin dark. If this happens around your eyes, your skin can turn dark.

Smoking

As if there aren’t enough reasons to avoid or quit smoking, causing circles under your eyes is another one.

Smoking robs your skin of nutrients, causing damage that can make bags and circles look worse. Additionally, smokers often go through nicotine withdrawal during the night, interrupting their sleep and resulting in even worse baggy eyes.

At-Home Treatments For Dark Circles Under Eyes

Now that you know why you get dark circles under your eyes, you can work on strategies to reduce the appearance of dark circles. You should know that this process can take a while.

Catch Up On Your Sleep

Sleeping seven to eight hours a night will help you to get rid of dark circles due to inadequate sleep.

The way you sleep can make a difference, too. Use an extra pillow, so your head will be higher. This can prevent your eyes from looking puffy and swollen from the fluid that had pooled under them. And don’t sleep on your stomach!

Use a Cold Compress

Using a cold compress can improve your appearance by shrinking dilated blood vessels and reducing swelling. This will help to get rid of puffiness and dark circles.

First, wrap some ice cubes in a clean washcloth. Put them over your eyes until the ice melts, and then replace the ice cubes with fresh ones.

Apply Tea Bags to Your Eyes

Tea is particularly useful to treat your eyes because it contains antioxidants and caffeine. The caffeine acts as a diuretic and will draw fluid away from your face.

Using black or green tea, soak the tea bags in hot water for five minutes, and then put them in the refrigerator for 5-20 minutes. When they are cold, put one bag over each eyelid and rest for 5 minutes or so. 

Use Cucumber Slices

While this strategy may be something you’ve only see on TV, there is evidence that putting cucumber slices over your eyes can help reduce puffiness and dark circles.

Make sure the slices are chilled and put them over your eyes. Vitamins K and C will keep reducing the inflammation there.  Cucumbers also contain a lot of an antioxidant called caffeic acid that helps to reduce inflammation.

Essential Oils

Do you ever feel like essential oils are used like cure-alls?  Well, here’s another thing they can help with. Since different kinds of plants produce different types of chemicals, various kinds of essential oils can act in different manners;

  • Rosemary – also contains caffeic acid (same as a cucumber)
  • Lavender – calming and a natural diuretic
  • Fennel – reduces bags by tightening the skin
  • Rose geranium – eliminates puffy pockets by reducing water retention

Do not apply the concentrated oils to your skin! Dilute them into witch hazel or aloe vera. The label should give instructions on how much to dilute them. 

Coconut Oil

Here is an inexpensive solution. Buy cold-pressed virgin coconut oil and make sure it’s at room temperature. Then massage it under each eye for about 30 seconds.

It may take a few weeks to work, but keeping the area under the eyes hydrated and increasing the blood flow with a light massage will help lessen their appearance over time. 

Stay Hydrated

Many people do not drink enough water, this can have countless negative effects on your body, one of them is a tendency to retain water. (What a strange coincidence, right?) Unfortunately, this can be particularly noticeable in the area around the eyes.

If you do drink enough water, it will help your skin cells to regenerate and even leave you with a glow! An easy trick to remember is the 8×8 rule-try to drink 8, 8-ounce glasses of water each day! 

Improve Your Diet

Some simple diet tips are to avoid salty foods, which cause you to retain water. Try to eat foods that have a lot of Vitamin C, which helps your body make collagen, resulting in healthy skin!

Oranges and lemons are obvious choices, but plenty of other fruits and vegetables contain a lot of Vitamin C: tomatoes, broccoli, berries, and even kale!

Consider an Iron Supplement

Anemia is common among women, and it can cause your body to break down the hemoglobin in your blood. Then your body lacks adequate oxygen, and it can look like there are dark bruises under your eyes.

Supplements are always an option, eating more beef and poultry can increase your iron as well. 

Cosmetics to the Rescue

There are some cosmetic products that can help you lose those circles – or at least hide them. Under-eye concealer is a pop Choose a cream formula that is richly pigmented. Cream formulas work better than liquids because they won’t ooze into your fine lines.

Concealers that are lighter than skin tones will be the most effective at minimizing the dark circles. Once you have used the concealer, add a bit of face powder.

However, you should be aware that if you apply too much of the wrong makeup (like greasy eye pencils), you can produce dark circles where there weren’t any before! Be careful when you remove your makeup. If you tug on eyeshadow or mascara, that can increase sagging around your eyes and make them look darker. Use warm water when you remove these cosmetics to avoid irritating your eyes. 

Hydrating Eye Cream

Don’t bother with face creams to treat the areas around your eyes. Buy an eye cream that contains hyaluronic acid or glycerin. These products will temporarily plump your skin, resulting in blood vessels that are less visible. Eye creams are also thicker than face creams, so they are more likely to stick to your eye area.

Consult a Dermatologist

If you have issues like under-eye bags, permanent puffy eyes, or sagging, seeing a dermatologist is your best bet. Injections of hyaluronic acid are widely recommended to help minimize shadows. The results of these treatments can last for three to six months – or more! However, they can be really expensive. 

We hope that this guide will help you judge what is best for treating the circles under your eyes.


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