What Causes Dark Circles Under The Eyes?

What Causes Dark Circles Under The Eyes?

Last Reviewed : 01/11/2021
What Causes Dark Circles Under The Eyes?

Dark circles that form under the eyes are usually a sign of fatigue. But what are these dark circles and what causes them?

What is commonly described as dark circles under the eyes are, in fact, shadows cast by puffy or swollen eyelids. There is also hyperpigmentation of the skin below the eyes giving the dark appearance. They affect both men and women but are not considered to be a medical problem.


What causes dark circles to form under the eyes?

Several factors, including normal aging, are cited as reasons for dark circles under the eyes. For that reason, they are more commonly seen in the elderly. There are also people who are genetically predisposed to the problem.

It has also been found that people with a darker skin tone are more prone to hyperpigmentation around the eyes. Here’s a summary of the common causes of dark circles under the eyes:

  • Fatigue is the most common cause of dark circles under the eyes. Sleep deprivation makes the skin look pale and dull, making the blood vessels and tissue under the eyes more prominent,
  • Age. With increasing age, skin becomes thinner as it loses fat and collagen over time. Skin also loses its elasticity with age, making the blood vessels under the skin more visible,
  • Dehydration makes skin look dull and pale, which cause the eyes to appear sunken,
  • Over-exposure to sunlight leads to hyperpigmentation around the eyes,
  • Pale skin in Anemia makes dark circles more prominent,
  • Allergies cause in itching, redness, dilated blood vessels, which result in puffy eyes that are what causes dark circles under the eyes. Rubbing and scratching eyes make it worse.
  • Stress is another common cause of these dark circles. Stress in our daily lives, when not managed properly, may lead to dark circles
  • Dermatitis, which is a condition of the skin,
  • Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
  • Hormone-induced uneven skin pigmentation,
  • Eye strain due to constant staring at digital screens


How to get rid of dark circles under the skin

Though dark circles under the eyes are not a cause of serious concern, many wish to get rid of them for cosmetic reasons. They are mostly temporary and often due to sleep deprivation and aging and can be effectively treated by home remedies and medical treatment.

Though home remedies are not scientifically proven to be effective, they are worth a try as they are not harmful and easily available at low cost. Here are some you can try:

  • Sleep for at least 6-8 hours a day,
  • Elevate your head with 2-3 pillows while you sleep. This helps reduce the accumulation of fluid under the eyes,
  • Apply sunscreen. It helps to reduce dark circles and other skin problems,
  • Apply a cold compress. It helps in constricting blood vessels under the eyes,
  • Dab used tea bags lightly on the affected area. Teabags are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Boil water with two tea bags then take them out and use directly or after freezing them.
  • Cosmetic concealers can also help hide dark circles under the eyes.

Medical treatments of dark circles include hydroquinone, tretinoin, kojic acid, azelaic acid, topical vitamin c, chemical peels, lasers, and fillers. Blepharoplasty, which is a surgical method conducted by dermatologists, can also help to get rid of dark circles.

If you notice that dark circles are only visible under one eye or progress over time, it is likely there are other causes that the ones we have discussed here. In such cases, please consult your physician for a proper diagnosis and to seek appropriate treatment.



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