By Kylie Nicholson
DEC 11, 2022
Dark circles can develop around and under your eyes due to lifestyle, genetics, age, or environment. You can minimize the appearance of dark circles by determining and addressing their underlying causes.
What causes dark circles under and around the eyes?
- Rubbing or scratching at the eyes: Rubbing or scratching the delicate skin under the eyes can tear the small blood vessels present in this area and cause a dark, puffy appearance.1
- Sun exposure: The UV rays from the sun can account for up to 80% of the damage that skin incurs.2 Specifically, sun exposure can cause hyperpigmentation, a condition in which the skin overproduces melanin, the substance that gives skin its color.1 The skin around the eyes is especially susceptible to environmental exposures and its effects, as the eye area contains some of the thinnest skin on the body.
- Age: With age, skin tends to lose its elasticity, making blood vessels more visible. As you age, you inevitably lose fat and collagen content, which can make your skin look less full and plump.3
- Lifestyle habits: Lack of sleep or oversleeping can cause dark circles or puffy eyelids, which can cast a dark cast over the eyes.1 Dehydration, straining the eyes with screen usage, stress, and substance use can also cause dark circles.3
- Medical conditions: Certain conditions, like allergies, anemia, and eczema can also cause dark circles.3
- Genetics: If you have family members with dark undereye circles, chances are you have them, too. A genetic trait, periorbital hyperpigmentation, can run in your family.3 Besides genetics, people with dark skin tones also tend to have dark circles.4
How Can You Treat/Care for Dark Circles?
- Changing your sleep habits: Not getting enough sleep or sleeping too much can make you have dark circles due to fatigue and lack of rest. Regulating your sleep cycle by going to bed and waking up at the same time, along with ensuring you get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, can help you look and feel more refreshed.4
- Sunscreen: Use of sunscreen regularly around the eye area will help prevent any further UV damage from being done to the skin and mitigate its associated visible effects.2
- Use more pillows: Elevating your head when sleeping can decrease the amount of fluid that pools around the eyes during sleep, minimizing dark circles.3
- Cold Compresses: A cold compress or cucumber slices placed on the eyes can reduce swelling and dilated blood vessels under the eyes, which minimizes the appearance of under eye circles.1
- Chemical peel: A light chemical peel can help reduce the appearance of undereye circles. Chemical peels should always be done under the care of a preofessional, especially when applied near or around the eyes, due to the sensitivitivity and improtance of this area.
Are Dark Under-Eye Circles Permanent?
- Fillers: injectable fillers, comprised of hyaluronic acid or platelet-rich plasma can increase volume under the skin and give a full appearance.1
- Surgery: During a blepharoplasty procedure, excess fat and skin are removed from the eyelid area, causing the skin to appear tighter, and preventing a hollow look under the eyes. Laser surgery can also tighten the skin under the eyes. By tightening the skin, hollowed areas under the eyes, known as tear troughs, will be minimized, which cast dark shadows giving the appearance of puffy eyes.1
Vitamins Good for Dark Circles Under the Eyes:
- Almond oil and Vitamin E - Applying Vitamin E and almond oil to the skin under the eyes overnight has been shown to improve the appearance of dark under eye circles.5
- Vitamin K - Application of Vitamin K and caffeine overnight can alleviate the appearance of both wrinkles and under eye circles.5
- OS-01 Peptide - OneSkin’s OS-01 peptide has been scientifically proven to increase the activity of genes associated with collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid production, which can give the skin a fuller appearance and minimize wrinkles*.
*Shown in lab-grown ex vivo human skin models.
- Dark circles can develop for several reasons, such as genetic, lifestyle, and medical factors, as well as being a natural part of the skin aging process.
- Simple remedies such as using more sunscreen or adjusting sleep habits can go a long way for alleviating dark under eye circles.
- Several vitamins and supplements can be useful for treating dark circles, such as Vitamin E or OS-01 FACE.
By Kylie Nicholson: Kylie is studying Biosystems engineering at the University of California, San Diego. She is passionate about scientific writing and women's health research.