Dark circles under the eyes are common. These are usually observed among both men and women. Dark circles are usually accompanied by sagging of skin under your eyes, making them look baggy. They are mostly attributed to lack of sleep, stress, and fatigue.
As you grow older, your skin loses its natural thickness and collagen. This can make the appearance of blood vessels underneath your skin more prominent. As a result, this area can look darker than usual. Other conditions, such as swelling near your eyes or fluid imbalance around the lower eyelids, can make your skin look darker. A black eye or injury to the area can cause the entire eye to look darker.
In this article, we have listed methods you can use to reduce the appearance of dark circles under your eyes.
Table Of Contents
What Causes Dark Circles Under The Eyes?
- Fatigue: Fatigue can occur as a consequence of sleep deprivation, physical and mental exertion, or even oversleeping. All of these can cause dark circles under your eyes. Deprivation of sleep can cause your eyes to look puffy and make the skin look pale over time. This can make the dark circles more apparent. Dark circles may be shadows of puffy eyelids.
- Age: In most cases, as you become older, dark circles appear as a result of excessive pigmentation. When you grow old, the skin around your eyes can become thinner and lose collagen. This, in turn, increases the visibility of the dark blood vessels underneath your skin.
- Straining Your Eyes: Strain to your eyes due to excessive use of computers, phones, television, etc. can lead to an enlargement in the blood vessels around your eyes, thereby causing dark circles.
- Allergies: An allergic reaction to harmful bacteria makes your body release histamines that can lead to the dilation of blood vessels. This increases their visibility on your skin, making the area around your eyes look darker than usual.
- Dehydration: Inadequate hydration can make your skin look pale and dull. Your eyes can have a sunken appearance, making the skin in the surrounding area look darker.
- Exposure To The Sun: Your skin can overproduce melanin on exposure to the sun for long periods. This may lead to pigmentation in the skin around your eyes.
- History Of Dark Circles: A family history of dark circles might indicate that you can also have them later in life. Underlying conditions, such as thyroid disease, can also cause dark circles.
Symptoms Of Dark Circles
- Gradual appearance of a dark patch under your eyes
- Tiredness arising from sleeplessness
- Stress and weakness
- The area under the lower eyelid looks puffy, and eye bags begin to form.
- Cyanosis: Sometimes, your body is incapable of transporting oxygen-rich blood to various parts of your body. This can result in a bluish tint being imparted to your skin. It can be observed in the mucous membranes, lips, around the eyes, and nails.
Natural Ways To Minimize Dark Circles Under Eyes
1. Sweet Almond Oil
What You Can Do: Dab 2-3 drops of sweet almond oil on a cotton ball. Apply it to the dark circles and massage into your skin. Leave it on overnight and wash off in the morning. Do this every night before sleeping until the dark circles fade.
2. Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel contains aloesin, a compound that inhibits tyrosinase activity (2). This can help in preventing excessive pigmentation on your skin. It can also hydrate the skin in the surrounding area and make it supple.
What You Can Do: Take a teaspoon of aloe vera gel and massage it into the affected area. Leave it on overnight and wash it off in the morning. You can follow this every night until the dark circles fade.
What You Can Do: You will need one cucumber and a teaspoon of aloe vera gel. Blend the ingredients to make a thick paste. Apply this paste to the affected areas and leave it on for 15 minutes. Wash off with plain water. You can apply this paste once every day.
Tomatoes are rich in phytochemicals like lycopene and beta-carotene that mitigate oxidative damage to skin tissues and reduce erythema (redness) of skin (4), (5). This can help get rid of the dark circles that develop under the eyes.
What You Can Do: Make a paste by blending a tomato and lemon juice. Apply this around your eyes and leave it on for 20 minutes. Rinse it off thoroughly. Do this once or twice a week.
Note: Lemon juice can cause a stinging sensation on your skin, so you must do a patch test before trying this remedy.
5. Lemon Juice
Lemon is a rich source of vitamin C. Vitamin C exhibits anti-pigmentary properties and may help increase the dermal thickness under the eyes (6). This can help conceal the blood vessels that become visible due to the thinning of the skin and lighten dark circles.
What You Can Do: Extract the juice of fresh lemon. Dab a cotton ball in this juice and apply it to the dark circles. Leave it on for 15 minutes and wash off. Repeat this remedy twice a week for 3-4 weeks.
Note: Lemon juice can cause a stinging sensation on your skin, so do a patch test before trying this remedy. Also, make sure you apply sunscreen before stepping out in the sun as lemon juice can make your skin photosensitive.
6. Rosehip Oil
What You Can Do: Take a few drops of rosehip oil. Dilute it with coconut oil and apply it to the dark circles with a cotton pad. Leave it on overnight and wash it off from your skin in the morning. Repeat this remedy every night until the dark circles fade away.
7. Licorice Extract
Licorice extracts contain glabridin, which inhibits melanin synthesis (7). This effect can help in reducing the appearance of dark circles.
What You Can Do: Take a few drops of licorice extract and mix well with a vitamin K capsule until you get a smooth paste. Apply this paste on your dark circles and leave it on for 10 minutes. Wash it thoroughly. You can apply this paste thrice a week.
What You Can Do: Add a teaspoon of lemon juice to two teaspoons of yogurt. Mix well, apply this paste to the dark circles, and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. Wash it off. You can do this at least twice a week.
Note: Lemon can irritate some skin types. Make sure to carry out a patch test before trying out this remedy.
What You Can Do: Extract about 1-2 tablespoons of potato juice in a bowl. Apply the juice on the dark circles and leave it on until it dries. Rinse off with water. Do this at least twice a week.
Bioactive compounds, like carotenoids and riboflavin, promote the anti-tyrosinase activity of saffron (10). These compounds may help prevent excessive pigmentation of the skin and reduce the appearance of dark circles.
What You Can Do: Take 3-4 strands of saffron and soak them in a quarter cup of milk for about 2 hours. Strain the milk and apply it on the skin surrounding your eyes. You can wash it off in about 10 minutes.
Honey contains polyphenols that inhibit tyrosinase activity (11). This can help reduce excessive pigmentation and fade dark circles.
What You Can Do: Mix a teaspoon of lemon juice with a tablespoon of honey. Apply this mixture to the skin surrounding your eyes and leave for about 10-15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with water. Repeat this once a day until the dark circles fade.
12. Green Tea Bags
What You Can Do: Take two green tea bags and soak them in water. Refrigerate for a short while and place them on your eyes. Wash your face after 10-15 minutes. You can repeat daily until the dark circles fade away.
13. Grapeseed Oil
What You Can Do: Take 2-3 drops of grapeseed oil and gently massage it into the skin surrounding your lower eyelids. Leave it on overnight and wash off the next morning. You can repeat this every night for a few weeks.
Medical Treatment Options For Dark Circles
- Chemical Peels: Chemical peels can help eliminate dark circles by modulating the melanin content in the skin surface (14).
- Laser Therapy: Laser therapy can help lighten dark circles by targeting the pigmentation around your eyes and also promoting collagen formation (15).
- Blepharopigmentation: The pigment is injected into the areas where the skin is thinning or pigmented (16). This procedure might lead to complications like pigmentation and resultant inflammation in the area around the surgical area.
These methods are invasive and need medical intervention. You must also keep in mind that you will require ample time for recovery from these procedures.
When To See A Doctor
Typically, dark circles occur due to stress or insomnia. They can vanish over time if you rectify your lifestyle and get adequate rest. However, if the dark circles do not go away with time or if there is a swelling under one eye, you must get it checked by your doctor.
Prevention Tips For Dark Circles
- Get adequate rest if you indulge in high-intensity workouts or activity.
- Ensure that you get at least 7 hours of sleep every day.
- Staying hydrated can ensure that your skin retains the moisture it needs, which keeps it supple.
- Supplementing your diet with nutritionally rich foods can increase collagen synthesis and repair the skin around your eyes and also eliminate pigmentation.
Dark circles are usually temporary and not a cause of concern. The home remedies and medical treatments listed in this article can help in reducing the appearance of dark circles. Make sure to consult your doctor, who will help you choose the appropriate treatment for your condition.
Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions
Are dark circles permanent?
Dark circles are not permanent. You can choose from a variety of medical and natural methods to get rid of them.
Does sleep help reduce dark circles?
Sleep can help you get rid of fatigue and tiredness. This, in turn, reduces the appearance of dark circles and puffiness of eyes.
Which vitamins should you take to eliminate dark circles?
Vitamin K can help get rid of dark circles as it can help with blood circulation and coagulation. Vitamin A can also help as it can get rid of pigmentation.
What foods can you eat to eliminate dark circles?
Consumption of foods like green leafy vegetables, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc. can help eliminate dark circles as they are rich in vitamin K.
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- Oligomeric proanthocyanidins from grape seeds effectively inhibit ultraviolet-induced melanogenesis of human melanocytes in vitro. International Journal of Molecular Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Chemical peeling with trichloroacetic acid and lactic acid for infraorbital dark circles. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Infraorbital Dark Circles: A Review of the Pathogenesis, Evaluation, and Treatment, Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Inadvertent pigmentation of the limbus during cosmetic blepharopigmentation. Cornea, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
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