The Skinny On Dark, Under Eye Circles
What are those dark circles under your eyes all about? And can you really make them go away with just a few lifestyle changes and the odd beauty hack here and there? Sure you can.
If bedtime for you means countless hours of tossing, turning and clock-watching until morning finally arises, you’ll be well aware of the never-ending list of body woes that come with sleepless nights. We’re talking dull hair, lifeless skin, dryness, breakouts and, well, need we go on? Actually yes, because there’s one thing missing from this list. And it’s a big one: dark, under eye circles.
Along with fine lines, wrinkles, dryness and puffiness, dark circles under the eyes are something that affects everyone at some point in their lives. But are they purely a result of lack of sleep or is there more to them that that? Here, we take a look…
What Causes Under Eye Circles?
Contrary to popular belief, the main reason for dark circles – or periorbital hyperpigmentation if you want to get real fancy – is not lack of sleep, but your genes. Yes, time to blame the parents again. Has your mom or dad got noticeably thin, translucent skin along with dark circles under their eyes? Then it’s almost guaranteed that you’re going to be plagued with the same problem. As you know, the skin around your eyes is much thinner and more delicate than the skin on the rest of your face anyway, meaning it ages quicker, becomes looser over time and shows up the underlying tissue and blood vessels more prominently. This means that if your skin is thinner than others (thanks parents), you stand very little chance of naturally keeping dark under eye circles at bay.
But your genes aren’t solely to blame. Dark circles can also be caused by more prominent blood vessels around the eyes or by puffy eyelids which causes shadows under your eyes. The aging process further thins your skin and sun damage can increase the pigment in this area which will cause dark circles to become more noticeable as you get older. Of course, missing out on your quality zzzs further exacerbates the problem due to blood and fluid retention around the eye area and your skin appearing paler from failing to properly regenerate as you sleep.
In other, more positive news, there are plenty of simple home remedies that can help manage dark circles around your eyes. Here are five of our favorites…
5 Ways To Ditch Under Eye Circles
1. Try A Cold Compress
Cold teaspoons, used teabags (chilled, of course) or slices of cucumber may sound like old wives’ tales for treating under eye circles and helping reducing puffiness, but the good news is, they work. Anything that has a cooling effect will constrict your blood vessels, while the light pressure helps drain excess fluid. Cucumber also has a high water content which boosts moisture under the eyes to help with dryness and irritation. Works like a charm, every time.
2. Get More Quality Sleep
Short nights aren't usually the primary cause of dark circles but pale skin from lack of sleep will make them much more obvious. Poor sleep also makes your eyes dry and irritated which won’t help any inflammation or swelling one little bit. Try to get your eight hours as much as possible, (Gallup data shows that Americans only average about 6.8 hours of sleep a night) and elevate your head with an extra pillow. This helps prevent excess fluids from pooling in your lower eyelids.
3. Apply An Effective Eye Treatment
Not only is the skin around your eyes thinner and more delicate than the rest of your face, but it also contains fewer sebaceous glands. This means it’s less able to keep itself moisturized, supple and healthy-looking which all adds up to a big, fat hello to premature aging. To combat dark circles – as well as puffiness and lines – invest in an effective eye treatment that contains antioxidants to protect and strengthen the skin, plus peptides to boost collagen and elastin. Both TruSkin eye treatments work on the visible signs of aging around the eyes but we particularly love Eye Gel for getting to grips with dark circles and puffiness. Just remember to use a gentle touch as you apply it so you don’t drag or rub the skin around your eyes.
4. Stay Hydrated
Like lack of sleep, dehydration isn't the main cause of dark circles, but it’s not going to help matters. Not one bit. On the other hand, drinking plenty of water helps flush toxins through your body and stops it from retaining fluid – especially under your eyes. Make sure you get your fill of H20 and herbal teas, and eat plenty of water-rich foods like watermelon, zucchini, tomatoes, citrus fruits and of course, cucumber.
5. When In Doubt, Cheat With Makeup
As with most skincare concerns, treatment and prevention are your best bet for long-term results. But you can’t beat a little cover-up job in the meantime. Dark circles are usually blue-ish in color, so to hide them properly look for a concealer that's yellow or peach toned. Apply it in an upside-down triangle shape below each eye and blend well with a soft-bristled concealer brush. Feel like you can still see those pesky shadows? Then finish with a slightly lighter concealer to really brighten and open up your eyes.
Yes, the struggle with dark, under eye circles is real. But thankfully, the solutions are just as real. Can we have a hurrah for that?
About Georgia Gould
Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.