What Causes Dark Circles Under the Eyes and How Can You Treat Them?


Dark circles under your eyes can make you look older than you’d like and more tired than you feel. What causes dark circles? And what can you do to make them disappear?

What Causes Dark Circles Under the Eyes?

Dark circles under your eyes are the result of blood vessels that have become more visible. That can happen when the skin and fat layer beneath your eyes thin or when the blood vessels in the area become enlarged. Those changes can occur for a variety of reasons. Understanding what is causing the effect can be the key to treating the problem.

The most common causes of dark circles under the eyes are:

  • Lack of sleep causes your skin to become pale, which makes the dark vessels under your skin more visible, especially in the areas below your eyes. That’s why we associate dark circles with sleep deprivation and exhaustion.
  • When you don’t drink enough water during the day, your skin can become pale and dull, much as it does when you don’t get enough sleep. The effect is to make the skin under your eyes look dark and sunken.
  • Allergies. Allergic reactions, including hay fever, can cause the blood vessels under your skin to dilate and become more visible, a change that may be more noticeable under the eyes. Allergies can also prompt you to rub your eyes, making dark circles even more prominent by causing swelling and broken blood vessels.
  • As you age, your skin becomes thinner and less resilient. The fat beneath the surface of your facial skin also thins and can shift downward with age. Thinner skin and less fat under your eyes make the underlying reddish-blue blood vessels more visible. Your eyelids may also sag and become puffy with age, casting shadows below your eyes that can accentuate dark circles.
  • A tendency to have dark circles under your eyes can be an inherited trait, passed down within a family.
  • Pigmentation irregularities. Facial skin can develop areas of darker coloration due to pigmentation irregularities. These may be due to over-production of melanin in the skin or to constricted blood vessels

Self-Care Remedies

Dark circles caused by fatigue, dehydration, or allergies are usually a temporary problem and can be addressed with healthy self-care. Try these simple remedies:

  • Adopt healthy sleep habits
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Keep allergies under control
  • Apply a cold compress under your eyes to shrink dilated blood vessels
  • Use moisturizer regularly, preferably one with antioxidants to slow the thinning of the skin below your eyes

Other popular home remedies for dark circles include applying cold tea bags or cucumber slices under the eyes. Tea contains antioxidants, so may have therapeutic value. Cucumbers also contain the potent antioxidant – vitamin C.

Cosmetic Treatments

If you have dark circles under your eyes that don’t respond to basic self-care measures or have grown more visible as you age, you may want to consider medical cosmetic treatment.

  • Dermal fillers can be injected below your eyes to add volume and make dark blood vessels less visible.
  • Chemical peels can be used to lighten skin under the eyes that appears darker due to irregular pigmentation.
  • Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy can work to eliminate dark circles under the eyes in two ways. It closes off capillaries and small blood vessels that are visible through the skin, correcting one of the most common causes of dark circles. It can also be used to treat areas of hypehttps://silkamedicalspa.com/ipl-vascular/rpigmented skin, lightening these spots to create a more even skin tone.
  • Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, can correct dark circles and puffiness caused by accumulations of fat or sagging skin around the eyes. The procedure lifts upper or lower eyelids that are drooping and removes or repositions fat to produce a younger, more alert look. If the dark circles are due to a loss of facial fat below the eyes, the surgery can include the transfer of fat to the area from elsewhere on your face or body.

Learn More About Facial Treatments in Los Angeles

Dr. Stephen Bresnick in Encino, CA, is one of the most sought-after and extensively trained plastic surgeons in the Los Angeles area; he has special expertise in facial surgery. He is known for his compassionate approach and superior artistry. The Silk Medical Spa, which he oversees, provides a full range of non-surgical facial treatments. Call us at (818) 981-3333 or contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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