In most cases, the dark circles under the eyes are blood vessels that can be seen through the skin. The skin around the eyelids (peri-orbital skin) is the thinnest skin in the body. Like varicose veins, dark circles under the eyes are usually an inherited trait.
When blood passes through the large veins close to the surface of the skin, it can produce a bluish tint. The more transparent the skin—also an inherited trait—the darker the circles appear. In people with a deep-set bone structure, shadowing can also contribute to the dark color under the eyes.
- Allergies, asthma, and eczema Any condition that causes the eyes to itch can contribute to darker circles due to rubbing or scratching the skin around them. Hay fever sufferers in particular will notice under-eye “smudges” during the height of the allergy season. Some food allergies can also cause the area under the eyes to appear darker.
- Medications Any medications that cause blood vessels to dilate can cause circles under the eyes to darken. Because the skin under the eyes is very delicate, any increased blood flow shows through the skin.
- Anemia The lack of nutrients in the diet, or the lack of a balanced diet, can contribute to the discoloration of the area under the eyes. It is believed that a lack of mineral iron can cause dark circles as well. Iron deficiency is the most common type of anemia and this condition is a sign that not enough oxygen is getting to the body tissues.
- Fatigue A lack of sleep or excessive tiredness can cause paleness of the skin, allowing the blood underneath the skin to become more visible and appear bluer or darker.
- Liver Problems Dark circles under eyes can be symptom of liver disease but normally with liver problems you will also experience yellowing in the eyes and the skin.
- Age Dark circles are likely to become more noticeable and permanent with age. This is because as people get older, their skin loses collagen. becoming thinner and more translucent. Circles may also gradually begin to appear darker in one eye than the other as a result of some habitual facial expressions, such as an uneven smile.
- Peri-Orbital Hyperpigmentation Periorbital hyperpigmentation is the official name for when there is more melanin produced around the eyes than is usual, giving them a darker color and is characterized by dark circles around the eyes. It’s common and often genetic and frequently found in individuals with dark pigmentation or Mediterranean ancestry. Atopic patients may also exhibit periorbital pigmentation (allergic shiners), and treatment is ineffective.
Make-up is a temporary way to change the coloration of any exposed skin. Some dermatologists may recommend a hydroquinone solution often mixed in an oil free moisturizer that acts like a skin bleach. The most effective home remedy for dark circles is also the most cliche. Thin slices of cucumber applied to your eyes not only helps to lighten the skin, but also soothes and cools the eyes.
Personally, I think diet, stress, sleep and how you take care of your skin can improve dark circles. Keep in mind if that if the tissue around the eyes are the thinnest on your body then you should remember to treat your eyes with delicate care. Applying eye creams should be with finger going inward circles vs. outward pulling on the skin which could lead to wrinkling and crows feet.
I also believe in L-retinol (vitamin a) in a lower percentage formula around the eyes. It should be applied to the peri-orbital bone right underneath the eyes a couple times a week. Retinol is a great way to break up melanin bunches in the skin and in my experience – around the eyes too. (very carefully)