Dark circles under the eyes are often the result of a combination of several factors, such as lack of sleep, chronic stress, menstrual imbalances, pregnancy, diet, and medications. For some people, dark circles are an inherited trait. The blue circles are vascular and are more noticeable in the morning; they come from the thinning of the skin that exposes the blood vessels under the eyes. They become more common with age because the skin naturally loses collagen. The brown circle comes from skin pigmentation and these also have more to do with genetics. Dark circles are often attributed to a lack of vitamin K or lack of antioxidants in the diet.
Traditional medicine Chinese medicine often associates dark circles under the eyes with signs of kidney and adrenal imbalance. Kidney failure is a natural part of the aging process, but it is also caused by exhaustion and overwork and is made worse by a lack of rest and relaxation.
There are many possibilities for dark circles under the eyes:
- Lack of qi and blood (general fatigue and lack of rest)
- Blood stagnation (poor circulation)
- Aging. Loss of fatty tissue and thinning of the skin around the eyes are part of the aging process. These changes can make dark circles appear more defined in older adults. A tear trough is the hollow under the eyes, which can cause dark circles and is related to aging. Nutraceuticals like Osmosis Recovery can help replace much of the facial volume loss that occurs with aging.
- Anemia from iron deficiency
- Thyroid conditions
- Eye drop treatment for glaucoma, such as bimatoprost
DIY Home Treatments
You can pamper yourself with jade roller treatments, Gua Sha facial massages, and self-reflexology around the eyes, on the eyebrows, and near the sinuses. These three methods aim to increase blood flow and improve lymphatic drainage.
1: Caffeine will help constrict blood vessels, making them less visible under the thin skin beneath the eyes. Many eye creams contain caffeine for this reason.
2: Cold compresses, like caffeine, have a vasoconstrictor effect. You can use a dedicated cold pack or even a spoon left in the fridge overnight. Cold cucumber slices also work wonders. Cucumbers contain vitamin C and have a high water content that that will help to nourish and hydrate the skin, they also contain silica which is essential for healthy tissue.
3: Treat allergies. Many people with allergies will have dark circles under their eyes. Itchy eyes and scratching will damage the already delicate skin around the eyes, making the blood vessels in this area more prominent. Anti-allergy eye wipes and eye drops are available over the counter, and an acupuncturist can also help you balance your ability to respond over time with herbal treatments.
4: Protect your skin from sun damage. When you wear sunglasses, you not only protect your vision but also the skin around your eyes. Sunglasses with 100% UV protection, sometimes also labeled UV400, are recommended. We also recommend that you don’t forget to apply SPF sunscreen daily and think about applying it to the delicate skin around your eyes. Tizo Eye Renewal is my go-to product for the eyes.
5: Moisturize skin and avoid makeup. If you’re used to applying foundation or concealer, at the end of the day, use a gentle makeup remover. Or avoid makeup altogether! Many ingredients in makeup products are toxic or allergenic, and rubbing a cotton ball on the delicate skin around the eyes can make it more sensitive.
6: Sleep more and get better sleep! Avoid adrenal fatigue by getting 7-9 hours of sleep each day. Elevating your head with extra pillows may help reduce dark circles and swelling around the eyes. Being winding down about an hour before your bed time. This means turning off the TV, your phone and computer.
7: Heredity. Dark circles and bags under the eyes can be a physical trait that is inherited, which is why it seems to run in families.
Dark circles under your eyes are not dangerous but can affect your quality of life. If you’re bothered by dark circles, remember to take care of yourself, including getting enough sleep. If dark circles persist, talk to your healthcare provider about treatment options that may be right for you. I also recommend a rejuvenating and relaxing facial or an express microcurrent eye treatment. But remember, there is no surefire way to completely get rid of dark circles under your eyes.