Although dark circles under the eyes are often thought of as being associated with aging or not getting enough sleep, this is not necessarily always the case. There are many causes of dark circles. Sometimes, it is simply a matter of heredity; many people are genetically at risk of dark circles appearing under their eyes. Lack of sleep, smoking, alcohol use, allergies, certain viral infections, air pollution, rubbing the eyes, and dehydration are all factors that can cause under-eye circles, or make them worse. In fact, anything that causes the blood vessels beneath the eye to swell can cause dark circles.
Of course, there are age-related factors that may come into play: Puffy eyelids can cast dark shadows around the orbital bone, making the under-eye area appear hollowed. When combined with thinning skin from the natural loss of collagen as we age, the appearance of the bluish blood vessels beneath the eyes becomes more apparent and visible. As we age the skin around the eye area tends to get more wrinkled, further compounding the appearance of these dark circles.
In the vast majority of cases, dark circles are not a serious medical problem, but rather just an appearance one. Nobody likes to appear tired or worn-out no matter how much sleep they have had. If you are not getting enough sleep, that may be a big part of the problem. Lack of sleep usually doesn’t cause dark circles where none existed, but it does cause paleness of the rest of the skin and a hollow-eyed look that will emphasize any existing circles. The appearance of puffiness or raised bags, especially in the morning, comes from fluid collecting in the lower eyelids overnight can contribute to the appearance of dark circles.
Anything that causes the blood vessels under the eyes to become dilated and discolored can create dark circles. Nasal congestion can cause swelling and irritation of the skin surrounding the eyes and contribute to dark circles. For people with very sensitive skin, using harsh cosmetics or concealing makeup can add to the problem of dark circles. Products with a scent and those containing glycolic or salicylic acid can irritate eye tissue and cause swelling of tissues and also result in dark circles.
Serums and creams can often make a great difference in lessening the appearance of dark circles. There are many skin creams on the market that claim to reduce or prevent under-eye circles. Some are very effective, others less so. Most general moisturizers or facial creams designed to apply all over the face are ineffective for eye circles. This is because the skin around the eyes is especially delicate, and does not absorb most standard creams and lotions as well. It is also more prone to being irritated by many commercial skin products. For best results, an eye-specific product should be used for the sensitive eye area. These eye cream products should be gentle enough to avoid irritation, but powerful enough to reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles, wrinkles, and crow’s feet. The top dark circle treatments use patented peptide ingredients to reduce the appearance of dark circles and fine lines around the eyes and stimulate collagen production, without drying out the skin or requiring the use of heavy makeup to conceal.