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What Causes Dark Circles Under the Eyes?

You may recall a morning when you woke up, stretched, and took a look in the mirror, only to find the dreaded dark circles lingering under your eyes. Nearly everyone has had this problem at one time or another and some people have it chronically. There are several causes for this annoying affliction, some of which can be fixed with simple home remedies.

It’s rather surprising to learn that lack of sleep is not commonly the reason behind dark circles. In fact, ailments like allergies can make those spots look darker. Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is another common cause. This skin condition is often accompanied by itching and dryness, and can also affect the under eye area, giving it a dark appearance.

An unhealthy lifestyle can also contribute to dark under eye circles. People who smoke or drink heavily, or eat a poor diet can experience this annoying problem. When the body does not get the proper nutrition, it often comes out in appearance. Dark circles under the eyes are an indication of not getting the proper nutrients and not living a healthy lifestyle.

Too much exposure to the sun can be another reason people get dark circles under their eyes. The skin has something called melanin, which reacts to sunlight and produces pigmentation in the skin. Much like when skin gets sunburned, the skin under the eyes can also turn darker after a long day out in the sun. Keep this in mind when planning to be out in the sun for a long period of time, and apply a facial sunscreen under your eyes.

Elderly people often tend to have darker circles under their eyes. This is because as the body ages, fat and collagen become scarcer in our skin. Both of these elements are what give our skin a taut and tight appearance. As they diminish, the skin gets weaker and softer. In addition, as these elements disappear from the skin, it can make the veins under the eyes more visible.

Heredity is another reason many people get dark circles under their eyes. Some people simply have this look without a definitive reason, and it is passed on throughout the generations.

Fortunately for those who suffer from dark circles, there are some things that can be done to prevent them, or to at least make them look less visible.

Sleeping with your head slightly elevated can help keep fluid from gathering in the lower eyelids. Cold compresses of either cold tea bags or even a wet washcloth can help to reduce dilated blood vessels. If dark circles are caused by a sinus problem, use a mild saline wash to help drain the sinuses, which should help reduce the look of dark circles.

Simple remedies like getting a little bit more sleep each night, applying sunscreen, and using cosmetics can also help to at least reduce the appearance of dark circles under the eyes. Your doctor can help to determine the cause behind dark under eye circles if they do not go away over time using home remedies.


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