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Dark Circles Under the Eyes

It is common for people who do not get enough sleep to develop dark circles under the eyes, but several other causes exist. Bags can accompany these dark circles under the eyes. The dark circles may be purple, blue, dark brown, or black, depending on the individual’s complexion. It usually does not require any medical attention. Their occurrence is common among older adults, darker skin toned individuals prone to hyperpigmentation around the eye, and individuals genetically predisposed to periorbital hyperpigmentation.

Causes of Dark Circles under the Eyes

The question “what causes dark circles under the eyes” is commonly asked by people so that they can easily prevent it. The thinning of the skin or constricted blood vessels which lead to hyperpigmentation, can result in the skin under the eyes becoming darkened. The following is a list of the causes of developing dark circles under the eyes.


Depriving oneself of sleep, oversleeping, and extreme fatigue are some causes of developing dark circles under the eye. It can lead to an individual’s skin becoming pale and dull. When the skin becomes pale, the dark tissues and blood vessels within the skin will show. Puffy eyelids, which result from built-up fluid under the eyes due to insufficient sleep, may be seen as dark circles.

Straining the Eyes: 

The eyes can be strained when an individual stares at the computer or television screen for too long. When the eyes are strained, the blood vessels around the eyes enlarge. Thus, dark circles develop as the skin darkens.

Natural Ageing: 

Another common cause of developing dark circles under the eyes is aging naturally. When an individual ages, the skin becomes thinner and dark vessels within the skin begin to show. This results from reducing the skin’s elasticity when the fat and collagen decrease. These changes eventually cause the skin below the eyes to darken.


Dehydration can result in dark circles. If the body is dehydrated, the skin becomes dull, making the eyes look sunken. As a result, dark circles under the eyes begin to develop.

Predisposition to Genetics: 

Some families have a history of developing dark circles under the eyes. The trait may not be visible during childhood, but the dark circles may darken or lighten as the individual grows. Also, certain medical conditions such as thyroid disease can cause dark circles to form under the eyes.


Dark eyes under the eyes can sometimes be caused by eye dryness and reactions to allergies. An allergic reaction causes the body to liberate a hormone called histamine. Histamines help foreign combat substances in the body resulting in symptoms such as sneezing, itchiness, puffy eyes, etc. Aside from the symptoms, the blood vessels become dilated, making them visible within the skin.

Excessive Exposure to the Sun: 

The skin possesses the pigment known as melanin, responsible for skin coloration. If an individual is overly exposed to the sun, melanin is produced in excess. When the melanin becomes excess, the skin surrounding the eyes will have pigmentation. This leads to the darkening of the skin under the eyes.


Anemia is the medical condition in which an individual’s red blood cells are less than normal. It is accompanied by symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, and sometimes paleness of the skin. When the skin becomes pale, dark circles become visible under the eyes.

Picture courtesy: Femina.in


Dark circles under the eyes are treated based on the underlying cause. It can be treated at home with simple home remedies or in the hospital with the help of a healthcare professional.

Home Remedies for Treating Dark Circles under the Eyes

Some home remedies can get rid of dark circles under the eyes. 

Picture courtesy: emediheath

Quality Sleep:

Getting enough sleep of at least eight hours is a simple home remedy to reduce dark circles under the eyes. When an individual lacks sleep, the skin under the eyes darkens, and dark circles beneath the skin under the eyes develop.

Applying Cold Compress: 

Applying a cold compress to the affected skin area under the skin can help reduce the swelling. One can do this by dampening a washcloth in cold water or wrapping some ice cubes and applying it under the eyes for some minutes. Applying a cold compress can also reduce the puffiness of the eyes and the dark circles by shrinking the dilated blood vessels. 

Eye Creams: 

Eye creams can be applied to the skin around the eyes to help reduce the darkened look under the eyes. It can also help in smoothing and hydrating the skin under the eyes.

Staying Hydrated: 

Dehydration is one of the causes of dark circles under the eyes and so it is important to drink enough water regularly. Other fluids such as milk, tea, and juices and eating fruits and vegetables can help improve the fluid intake in the body.

Elevating the Head: 

Positioning the head properly while sleeping is essential. It is important to elevate the head with the support of a few pillows while sleeping. This helps prevent puffiness of the eyelids by stopping the fluids from getting under the eyes and making the eyes swollen.

Applying Tea Bags or Cucumbers: 

The caffeine and antioxidants in tea can help prevent the development of dark circles under the eyes. They stimulate blood circulation, shrink blood vessels and decrease fluids from building up under the eyes. Two green or black tea bags are soaked in hot water for 3 to 5 minutes. After which, they are put in the refrigerator to chill for about 20 minutes. When cold, the extra liquid is squeezed out, and it is applied to the eyes when closed for 15 – 30 minutes. Then the eyes are rinsed with cool water.  

Concealing with Makeup: 

Makeup such as concealers is used to blend the color of the skin of an individual. It can be applied topically alongside any other makeup on the skin under the eyes to conceal the look of the darkened circles under the skin. If the skin reacts to the treatment, the individual should immediately stop applying such products and visit a medical doctor. 

Medical Treatments

Dark circles under the eyes are not a cause for medical concern and can be left alone. However, some individuals may want to get rid of them. A permanent solution to these dark circles can be medical treatments. Some of such medical treatments can be painful and expensive. As a result, the individual should discuss with a medical doctor before deciding what procedure to do. The medical treatments are outlined below.

  • Surgical implants of fat.
  • Chemical peels to decrease pigmentation.
  • Carboxytherapy boosts the flow of blood around the skin under the eyes.
  • Laser surgery helps improve the skin’s tightening and resurface the skin.

Other medical treatments include:

Several reasons can cause the development of dark circles under the eyes, and they sometimes go away after a while. They are not a cause of concern, but they can be treated medically or by applying some home remedies if they are a bother. Improving one’s lifestyle by getting quality sleep, maintaining a balanced diet, and reducing stress can also help rid dark circles under the eyes. If the condition worsens when treated with home remedies, then one should consult a medical doctor. 

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