Dark Circles: Causes and Treatment


Dark circles under the lower eyelids are a common concern among men and women of all ages.  Most times, it comes bearing eye bags, making you appear older than you are. And sometimes, they are very difficult to get rid of.

Dark circles are mostly common among elderly people, people with a genetically predisposed to this condition, and people from non-white ethnic groups as darker skin tones are more prone to hyper-pigmentation around the eye area.

Though fatigue has been proven to be the major cause of eye bags, there are other factors that can contribute to the appearance of under eye circles.  Some of the common causes of dark circles are:


When you oversleep, stay up hours past your bedtime, and experience extreme fatigue, dark circles can easily form under your eyes. This is because sleep deprivation can cause your skin to become dull and very pale, hence, making your dark tissues and the blood vessels beneath your skin visible. It can also cause fluid buildup underneath your eyes, thereby causing them to appear puffy. This could cause dark circles, which most times are shadows cast by your puffy eyelids.


Aging is another common cause of the appearance of those under eye dark circles. As you get older, your skin starts getting thinner. Your body starts losing fat and collagen that’s needed to maintain your skin’s elasticity. As this keeps happening, the dark blood vessels under your skin start to get more visible, causing the area below your eyes to darken.

Eye strain

When you stare at your television and computer screen for a long time, it causes strain on your eyes. This strain causes the blood vessels around your eyes to enlarge, thereby resulting in the darkening of the skin under your eyes.


Allergies can also trigger under eye circles. When you have an allergic reaction, your body releases histamines as a response to harmful bacteria. Some of its uncomfortable symptoms are itchiness, eye dryness and redness, and puffy eyes. These histamines produced can also cause dilation of your blood vessels, making them visible beneath your skin.

Allergies can also increase your urge to rub and scratch the itchy skin around your eyes. Doing this can worsen your symptoms, thereby causing inflammation, swelling, and broken blood vessels. This can also result in dark shadows beneath your eyes.


Asides from fatigue, dehydration is another common cause of under eye dark circles. This is because, when your body is not getting the proper amount of water it requires, the skin beneath your eyes starts to look dull and sunken. And this happens becomes of their proximity to the bone underneath.

Sun overexposure

When your body is exposed to too much sunlight, there is a production of melanin. Melanin is the pigment responsible for the producing color to your skin. Therefore, overexposure of your skin, especially for your eyes can cause pigmentation in the skin surrounding your eyes to darken.


Genetics or family history also plays a part in the development of dark circles under your eyes. That means, dark circles can be an inherited trait visible even at early stages of childhood. It may disappear or even worsen with time. Other medical conditions like thyroid diseases can also result in under eye dark circles.

Luckily for you, there are many ways to treat under eye dark circles. There are home treatments, medical treatments and also beauty treatments. The skin under your eyes is the thinnest on your entire body, so you need to be very gentle with it


At-Home treatments

Treatment for dark eye circles varies depending on the underlying cause. However, there are some home remedies that can help salvage the situation. Some of the more common methods include:

Applying a cold compress

 Applying a cold compress to the affected area can help reduce swelling and shrink dilated blood vessels. It can also reduce the appearance of puffiness and help eliminate dark circles.

How to do

  • Wrap a few ice cubes in a clean washcloth and apply to your eyes.
  • Or you can dampen a washcloth with cold water and apply it to the skin under your eyes
  • Leave it on for 20 minutes for the same effect.
  • Repeat this process until the cloth becomes warm or the ice melts.

Getting enough sleep

When you allow yourself to get enough sleep or even catch up on your sleep routine, the appearance of dark circles is reduced to the least. Depriving yourself of sleep can cause your skin to become pale, thereby making the dark circles more obvious. Allow yourself the complete seven to eight hours of rest to prevent the appearance of dark circles.

Elevating your head while you sleep

Though lack of sleep plays a prominent role in the appearance of under eye dark circles, how you sleep sometimes contributes too. This is why you should try elevating your head with pillows while you sleep. It prevents fluid from pooling under your eyes, hence making them look swollen and puffy.

Soaking with tea bag

 Applying cold tea bags to your eyes can improve their appearance. This is because, tea contains caffeine and antioxidants that can help stimulate blood circulation, shrink your blood vessels, and also reduce liquid retention beneath your skin.

How to do

  • Soak two black or green tea bags in hot water for five minutes.
  •  Put in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • When cold, apply the teabags to your closed eyes for 10 to 20 minutes.
  •  Remove and rinse your eyes with cool water.

Concealing with makeup 

While makeup and cosmetics do not cure dark eye circles, they can help to camouflage them.  Your concealers can act as coverage for the dark circles, helping you to blend them perfectly with your skin color. Some of these products can cause your symptoms to worsen or may trigger allergic reaction. This is why you should pay close attention to any topical treatment you use. If you begin to notice any irregularities, especially after you started using any product of treatment, stop immediately and see your doctor or dermatologist.

Medical treatments

For a more effective and permanent solution, some medical treatments are available to reduce the appearance of dark circles. Some of the more common methods include

  • Chemical peels to reduce pigmentation
  • Laser surgery to resurface the skin and enhance skin tightening
  • medical tattoos to inject pigment into thinning skin areas
  • Tissue fillers to conceal blood vessels and melanin that are causing skin discoloration beneath your eyes.
  • Fat removal to remove excess fat and skin, revealing a smoother and more even surface
  • Surgical implants of fat or synthetic products

Before deciding on any cosmetic procedure, discuss your options with a doctor. Invasive medical treatments can be expensive, painful, and often require a long recovery time.


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