What Really Causes Those Dark Circles Under Your Eyes?

Dark circles under your eyes. Many people think that these show up when a person is physically exhausted, as some kind of outward sign of fatigue. Others may associate them with some other physical factor, but what seems to be universal is that no one likes to see those when they look in the mirror.

So, what really causes those dark circles under your eyes?

One primary reason is that your skin is thinner in that area so that the blue color of the blood vessels carrying blood back towards the lungs is more easily visible. Dr. Mercola notes,

“As you age, your skin also loses collagen and elasticity, making the skin thinner and your circles more prominent.”

In the case of people who have a genetic disposition to darker skin (as opposed to people who have darker skin due to tanning and sun exposure), the dark circles under their eyes can have other causes. Again, Dr. Mercola,

“This type of dark circles caused by hyperpigmentation can have either a primary or secondary cause. In a primary cause the increased pigmentation is found under both eyes and occurs spontaneously. In a secondary cause, the increased pigmentation is caused by a systemic or localized process.”

He continues,

“Dark circles under your eyes may also be triggered from the oxidation of blood leaking from the blood vessels around the eyes. The release of blood and oxidation leads to not only dark circles, but also swelling and bags under your eyes.7

“This occurs when the body attempts to clear blood leakage from a thin-skinned area easily affected by gravity.

“This condition is relatively harmless to your health, but can be a challenge to deal with. There are surgical and medical treatments available to stop the blood leaking, but it is best to start with lifestyle changes and nutrition to treat the condition and avoid other more invasive options.”

Also, swelling under the eyes can cause dark circles. This swelling can be caused by allergies or illness.

Fortunately, some practical steps can be taken to reduce these dark circles such as avoiding rubbing your eyes, managing your allergies, sleeping on your back with only one pillow or no pillow, reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption and smoking, and be gentle with your skin when you apply creams to your face or remove makeup.

You may not be able to completely eliminate the dark circles under your eyes, but with a little self-care, you may be able to reduce and minimize them.