Ever found yourself wishing that life was as clear and “if this then that” as media makes it seem? In movies and TV shows, if a character has pronounced dark circles under their eyes, it’s a signal that they’re tired. But what if you have dark circles under your eyes all day every day, no matter how you’re feeling or how much you sleep?
That’s life for many of us, myself included. So let’s fight those dark circles starting with the best tool we humans have: knowledge.
What Causes Dark Circles Under the Eyes?
If dark circles don’t just show up when you’re sleep-deprived, why do they appear? The short answer is that they’re generally part of aging, but that’s not the whole story.
The area under your eyes looks dark or discolored because you’re seeing blood vessels and other dark-colored tissue beneath your skin. Ick, I know. This typically happens as we get older because our skin gets thinner with age, so more of that dark coloration shows through. With that being said, though, some people have dark circles even at a younger age because their skin is particularly thin or particularly pale.
Dark circles can also look worse as we get older because of shadowing. When you lose skin thickness and facial volume under your eyes with age, it can create divots or indents in this area, especially along your tear troughs. That creates a shadow under your eyes, making the area look even darker.
Why Do Some People Get Dark Circles and Others Don’t?
There are actually several reasons why some people are more prone to dark under-eye circles than others. Part of it is genetic, because this aesthetic issue tends to run in families. Your skin tone and natural skin thickness play a role, as does your natural facial structure. But there are plenty of factors that are within our control too, like your skin care and health habits.
Ways to Reduce or Prevent Dark Circles Under the Eyes
Whether you’ve already spotted some irritating dark circles under your eyes or you’re being proactive in trying to prevent them before they start, there’s plenty you can do to work toward that goal. Follow these top tips.
1. Keep a Handle on Skin Conditions
Dark circles come from the combination of thin or light skin and dark blood vessels. Certain chronic skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis can make your blood vessels dilate, which leads to dark circles under your eyes. If you have any chronic skin conditions (or if you suspect that you might), be diligent about visiting your dermatologist regularly so you can stay on top of those conditions.
2. Use Skin Care Products for Skin Firmness
Within your skin care routine, incorporate anti-aging eye products that aim to stimulate collagen growth. Collagen is a key part of what makes skin thicker and more youthful. An anti-aging eye serum can be a fantastic addition to your routine.
3. Make Time for Better Sleep
We have a societal issue on our hands with the way that a lack of sleep is treated as a flex. A lack of sleep is seen as the sign of a hard worker, but in truth, neglecting your sleep is just a bad health habit – no different than neglecting your workout routine. Improving your sleep is always helpful for dark circles under your eyes because when you’re sleep-deprived, your skin tends to look paler. That makes dark circles more pronounced.
4. Shield Your Eyes from the Sun
Sun exposure is the silent culprit that’s making your dark circles worse. Sun exposure breaks down the collagen in our skin, making our skin look thinner and older more quickly. Of course, this skin thinning leads to more significant dark circles under the eyes.
The best way to protect the skin around your eyes from the sun is to combine forces. Wear sunscreen on a daily basis. When you go outdoors, wear large sunglasses that cover this area. On top of that, wear a wide-brimmed hat if you’ll be spending significant time outside so the brim blocks some of the sunlight from your face.
5. Prioritize Your Overall Health
Your skin is your largest organ, so it’s not surprising that your overall health will have an effect on this organ. Many types of bad health habits can make dark circles under your eyes worse by limiting the nourishment, circulation, and hydration your skin needs. That includes drinking too much alcohol, being under prolonged stress, using tobacco, not exercising enough, drinking too little water, and more. Any and all of this can make your skin paler and thinner.
Along these same lines, be careful not to rub your eyes. This can dilate the blood vessels under your eyes, making dark circles more prominent. It’s also generally a good practice since this can open a door for contagious illnesses.
Fading Your Dark Circles
While there are professional skin treatments that can minimize existing dark circles, like certain laser treatments, keeping dark circles at bay in the long term is all about having a healthy routine for your skin and your health. Follow the tips above and chances are that you’ll both look and feel healthier.