Raccoon Eyes? Top Culprits and Cures for Dark Circles
Posted by Nikki Wisher on Dec 16th 2020
You wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and wonder if you forgot to take off your mascara and it smeared overnight before you realize that nope, the circles under your eyes are just that dark. Yikes.
For my fellow “raccoon eye” sufferers out there whose make up routine always involves concealer under the eyes, you might have more control over those circles than you think. Yes, some people are genetically more prone to them than others. Regardless of your genes, though, there are other sneaky causes behind under-eye circles that you can control.
The Culprit: Aging
When we’re young, our skin is thick, smooth, and firm enough to create a practically perfect facial canvas. As we get older and our skin’s collagen drops, that skin becomes thinner – especially the skin under our eyes that’s already thin and delicate to begin with.
When skin gets thinner, it becomes more see-through. The area under your eyes is packed with blood vessels, muscles, and other dark tissue. The thinner your skin becomes, the more those darker hues show through.
The Fix: Age-Defying Eye Products
You can’t stop the clock but you can dramatically slow it down when it comes to facial aging. Try a collagen-boosting eye product which will help to thicken and smooth your skin, putting the dark tissue below your eyes back under wraps.
The Culprit: Too Much Sunshine
I know, we all love spending a day relaxing on the beach like the sun gods and goddesses we are, but our skin doesn’t feel the same way. When your skin gets too much sun exposure, you produce more melanin or pigment, which is meant to absorb the sunlight so it doesn’t damage the deeper layers of your skin.
Over time, though, some of that pigment builds up and that’s where we get age spots. This sun-caused excess pigment, called hyperpigmentation, can happen under your eyes as well. That contributes to dark circles under the eyes.
The Fix: Skin-Brightening Products
Look for a product that reduces hyperpigmentation and one that’s specifically made for eye brightening. This will reduce the hyperpigmentation you already have. In the meantime, protect the area from future sun damage by wearing sunscreen on the daily and rocking some larger-framed sunglasses.
The Culprit: Eye Strain
We live in a screen-heavy age, but our eyes don’t always enjoy it. If you’re straining your eyes, the blood vessels around them can dilate, making the darkness of those blood vessels more visible under the skin.
The Fix: Boost Your Vision
Your eyes might be straining because your vision has changed and it’s time to update your eye prescription (or to get glasses or contacts if you don’t have them). In that case, pay your eye doctor a visit.
Sometimes, though, it’s just the light from your screens that’s giving your eyes a hard time. Try some glasses that block blue light or take more breaks from your screens.
The Culprit: Skipping Your Beauty Sleep
I’ve woken up after many a night of way too little sleep, saw particularly nasty dark circles under my eyes, and thought, “Do I really look like that much of a zombie or am I just imagining it because I feel like a zombie?” Nope, those excessively dark circles are real, alright.
When we don’t get enough sleep, it makes our skin paler and duller. When that happens, those dark tissues under our eyes show through. On top of that, though, a lack of sleep can make our eyelids puffy. That extra volume casts shadows on the area under our eyes, which just adds to the dark circles.
The Fix: More Zs
I know it’s easier said than done, but healthier, longer sleep can make a great difference in your under-eye circles and your overall health. If you want to make your beauty sleep even more powerful, though, add a nighttime skin cream to the mix. It’ll thicken and firm your skin so you’re less prone to dark circles when you do have one of those short nights.
The Culprit: Thirst
We all know how important water is for our health, but it turns out that it’s great for having younger-looking peepers, too. When you’re dehydrated, your skin becomes duller and paler. This paleness leads the way for those dark tissues under your eyes to rear their ugly heads.
The Fix: Better Hydration, Inside and Out
There’s no way around it: we all need to drink plenty of water each day to keep our bodies hydrated. For some extra hydration, though, use a daily moisturizer. This holds the moisture within your skin and helps the skin stay plumper. This way, dry skin won’t add to the problem of under-eye circles.
The Culprit: Allergies
This surprises some folks but it’s true: during your peak allergy season or when you’re around anything else you’re allergic to, it can cause dark circles under your eyes. Allergies cause your body to release natural histamines, and on top of causes other allergy symptoms, histamines dilate your blood vessels. That includes the blood vessels under your eyes, and this could make them show through your skin as dark circles.
To add to it, allergies sometimes cause us to rub our eyes. This can lead to inflammation in the area, swollen eyelids, and broken blood vessels. It all contributes to those circles under our eyes.
The Fix: Allergy Control
Try over-the-counter allergy meds and see if they keep your allergies under control. If they don’t, it’s time for a visit to your doctor or allergist for prescription-strength allergy medications.
Getting Your Dark Circles Under Control
Dark circles under the eyes are incredibly common and they’re not a look any of us love. You aren’t doomed to spend your days trying to camouflage those circles with concealer, though. Try the fixes above to take back that precious facial real estate and kick under-eye circles to the curb.