Hate those morning under eye circles? Curious about what they are, as well as a natural approach to treating them? Unfortunately, this condition is something that we are all susceptible to, no matter how much sleep we get or stress we eliminate from our lives.
These dark circles may appear due to shadows that are cast upon your face because your eyelids are puffy. Or, you may be experiencing the common “hollowing effect” that happens under your eyes, where your skin somewhat sinks in. This is a normal part of aging.
Let’s take a closer look at the most common causes of dark circles under your eyes, and a few natural remedies that you can follow to help you get rid of them — and prevent them from happening in the first place.
What Causes Dark Circles Under Eyes?
Unfortunately, there are countless causes as to why we get dark circles under our eyes. Ranging from fatigue to stress to simply being hungover, dark circles are a condition that can afflict everyone.
Below we will discuss the ten most common causes of dark circles under your eyes. While it’s true that these may or may not apply to you, these causes will indeed help you narrow down why you are getting dark circles under your eyes. And once you know WHY you are getting them, it will be much easier for you to get rid of them.
1. Fatigue, Exhaustion & Insomnia
The most common cause of dark eye circles is a lack of sleep, and the exhaustion and fatigue that typically follows. This is especially true if you suffer from insomnia, a chronic sleep disorder that makes it hard for you to fall asleep, as well as stay asleep for long durations of time.
Because of this lack of sleep, you will appear exhausted and, naturally, have a lack of energy. This fatigue will cause a whole host of symptoms, including puffy and dark circles under your eyes.
2. Stress & Anxiety
Let’s be honest here. Who isn’t under a great deal of stress these days? We all have our own personal battles that we carry with us day-to-day. Whether its work or love, stress is an unfortunate part of life that we are all affected by.
The consequences of high-levels of stress, however, can vary from person to person. Some may suffer from the aforementioned insomnia, while others suffer panic attacks, anxiety, acid reflux, high blood pressure, and yes, dark circles under our eyes.
There’s no real cure for stress. Regular exercise, breathing techniques, yoga, meditation, acupuncture and/or tai chi are all avenues that can help you get some rest and clear your mind. These will help, but not completely get rid of your stress triggers.
Seasonal allergies are another very common cause for dark eye circles. Whether it’s exposure to mold, pollen, poor indoor air quality or just toxic cleaning chemicals, the side effects of allergic reactions are known to be a common cause of the discoloration we experience on the skin below the eyes.
If you find yourself in this situation, the first thing you should do is try to figure out what exactly you have an allergy too. Once you know that, you can have a better idea of what you can do to prevent the allergies from hitting you in the first place. Talk to your doctor.
You may want to consider investing in some non-toxic bedding and furniture. This is due to the many indoor allergens that can be residing in your home. From dust mites to roach droppings, there are many microscopic allergens that can lead to poor indoor air quality, which in turn may lead to an increased outbreak of allergies.
4. Reduce Exposure to the Sun
Over the course of your life, over-exposure to the sun can lead to a thinning of the delicate skin under the eye and increase melanin production. This increase in pigment can lead to your skin darkening by a few shades of brown.
To prevent this, it is recommended that you wear sun glasses and apply a generous amount of sun screen when you are out in the sun for long periods of time. Just as you don’t want to get sunburned, you don’t want to be out for so long that you cause your face to develop dark circles.
5. Vitamin Deficiency
Another common cause of dark circles, is when you are suffering from a lack of important vitamins. Notably, if you don’t get the recommended amount of B6, B12, vitamin K, potassium, antioxidants and folic acid you are more likely to experience these circles.
Taking a daily vitamin supplement can help counteract this. However, even those have their flaws (depending on which ones you take). The best way to ensure that you are getting these essential nutrients is through the foods you eat on a daily basis. I know, I know… you’ve heard this time and time before. BUT, following a balanced diet consisting of plenty of fruits and veggies is incredibly important.
6. Stop Smoking
There are many reasons to stop smoking. And quite frankly, dark circles under your eyes should be pretty low on that list. But everyone has their priorities, and since you’re here to learn more about this skin phenomenon, limiting or stopping the amount of cigarettes you smoke will help prevent dark circles from developing under your eyes.
This is because the smoke from cigarettes damages the delicate under eye skin, resulting in a noticeable discoloration. You can do wonders for your skin by stopping this habit.
If you don’t want to stop smoking, I understand that struggle, the very least you can do is increase the amount of ventilation and/or air circulation around you when you do smoke.
7. Overload of Mucous
Another common cause of dark circles is an excess amount of mucous in your body. This could probably be tied into the allergies section, but I felt like it was important enough to keep on its own. Especially since you can have excess amounts of mucous for other reasons besides allergies.
When the body is blocked by congestion (especially in the nose and throat), we can get dark circles under the eyes. This is likely due to the lack of improper drainage from the eyes to the nose.
The more inflamed the body, the more the body undergoes premature aging. And as previously mentioned, one of the most common signs of aging is a “hollowing effect” underneath your eyes.
When the skin around the eyes becomes thinner, through over inflammation, it causes the veins to become more visible, and results in a lack of collagen. This may also lead to a darker colorization, and the look of darker skin.
For some of us, this unfortunate skin condition is simply just hereditary. There’s not much more to say, or do to prevent it. And while it may be more related to our DNA than our lifestyle, we can still treat the condition to make sure it doesn’t get worse.
There are numerous skin creams that you can use to help lubricate and moisturize the skin under your eyes. These may help restore the skin and give it a radiant firmness. While these may help, and are certainly worth exploring, they are merely a temporary solution to a condition that will likely never go away.
10. Being Hungover
Ah, the dreaded morning after a night of libations. We’ve all been there. And I’m certainly not excluded from this. Unfortunately, this type of lifestyle will lead to sleepless nights, being within smoky environments and an overload of not-so-nutritious items being ingested within our body.
One of the first things you do to help cure a hangover is drink coffee and eat fatty, processed foods, two more common items that have little nutritious value and can contribute to dark circles under your eyes.
While I have a deep love for black coffee and hoppy IPA’s, there’s no denying that these lifestyle choices are contributing to the dark circles that I, myself, experience. In fact, I’d wager to guess that the dark circles under my eyes are likely caused by the copious amounts of beer and coffee I drink, coupled with the lack of sleep that I get on a daily basis.
How to Get Rid of Dark Circles
From eliminating stress, to getting more sleep to just eliminating drugs/tobacco/alcohol can all go a long way at clearing up this unfortunate skin condition. In fact, all the natural remedies and skin creams in the world won’t do you any good, if you’re not willing to address the causes listed above. These simple steps can go a very long way in getting rid of those dark circles.
There are many natural remedies to dark eye circles, which I will write about in a follow up post. But, for the purpose of this article, take a close look at the causes above and consider how they factor into your life.