Dark circles under the eyes have long been associated with being tired, but did you know it is not necessarily a lack of sleep that is responsible?
Whilst staying up late and not getting enough sleep does not help the circles around your eyes, there are also other important factors that can affect it. Some you can control, such as improving your diet and stopping smoking, whereas others are simply down to your DNA.
What are the dark circles under your eyes then?
Formally called periorbital dark circles, this condition occurs as a result of the skin below your eyes showing the blood vessels and the blood they contain. They can be seen more clearly than any other part across your body because this area of skin is much thinner. Periorbital dark circles are common in both men, women and sometimes children as well.
When light hits this thin patch of skin it is therefore much easier to see those blood vessels sitting just below the surface. This is also why facial bruises are much more prominent around and below the eyes!
How does sleep impact the dark circles under your eyes?
According to Gizmodo, the answer comes from how your body acts when it is low on energy. When your body is tired, it increases its production of the chemical cortisol, which helps give you enough energy to stay awake. Cortisol increases the amount of blood in your body, which as a result sees your blood vessels, like the ones below your eyes to swell. When the reason we can see dark circles under our eyes is because of the blood vessels below the thin skin in this area, if these said vessels are engorged, they will be more prominent, making the circles under our eyes appear darker.
What are other possible reasons for having dark circles under your eyes?
Aging – As we age, our skin becomes thinner. The result of this is that the blood vessels become clearer to see, meaning dark circles under the eyes become more noticeable. In addition, our skin sags with age and can leave us with baggy lower eyelids that may cast a shadow on the skin below, making it appear darker.
Nasal Congestion – Full of cold? This can have an impact on the dark circles around our eyes as a blocked up nose can lead to the swelling of blood vessels around our nose and eyes, causing the skin to again appear darker.
Drinking Alcohol – When we drink alcohol the small blood vessels in our skin expand, making the circles below our eyes more obvious.
Allergies – A common first sign of an allergic reaction is developing swelling and puffy eyes. This is because histamines are released that inflame the blood vessels, causing them to swell, and as a result enhance the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.
Salt – Have you ever had a salt-heavy meal one evening and the next day woken up to prominent dark bags under your eyes? According to BioEffect, ingesting too much salt causes your body to dehydrate, which as a result sees your body hold onto excess fluid to prevent further dehydration. Where is this excess fluid held? Right below your eyes, which heightens the appearance of eye bags.
Genetics – Whilst a number of the above factors that increase the dark circles around your eyes can be prevented, it can also just be down to DNA. Eye bags are partly hereditary so if your parents and grandparents have them, chances are you will too. But don’t panic, as committing to a skincare routine and a nourishing eye serum will help reduce the signs!
What can help reduce dark circles under your eyes?
Other than improving your lifestyle by drinking more water, getting enough sleep and reducing your intake of salt, as well as trying out new creams and eye serums, here are some natural remedies that will help reduce the dark circles around your eyes:
- Tomatoes – just mix one teaspoon of tomato juice with a teaspoon of lemon juice and apply it under your eyes, leaving it for ten minutes before washing it off!
- Cold milk – this will help soothe your eyes, skin and reduce those dark circles. Place a cotton ball in a cold bowl of milk and then apply to the affected area
- Yoga – eye bags can be a result of stress so practise yoga and meditation to soothe your eyes, body and mind
- Mint leaves – crush a few of these leaves with water to form a paste and apply on the affected area. Wash off after ten minutes and you will already see improvements!
Dark circles around our eyes can be a pain, for some more than others. However with these top tips you will hopefully be able to reduce their prominence or get rid of them completely!
Read more for posts on eye health, laser eye surgery, and vision, here