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What Causes Dark Circles Under Your Eyes?

Most people think that dark circles under the eyes are due to lack of sleep. While fatigue and stress can also cause them, there are other more serious causes of dark circles under the eyes and around your lower eyelids. Although there isn’t a cure for dark circles, you can do several things to alleviate their appearance and lighten the skin.

Though they can affect anyone, dark circles are more common in:

  • older adults
  • people with a genetic predisposition to this condition
  • people with darker skin tones, who are more prone to hyperpigmentation around the eye area

Dark circles have long been associated with fatigue, aging, or not enough sleep. Though these may be the most common causes of dark circles, there are many others.

The pressure to look perfect has never been so high. The rise of social media, selfies, and beauty products for every need has made it extremely difficult for people to accept their flaws, dark circles under the eyes being one of them. These circles caused by lack of sleep are not only a sign of fatigue but in some cases more than that. There has been very little research done to find the cause of these eye bags.

What causes dark circles?

There are several possible reasons for dark circles under your eyes. Some common causes include:


If you avoid getting enough sleep and are more fatigued than usual, your dark circles can become worse. Other potential causes for poor circulation (and subsequently, dark circles) include having naturally thinner skin under your eyes or taking blood-thinning medications like aspirin. If your dark circles are causing you noticeable concern, consult with a board-certified dermatologist about your options for treatment.


As you get older, your skin becomes thinner. There may be a decrease in the fat and collagen that maintains your skin’s elasticity. As this occurs, the dark blood vessels beneath your skin become more visible, causing the area below your eyes to darken. Although eye puffiness isn’t harmful, it does lead to an aged appearance. By using Natural Factors Eye Bright®, a simple dietary supplement that firms your overlying tissue, you can reduce any existing eye puffiness and help prevent future sagging.


Staring at your television or computer screen may strain your eyes to the point of enlarging the blood vessels in your eyes. This will result in a darkened area around the eye. You should take steps to avoid this and reduce your risk of developing eye strain, which will cause headaches or even color blindness.


When you have an allergic reaction, your body releases histamines to fight off the invader. This causes several symptoms, including itchiness and redness. Histamines also cause your blood vessels to dilate and become more visible beneath your skin. The vessels closest to the surface are those in your face, including the small capillaries just under the skin of your eyelids. These vessels may become more prominent temporarily due to histamine release and subsequent dilation. When these blood vessels are more noticeable, eye circles can appear darker and more prominent as well.


Dehydration is a common cause of dark circles under your eyes. When your body is not well hydrated, the skin beneath your eyes begins to look dull and your eyes look sunken. This is due to the eyes’ proximity to the underlying bone. When you’re dehydration level is low, fluids begin to leak from the blood vessels under your eyes giving off a reddish or grayish tinge. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

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