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What Causes Dark Circles Under Your Eyes?

Learn more about the causes of those dark circles under your eyes and use these helpful everyday skin care tips to keep them from coming back.

For some of us, dark circles are a regular occurrence and for others, they happen once-in-a-blue-moon. Either way, dark circles can be frustrating – and they can certainly test your patience.

Feel like giving up?

Well, stop right there. Instead of tolerating these unsightly shadows, you can be well on your way to finding practical solutions that work.

Here is everything you need to know; including the common culprits of dark circles and effective solutions that can help eliminate them:

1. Lack of sleep

Burning the candle at both ends? We don’t always get the sleep our body needs, and this can stop our eyes from looking their best, either in the form of bags under the eyes or dark circles.

Sleepless nights can cause the blood vessels to dilate, making them more visible. When this happens, fluid will then leak into the skin, which causes puffiness and swelling.

What you need to do: Getting more sleep is essential. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. In addition, a hydrating night cream, such as AVEENO® POSITIVELY RADIANT® Night Cream can also help eliminate dark circles and speed up your skin’s renewal process.

2. Aging and genetics

The skin around your eyes is eight times thinner than on your hands or feet, meaning the blood vessels below can appear as dark circles around the eyes. The thinner the skin, the more apparent the circles - and this can become more of an issue as you age.

What you need to do: If you're genetically prone to dark circles, you’re not necessarily out of luck – you just need take extra precautions. Limiting sun exposure, drinking lots of water and maintaining a healthy diet are practical solutions that can help diminish dark circles and fight your genetic battle.

3. Diet

A lack of antioxidants and vitamins in your diet– including vitamins A, C, E and B12 – can cause dark circles. Furthermore, foods that are high in sodium can also cause your body to retain water, which can cause your eyes to look puffy.

What you need to do: Reduce processed foods in your diet that lack nutritional value and instead, focus on eating a variety of fruits, green leafy vegetables, protein, and whole grains.

4. Seasonal allergies

Allergy sufferers will commonly complain of itchy or dry eyes. A natural reaction to ease this discomfort is to rub your eyes – but in the end, this can lead to the formation of dark circles.

Hayfever (a reaction to different types of pollen) can also lead to dark circles. This seasonal allergy is known to cause inflammation of the sinuses, nose and mucus membranes.

What you need to do: In order to cure your dark circles, you need to control your allergies. Eye drops and an antihistamine can offer you much-needed relief, in both departments.

5. Dehydration and alcohol consumption

Sunken eyes are a tell-tale sign of dehydration, and it’s especially common first thing in the morning. Dehydration weakens the delicate skin around the eyes, leading to a puffy, sunken-in appearance.

What you need to do: To fend off future dark circles, drink plenty of water (at least eight 8oz glasses a day). You should also steer clear of sodas and caffeinated beverages (which are known to dehydrate your skin even further).