Essentially, dark circles are caused by having excess blood pools under the eye. Fatigue, anemia, aging, medications, genetics and other factors affect the appearance of periorbital (eye area) dark circles. The skin under your eye is thin and delicate. Because of this, increased blood flow can be easily seen in this area. The fragile capillaries under the eye can become leaky when stretched or dilated.
Fatigue: When fatigued, usually caused by lack of sleep, our skin becomes paler and the blood underneath our eyelid become more visible. Other factors can involve anemia and age.
Anemia: An iron deficiency that decreases the amount of circulating oxygen by reducing the number of red blood cells, causing dark circles under the eye. This is a sign that the body is not getting enough oxygen.
Age: Aging causes us to lose collagen and this results in epidermal/skin thinning. When the skin is thinner, the dark circles are more apparent. Additionally, the fat deposits underneath the eye begin to droop and sag.
Hereditary: Those with lighter skin are more prone to dark circles. Additionally, those with a family history of varicose veins are more susceptible to having dark circles.
Allergies: When your body detects an allergen, histamine is released to cause a response. Histamine causes systemic vasodilation (widening of blood vessels). In the eye area, this can cause itchiness, tearing, redness, and dark circles. Rubbing your eyes can further aggravate this irritation.
Medication: Certain medications may increase blood vessel dilation that can cause dark circles under the eye. Examples include nitroglycerin, blood pressure medications, and heart medications.
Crying: Excessive liquid (tears) accumulates under the eye due to gravity.
Lifestyles: Smoking, excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, high sodium intake, and stress can all contribute to the formation of dark circles. Alcohol causes blood vessel dilation and disrupts REM sleep.
What Can you Do?
- The veins in our body are a dark purple-ish red, however, if you look down at your arm they look blue. It’s an illusion. Light reflection can make the area appear brighter and lighter. Light reflectors can be found in some eye creams and makeup containing ingredients like titanium dioxide or a blend of minerals that diffuse light.
- Gently pressing your palms onto the orbital bone around the eyes may assist in relieving tired eyes. This can be done be in the morning or at night for a couple of minutes or as long as you like.
- Check with your doctor to see if taking a daily antihistamine (Zyrtec, Allegra, etc.) can help reduce your dark circles. Also, consider asking about hydroquinone, retinol, and retin-A. These medications may help reduce hyperpigmentation and stimulate skin thickening.
- Treat your eye area gently. Pay attention to the way you wash and towel-dry your face. Notice how you apply makeup to your eyes. Avoid tugging, stretching and pulling.
- Use various concealer colors for the under eye area
- Yellow works well on purple or blueish hues
- Orange cancels out blue or greenish hues on darker skin tones
- Peach lifts hints of green and blue on lighter skin tones
- Green conceals redness
- Purple conceals yellowish tones
Additionally, products like the Mighty Infusion, which contain ingredients such as EGF’s (epidermal growth factors), in your daily routine may assist in encouraging cell growth to thicken the area.
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