The dreaded dark circles. They happen when blood vessels become fragile and break, causing discoloration in the top two layers of skin. They can also happen because of poor circulation. While it is true that some people are just predisposed to dark circles, certain things we do can also contribute, and there ways to banish dark circles without spending a fortune.
Before we dig into some easy solutions, let’s take a closer look at some reasons why you may be plagued with dark circles.
Age – As we age, dark circles become more prominent
Genetics – Yep, just like many other physical traits, if your mama has them, you might too. Genes can cause periorbital hyperpigmentation – a fancy name for dark circles
Darker skin tone – People with darker skin are prone to under-eye circles
Allergies – Chronic allergies can result in swelling and blood vessel dilation under the eyes. Rubbing your eyes can make things worse.
Health issues – Sometimes inflammation around the eyes can result from an underlying health condition such as a thyroid disorder or an autoimmune condition like dermatomyositis.
Lack of sleep – This may be the first thing you think of when dark circles appear. If you are missing out on quality sleep, you can expect that your face will punish you with bags and circles.
Dehydration – Not drinking enough water results in a sunken appearance around the eyes.
Eyestrain – Do you spend all day looking at a computer? Are you addicted to your phone? Too much time in front of a screen can cause blood vessels around the eyes to get bigger and darker.
Smoking – Even just the occasional puff on a cigarette or being exposed to secondhand smoke can cause the delicate skin around your eyes to become irritated, resulting in the appearance of dark circles.
Low-cost ways to banish dark circles
While you could certainly invest a small fortune in creams, pills, and elixirs to tackle your dark circles, you could also try some of these less expensive alternatives that are likely to bring forth better results without busting your bank.
Sleep more – Adopt a regular time to go to bed (preferably before 9 pm) and stick to it. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep is a great thing, and even 7 is helpful. Sleep in a cool, dark room and leave your phone in the kitchen
Use a wedge pillow – Dark circles can sometimes appear because of how you’re sleeping. Sleeping with your head slightly propped up helps counteract fluid buildup around the eyes. A specially designed wedge pillow helps to keep your head and neck at a comfortable elevation.
Cool tea bags – Placing brewed tea bags on your eyes helps shrink blood vessels and reduce fluid retention. My favorite types are chamomile and green tea. Before you place brewed bags under your eyes, toss them in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Apply them to your closed eyes for 10 minutes and rinse with cool water.
Cucumber slices – Cucumbers are not only delicious in a salad, but because they have such a high water content, they can reduce swelling and dark circles under the eyes as well. Lie down in a comfortable position and place chilled cucumber slices on your eyes for 15 minutes.
Eat antioxidant-rich foods – Foods such as dark chocolate, beans, and berries are loaded with health-promoting antioxidants that can reduce oxidative stress leading to inflammation in the body – including around your eyes.
Reduce stress – Too much stress intensifies hyperpigmentation. Exercise, deep breathing, journaling, listening to music, and practicing yoga are some of the great ways to reduce stress in your life.
Coffee in your cream – Caffeine is an anti-inflammatory that is good for your skin. Mix a little into your favorite eye cream to invigorate under-eye skin.
Block UV light – Too much time in the sun without eye protection can cause dark circles to develop. Remember to keep your shades on and wear a moisturizer with UV protection for the best results.
Milk – Research shows that lactic acid applied to the skin can reduce discoloration. Milk contains lactic acid and can be used as a compress. Soak cotton balls in cold milk and hold them under your eyes for 5 minutes. Rinse with cool water.
Reduce salt intake – Excess sodium in your diet can cause fluid to build up, leading to dark circles. According to the American Heart Association, consuming over 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day is too much.
Eat more potassium-rich foods – Foods rich in potassium like leafy greens, bananas, and beans help reduce excess fluid that causes dark circles and puffiness around the eyes.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C promotes collagen that can help make your skin healthy and hide the blood buildup that causes dark circles. Use an organic vitamin C skin cream for the best results.
Say “yes” to coconut oil – Coconut oil contains potent anti-inflammatory properties and is great for skin. Gently massage coconut oil to clean and dry skin for 30 seconds. The massaging action helps the coconut oil penetrate the skin and also increases circulation.
Remember, the skin around your eyes is very delicate. Always test anything that you plan to put on or around your eyes first before using it.
-Susan Patterson, CBHC and Master Gardener