Of all the beauty woes out there, dark under-eye circles are among the most common. One of the reasons undereye circles are so annoying is that they can be hard to get rid of. And that’s because many factors can contribute to them. Like a game of cosmetic wack-a-mole, if you tackle one cause, another might just pop up. Luckily, we’re here with the info you need to do some process-of-elimination and determine what the root cause of your circles are. Here are five of the most common causes, and what you can do about each one.
Let’s put the most obvious probable cause of those circles first. Poor sleep is super common these days, when we all have so many demands on our time–and so many distractions that keep us up (we’re looking at you, hot guys on TikTok making sandwiches). But have you ever wondered why poor sleep gives you shadows under your eyes? Blame your blood vessels. We know, it’s gross. When you don’t get enough sleep, your blood vessels dilate, increasing blood flow. Since the skin under your eyes is really thin, the increased blood flow shows up as darkness.
Solution: get more sleep! Easier said than done, right?! But sleep truly is one of the most important things we can do for our health and our outer appearance too. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Leave your phone and computer in the other room, your emails will still be there tomorrow. Avoid caffeine after 2PM. In other words, start making sleep a priority.
When you aren’t getting enough water, it makes the recessed parts of your face appear even darker because your tissues will start to shrink. Think of how a grape turns into a raisin. That’s what happens to your skin when you don’t hydrate.
Solution: this one’s pretty self-explanatory. Drink more water! We like to use super cute, reusable water bottles to motivate us to hit our hydration goal. Each individual’s hydration needs are going to be different, depending on factors like exercise and whether or not you’ve been sweating. The old standby goal of eight glasses of water or 2.7 liters a day is a good baseline. And remember that you can get water from food, too! Water-rich fruits and veggies include: melons, strawberries, citrus fruits, stone fruits, cucumber, lettuce, and celery.
Did you know that there’s a specific pad of fat under your eye? Unlike many other fat deposits on our bodies, we tend to want to keep this one around because it gives the eye area a smooth, well-rested look. As we get older, this little fat pad gets smaller and is pulled down by gravity. The result is the appearance of dark circles thanks to volume loss. This kind of dark circle is a shadow–not actual darkness of skin. It’s still annoying, obvi.
Solution: undereye filler can help restore fullness to this area. But if you’re interested in pursuing that, make sure to go to a qualified treatment provider. The eye area is a tricky spot for injections. In our MedSpa treatment booking app, Upkeep, we partner with hand-selected providers who are licensed, insured, and get great results for their clients. Make sure your filler provider is someone you trust, and ask for photos of their previous work.
It’s what your mama (or daddy) gave you. Some people are genetically predisposed to get undereye circles no matter what they do (including the writer of this article, and yes, she really has tried everything). It even has a name: periorbital hyperpigmentation. This condition is most prevalent in those with darker skin tones but it can happen to anyone.
Solution: there kinda isn’t one (sorry). But there are ways to improve the overall appearance of the eye area, including eye creams with caffeine and color correcting cosmetics that will offset the darkness slightly. Ultimately it might be best to embrace it.
A seasonal allergy is like a cartoon supervillain that doesn’t know when to stop. It isn’t enough that seasonal allergies give you sinus pressure and make you sniffle and sneeze. They can also give you itchy, watery eyes. If your allergies give you itchy eyes, that inflammation affects the blood vessels under your eyes too, which leads to bruising. The bruising is what causes the dark circles. If you find yourself rubbing your itchy eyes, that makes the bruising even worse.
Solution: try to avoid rubbing your eyes when allergy season rolls around–antihistamine eye drops could be your BFF here. And talk to your allergist about managing your allergy symptoms.
We hope this helps you strategize how to treat your under-eye circles. And remember, you’re not alone. We’ve all woken up with dark circles from time to time.