How to Get Rid of Dark Circles
The best ways to keep eyes looking bright, youthful, and well-rested.
When it comes to beauty maladies, there are a few standouts that seem to plague us all at some point: acne, wrinkles, and of course, dark circles under our eyes. Whether you're in a daily struggle against this panda-like pigment or only suffer from dark circles occasionally, sometimes maintaining clear, bright, "I slept 8 hours" awake eyes can feel impossible. But your quest against dark circles doesn't need to feel so dire. We've spoken with skincare experts on the essential secrets to keeping those shadows at bay.
What Causes Dark Circles?
Like most skincare issues, there's no one single cause of dark circles. They're common, in part, because the skin under the eyes in naturally thinner than on the rest of the face, making the blood and veins under the skin more visible. Pale types in particular tend to suffer from more pronounced dark circles, but there are other factors at play too.
Age, for example, can really give you a black eye thanks to its one-two punch of thinning skin and the loss of the subtly-plumping layer of fat that help make the undereye area more opaque. “The shadows caused by the hollowness where there was once more fat can also appear as dark circles,” adds dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman.
Genetic factors also play a role, as well as skin conditions like periorbital hyperpigmentation which causes the skin in the eye area to darken with naturally produced pigment. Even seasonal annoyances like allergies can exacerbate the problem. "The nasal congestion can dilate the blood vessels that drain from the area around your eyes," explains dermatologist Howard Sobel.
Far and away, though, our experts said that the most common cause of dark circles is that old classic your mother always warned you about—not getting enough sleep. "During deep sleep, the rise in growth hormones allows damaged cells to become repaired," says Engelman. "Without the deeper phases of sleep, this won't occur, allowing daily small breakdowns to accumulate instead of being reversed overnight."