When we ask what causes dark circles under the eyes, we are talking about an aesthetic concerns that can affect a wide range of people from different age groups, backgrounds, and genders. If you are bothered by them you are not alone. Given they are so ubiquitous, you may be wondering what causes dark circles under the eyes and is the cause as universal as the effect? The answer is not so simple.
There are a variety of factors that cause dark circles; they can be hereditary, caused by aging, lack of sleep, eye strain, and/or dehydration. So in order to best address this concern, you will need to assess what causes dark circles under the eyes in your individual case. In this post, we will delve into some of the main reasons your eyes are looking tired and what can be done about it.
Dark Circles and Lack of Sleep
If you’re tired of looking tired, it may be time to work on your sleep hygeine. Lack of sleep can cause dark circles under your eyes as well as other signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles. There are a few different reasons for this:
1. Growth hormones are emitted during stages three and four of our sleep cycle; this hormone helps promote the production of collagen in our skin. Poor quality sleep and/or sleep deprivation will impact how much collagen our skin is producing, thus impacting its firmness and leading to signs of skin aging.
2. When we are sleep deprived our whole system doesn’t work as efficiently as it should. Our circulatory system is impaired due to poor quality sleep or lack of sleep, and so blood does not flow to our extremities. This causes blood pooling, the effects of which we see as dark circles under the eyes where the skin is very thin and somewhat transparent.
Dark Circles and Dehydration
In general dehydration causes the tissues of the body to shrink, including your skin. As mentioned earlier, the skin around the eyes is quite thin, and when the tissues shrink due to dehydration, dark circles become more noticeable.
Dark Circles and Age
Over time our skin loses collagen and elastin, and fat deposits under the eyes can either shrink or become more pronounced. With this shift blood vessels become more visible and changes to the fat pads and connective tissues can create shadows around the eyes.
Dark Circles and Genetics
Our genetic bone structure determines the inset nature of the eyes which can cast shadows, causing them to appear more hollow. Additionally, depending on your genetic makeup, your skin may produce more pigment around the eye area.
So now that we know what causes dark circles under the eyes, let’s talk about what can be done
Commit to a good night’s rest. Things to consider:
- setting a sleep schedule which entails winding down and waking up at the same time every day to reinforce your circadian rhythm
- taking a magnesium supplement and/or taking an epsom salt bath before bed to support healthy nerve signals and maintaining healthy levels of melatonin
- avoid screen time a minimum of 1 hour before bedtime to avoid disrupting the surge of melatonin you need to fall asleep
Stay hydrated. If you are someone who struggles to drink enough water throughout the day, try habit stacking. For example, if you know you like to spend time reading the news each morning, dedicate yourself to drinking a liter of water while you perform that ritual. Do the same thing in the evening while you stream a show. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, drinking herbal tea, and avoiding excess sodium in your deit are other ways to help keep yourself hydrated.
Boost your collagen. Using eye creams with collagen boosting ingredients such as retinol and peptides and pursuing treatments like microneedling or microcurrent are excellent ways to thicken the dermis and thus reduce the appearance of dark circles.
Address pigmentation concerns. If your dark circles are the result of pigment distribution in your skin, you can look at using serums that contain ingredients that disrupt the melanin production process.
- Vitamin C is a great option for this and also has other great benefits for the skin as well. This product from Dermalogica is a great option designed specifically for the eyes.
- Using sunblock will also be an important step in order to prevent UV from activating melanin production. There are some great eye sunscreens available on the market that provide physical sun protection via minerals that have the added benefit of providing some colour correction and light reflecting benefits.
As you have read, uncovering what causes dark circles under the eyes is the key to addressing it. When you get to the root of the why, you can implement the appropriate solution. If you’re unsure of next steps to take and would like personalized guidance for your individual needs, we recommend booking a consultation with one of our certified skin therapists. Whether it’s dark circles that ail you, acne, general aging, sensitivity and more, we are always willing and able to help you achieve true skin confidence.
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