Dark circles look adorable on a panda bear, but not so much on us. You may be wondering why you have dark circles under your eyes and what you can do to lessen the look of dark circles.
Don’t worry– we’re here to tell you what causes dark circles under eyes, how to reduce the appearance of dark circles, the best ingredients for dark circles, and the best products for dark circles. Plus, we’ll answer some of your frequently asked questions.
IN A NUTSHELL
Main Takeaways: Genetics, age, sun exposure, lack of sleep and water, and allergies are all major causes of dark circles. You can help reduce the likelihood of getting dark circles by avoiding sun exposure, getting plenty of sleep and water, and by treating your allergies.
Good to Know: Caffeine is one of the best ingredients to look for. It’s full of antioxidants that can minimize the appearance of dark circles.
Recommended Products: Eyes Eyes Baby Anti-Aging Eye Cream.
What Causes Dark Circles Under Eyes?
The skin around your eyes is different from the skin on the rest of your face. It’s much thinner, and it doesn’t have its own oil glands, which means that your eye area is more susceptible to signs of aging and environmental stressors, including dark circles.
There are numerous factors that can lead to signs of aging like:
- Genetics - Unfortunately, if one or both of your parents are susceptible to dark circles, chances are you will be too. Skin color can also be a factor. If you have fair skin, the blood vessels in your eye area can be more visible. If you have darker skin, your eye area may be more susceptible to hyperpigmentation, leading to the look of dark circles.
- Age - The older you get, the less collagen your skin produces, making it thinner and more susceptible to darkness under the eyes.
- Allergies - If you’re an allergy sufferer, you know how uncomfortable it is to have puffy, itchy eyes. The best thing to do to treat allergies is to talk to your doctor. But keep in mind that constantly rubbing your eyes to relieve an itch could irritate your blood vessels and lead to dark circles.
- Eye Strain - When your eyes are strained, it can cause the blood vessels around your eye area to get bigger. Unfortunately, looking at a screen all day, like many of us do, can lead to major eye strain.
- Lack of sleep - Fatigue is one of the major causes of dark circles under the eyes.
How to Reduce the Appearance of Dark Circles: 10 Ways.
Now that you know what may be causing your dark circles, here are some tips for how to get rid of appearance of dark circles:
- Get sleep - Your body repairs your skin as you sleep. An adult needs between 7-9 hours of sleep each night to be fully rested. To get the most from your beauty rest, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends.
- Use an eye cream - An eye cream should be a staple in everyone’s skin care routine no matter if you’re 20, 50, or 80. Vegan eye creams are full of beneficial botanicals that can lessen the look of dark circles in the short-term and long-term.
- Use a concealer - A good concealer is like a magic wand. Using the right concealer can brighten up your eyes and make dark circles disappear. It’s best to use a concealer that is a shade or two brighter than your skin, applying it just where it is needed under the eyes.
- Drink water - Drinking at least eight 8 oz. glasses of water each day will seriously improve the look of your skin, including reducing the look of dark circles under your eyes.
- Stop rubbing - Itchy eyes can be so uncomfortable, and it’s super tempting to rub them to get it to stop. This can make your dark circles look worse. If you suffer from allergies that cause itchy eyes, talk to your physician for treatment options.
- Wear sunscreen - Always apply a facial sunscreen everyday, even in the winter, and even when it’s cloudy. Protecting your skin from the sun is key to keeping your skin fresh and minimizing the look of your dark circles.
- Cut back on the drinks - Alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation, but excessive alcohol consumption can seriously dull the look of your skin.
- Chamomile Tea - Looking for a quick, immediate fix? Placing steeped and cooled chamomile tea bags on your eyes for 30 minutes can help soothe skin and diminish the look of dark circles.
- Take a break from your phone - We are all constantly staring at screens. Give your eyes a break using the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20-minutes spent looking at a screen, glance up to something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Talk to your Dermatologist - If you’re looking for a more intense dark circles under eyes treatment, consult your dermatologist. They can perform and prescribe treatments that aren’t available to you in a store like chemical peels, laser therapy, or skin lightening cream.
Best Ingredients for Dark Circles
A natural, effective skincare routine is one of the best ways to keep your skin looking bright and glowing. When looking for skin care products that will lessen look of dark circles, look for ones that contain the below ingredients:
- Caffeine can wake up your mind and reinvigorate the skin around your eye area. It’s full of antioxidants that can minimize the appearance of dark circles.
- Green Tea is another antioxidant powerhouse that will help diminish the look of dark circles and keep your skin fresh.
- Cucumber contain antioxidants and silica, which can help to brighten your eye area.
- Chamomile is bursting with antioxidants and will help to lighten the look of dark circles.
- Vitamin E has rejuvenating properties that can help to even skin tone, especially around your eye area.
- Vitamin K can help to lighten the look of dark circles. Unfortunately, many people are vitamin K deficient, and alcohol consumption can make our bodies less able to store it, so it can be beneficial to add it topically.
- Vitamin C is one of our skincare favorites, and it can help to even skin tone and keep your eye area glowing.
- Hyaluronic Acid can help to hydrate and plump the skin, which makes dark circles appear less visible.
- Ceramides are fats that mimic your skin’s natural oils and protect your skin. They help to moisturize the eye area and reduce the look of dark circles, keeping your eye area looking youthful
- Retinol is known to encourage collagen production, thus firming the skin around the eyes.
Best Products for Dark Circles Under Eyes
There are specific products that you can start using to help diminish the appearance of dark circles. We've put together our list of favorites:
Best Eye Cream
Fleur & Bee: Eyes Eyes Baby Anti-Aging Eye Cream
An eye cream is a must-have product in any natural skincare routine if you’re looking to diminish the look of dark circles. Fleur & Bee’s Eyes Eyes Baby eye cream is 100% vegan and cruelty free. Full of nourishing, hydrating ingredients like squalane, vitamin B3, and glycerin to hydrate the delicate skin around your eyes. It also contains caffeine, green tea, and vitamin E to help lessen the look of dark circles under the eyes.
Finding a concealer you love can be a challenge, and one of the best ways to find one that works with your skin tone and that lasts is to visit a beauty store (like Sephora or Ulta) to test products in-person. We’ve also included some of our favs, all of which are clean, vegan, and cruelty-free:
ILIA creates some of our favorite clean beauty makeup products, and their True Skin Serum Concealer is no exception. It includes vitamin C and lbizia Julibrissin bark extract to provide antioxidant benefits while covering up unwanted darkness under the eyes.
Honest Beauty: Bright Eyes Tinted Eye Cream
If you are looking for a multi-purpose product for dark circles, Honest Beauty Bright Eyes Tinted Eye Cream both treats your under eye area as an eye cream and adds a bit of tint to brighten any unwanted darkness.
Bare Republic: Mineral SPF 30 Face Sunscreen Lotion
A daily facial sunscreen is also super important for overall skin health and lessening the appearance of dark circles. Make sure to look for a mineral based sunscreen (as opposed to chemical). One of our favorites is Bare Republic’s Mineral SPF 30 Face Sunscreen Lotion.
Best Makeup Remover
A gentle and effective makeup remover is so important, because if you irritate the skin around your eyes when removing makeup, it can make your dark circles look even worse. Look for a makeup remover that can be applied with a cotton pad – this is far more environmentally friendly than disposable makeup remover wipes.
Acure: Brightening Micellar Water
Try using a gentler micellar water like Acure’s Brightening Micellar Water. This formula includes probiotics, argan oil, and coconut oil to enhance your skin’s glow while helping to remove makeup.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dark Circles
Why do dark circles under eyes happen?
Dark circles under eyes happen for a number of reasons, many of which are due to lifestyle issues such as lack of sleep, dehydration, or smoking. Another culprit is eye strain, which occurs when we are staring at a computer or phone screen too long. Try to take periodic breaks when working to give your eyes a rest. The final lifestyle factor is overexposure to the sun, which can lead to an overproduction of melanin and cause dark circles under the eyes.
Unfortunately, there are also some factors that contribute to dark circles that we have no real control over– such as genetics, age, and allergies.
How can I visibly reduce dark circles?
One of the best and easiest ways to visibly reduce dark circles is to get the proper amount of sleep. You should aim for seven to nine hours a night. (Easier said than done for some, we know.) Additionally, you should apply eye cream and sunscreen everyday. Eye creams are made specifically to help with puffiness and dark under eye circles, and sunscreen will help protect your skin from sun damage.
What do dark circles under eyes mean?
Most of the time, nothing serious or harmful. The skin around your eye area is thinner and doesn’t have its own oil glands. This makes it more susceptible to signs of aging and makes blood vessels under the skin more noticeable. However, if you’re concerned about a possible underlying health issue, you should talk with your doctor.
Are dark circles under eyes normal?
Dark circles under eyes are common, and it generally doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you. You can lessen the look of dark circles by making sure you eat right and get enough sleep, but if you’re still worried there may be something more wrong, talk to your doctor.
Dark circles vs bags vs puffy eyes
Though often used interchangeably, dark circles, bags, and puffy eyes are all different things. Dark circles are the result of discoloration underneath your eyes. Bags are considered genetic and caused by weakened tissue as you age, whereas puffy eyes are considered temporary and the result of allergies, too much salt intake, or dehydration.
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