Dealing with under-eye dark circles is a common concern, and while they are typically temporary, the tired and dull appearance they impart to the face can be bothersome. Despite trying various under-eye creams or gels, the desired results may not always be achieved. This emphasizes the importance of a robust eye care routine complemented by straightforward home remedies. If you’re eager to naturally brighten the skin under your eyes, explore the top home remedies for dark circles below. Additionally, gain insights into the causes of dark circles and preventive care measures to enhance the effectiveness of your efforts.
What are Undereye Dark Circles?
Dark circles are unsightly patches formed under the lower eyelids, making us appear dull, tired, and older than our original age. They usually look dark brown, bluish, or purple based on the skin colors of the individuals and are extremely difficult to get rid of. The condition refers to hyperpigmentation around the eye area, which is attributed to several factors, including age, fatigue, and stress. While dark circles can affect people of all ages, genders, and identities, they are most common in older adults. The patches are also seen in non-white ethnic groups and people with a genetic predisposition to periorbital hyperpigmentation (1). Though dark circles are usually harmless, they can sometimes indicate underlying health conditions requiring medical attention.
Dark circles caused under the eyes cause the sagging of the skin. This makes the entire area look puffy or baggy.
Different Causes of Dark Circles
The undereye area looks darker because of the thinner skin and constricted blood vessels. Following are a few common contributing factors for this:
- The natural process of aging is a major cause of dark circles. Our skin produces less elastin as we age, and the skin under the eyes tends to lose collagen and fatty tissue. This turns the skin in that area thinner, which makes the appearance of the reddish-blue blood vessels underneath it more visible.
- Extreme fatigue causes the blood vessels under the eyes to dilate, which appear as ugly dark patches.
- Poor sleeping habits like oversleeping or staying up a few hours past bedtime can trigger fluid buildup beneath your eyes. These puffy eyelids often cast shadows, which appear like dark patches.
- In allergic rhinitis or hay fever, the body responds to harmful bacteria by releasing histamines. This dilates the under-eye blood vessels and causes dark shadows.
- Dark circles can result from skin conditions like atopic dermatitis (eczema), contact dermatitis, etc.
- Heredity or genetic predisposition can play a role in developing dark circles under the eyes.
- Pigmentation irregularities in people with darker skin tones can develop undereye dark circles (2).
- Excessive sun exposure prompts the body to produce more melanin pigment, which can also increase pigmentation in the skin surrounding the eyes,
- If your body lacks proper hydration, it will appear in the skin under your eyes, turning it dull, dark, and hollow.
Rubbing or scratching of the eyes, frequent crying, too much smoking or drinking, excess salt in the diet, iron deficiency, thyroid conditions, excessive strain on the eyes, and stress can also darken the area under the eyes.
7 Best Home Remedies for Dark Circles
In this post, we are sharing a few home remedies containing all-natural ingredients that you can use to help those dark circles vanish! Read about them below.
1. Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E is an antioxidant, meaning it removes the free radicals in your body to reduce signs of inflammation and aging. This helps your skin look healthy and young. You can get your daily dose of vitamin E by eating vitamin E-rich foods, like almonds, spinach, and sweet potatoes. However, using vitamin E oil in its concentrated form is the best way to benefit from its effects fully. You can purchase a strip of Vitamin E capsules from your chemist (we recommend trying Evion). Pop open a capsule with a scissor and empty out its vitamin E oil. Mix it with extra-virgin olive or coconut oil to form a concoction. Apply this under and around your eyes before going to bed, and rinse off the residual oil with warm water in the morning. Continue this treatment daily for the first month and on alternate days after that.
2. Mint Eye Pack
Mint is the embodiment of freshness. Hence, it is only natural that mint will refresh your tired eyes and prevent fatigue from setting in. Apply a paste by grinding a few mint leaves with water under the eyes. Leave the paste on for ten minutes, wash it off with warm water, and pat dry. Do this twice a week for the best results.
3. Cucumber Slices
This well-known remedy has cured tired eyes, bags under the eyes, and under-eye circles for ages. Cucumbers can inhibit tyrosinase activity with their vitamins and bioactive compounds, eventually reducing pigmentation under the eyes (3). Slice a cold, fresh cucumber and place one slice over each of your eyes. Take a short 20-minute nap with these cucumber slices in place. The nap will refresh your spirit, and the cucumber will restore your eyes by discouraging fluid accumulation under them and reducing any puffiness. Alternatively, apply some cucumber juice with a cotton ball under your eyes and leave it on for half an hour.
4. Potato Mask
Potato is known for its skin-lightening properties. It is a natural bleaching agent that lightens the skin when used regularly. It is enriched with starch, vitamins A & C, and various enzymes that nourish and moisturize the under-eye area to brighten dark discoloration. Moreover, the azelaic acid in the vegetable can reduce pigmentation and dark circles by significantly inhibiting tyrosinase activity s4). Being filled with many essential nutrients and antioxidants, potatoes can also keep the skin firm, smooth, and bright. Place cold potato slices under the eyes for twenty minutes. The chilled potatoes help reduce the swelling and inflammation of vessels under the eyes, reducing their puffed appearance. In the long run, this method also minimizes the appearance of dark circles.
5. Green Tea Bags
Green tea is packed with health-boosting properties and antioxidants. In addition, its phenolic compounds can inhibit the process of melanogenesis, thus decreasing the pigmentation around the eye area (5). If you often consume green tea to lead a healthy lifestyle, do not discard the tea bags immediately. Place a used tea bag under each of your tired eyes to rev them up and revive their spirit. Prolonged use for one month helps reduce the appearance of dark circles.
6. Avocado and Olive Oil
Avocado is rich in good fats and vitamins that keep your skin healthy and young. Mash a small piece of avocado and add a few drops of olive oil to it to form a paste. Apply this as an under-eye cream and wash it off with warm water after half an hour.
7. Ice Compress
Sometimes, you wake up with really puffy eyes and a bad case of dark circles. In such circumstances, you might want a quick fix to the problem, and we have just the solution for you. Try placing an ice pack on your eyes for 10 minutes as soon as you wake up. If you don’t have an ice pack, a few ice cubes wrapped in a towel is a great substitute. The ice helps constrict the blood vessels around your eyes, which helps lessen the appearance of dark circles. It also hydrates the under-eye area and helps get rid of any puffiness that may be present.
Use these remedies consistently for a month or two to see noticeable results. Also, keep your body hydrated and include healthy foods in your daily diet.
Medical Treatments for Dark Circles
Home remedies for dark circles have zero side effects and are much more affordable than branded under-eye care products available in stores. However, medical treatments can also give you a more effective and permanent solution to the problem. These include:
- Chemical Peels: These peels modulate the amount of melanin on the skin’s surface to eliminate dark circles (6).
- Laser Therapy: In this therapy, the skin around the eyes is resurfaced by targeting the pigmentation, which lightens dark circles and promotes collagen formation.
- Blepharopigmentation: This is also called getting a ‘medical tattoo’ as a pigment is injected into the thinning area under the eyes to remove dark circles effectively (7).
- Tissue Fillers conceal the prominent blood vessels and melanin under the eyes.
- Fat Removal: If the under-eye discoloration is caused by excess fat and skin, removing them can reveal a smoother and more even skin surface.
These cosmetic procedures are invasive and need medial intervention. Moreover they are quite painful, highly expensive, and require a long recovery time. Discuss your options with your doctor first.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How to Prevent Dark Circles Under Eyes?
Staying hydrated and resting adequately is usually enough to eliminate pesky dark circles. However, it is also essential to include nutrition-rich foods in your diet and get at least 8 hours of good night’s sleep every day.
What Deficiency Causes Dark Circles?
If iron is deficient in your body, you may develop dark circles. Iron deficiency leads to health conditions like anemia, in which the oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in the bloodstream can break down very quickly, thus making the thin, under-eye skin look dark or bruised.
What Should We Eat to Reduce Dark Circles?
You should consume more hydrating, mineral-rich foods, and circulation-boosting foods when healing dark circles.
What Vitamin is Good for Black Circles Under the Eyes?
Vitamin K helps enhance blood circulation throughout the body, essential for reducing the appearance of dark circles. Some vitamin K-rich foods include spinach, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, etc.
Are Dark Circles a Sign of Illness?
Dark circles can be removed with simple food and lifestyle changes, which are not necessarily signs of illness. However, if your dark circles do not go away after following the home remedies or making the necessary changes, you should consult the doctor.
- “Periorbital Hyperpigmentation: A Comprehensive Review,” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Periorbital Hyperpigmentation: Review of Etiology, Medical Evaluation, and Aesthetic Treatment,” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Exploring Cucumber Extract for Skin Rejuvenation,” AcademicJournals.org
- “Health Benefits and Cons of Solanum tuberosum,” PlantsJournal.com
- “Inhibition of Tyrosinase by Green Tea Components,” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Chemical Peeling with Trichloroacetic Acid and Lactic Acid for Infraorbital Dark Circles,” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Inadvertent Pigmentation of the Limbus during Cosmetic Blepharopigmentation,” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov