Under-eye dark circles are one of the most common issues that almost all of us experience at times. Though they are usually temporary and not to be worried about, the tiredness and dullness they add to the face are often very irritating. No matter how many under eye creams or gels you try, sometimes they just do not fade in any way. Here comes the importance of a robust eye care routine, which needs to be followed along with the application of a few simple home remedies. If you are ready to brighten up the skin under your eyes naturally, do check out the best home remedies for dark circles given below. Also, know more about dark circles, their causes, and possible preventive care in order to get the best out of your efforts.
What are Undereye Dark Circles?
Dark circles are unsightly patches formed under the lower eyelids that make us appear dull, tired, and older than our original age. They usually look dark brown or bluish or purple based on the skin colors of the individuals and are extremely difficult to get rid of. The condition basically refers to the hyperpigmentation around the eye area, which is attributed to a number of factors including age, fatigue, and stress. While dark circles can affect people of all ages, genders, and identities, they are most common in elderly people. 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, thereby 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 as well as the presence of constricted blood vessels. Following are a few common contributing factors for this:
- The natural process of aging is a major cause of dark circles. As we grow older, our skin produces less elastin and the skin under the eyes tends to lose collagen as well as 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 your normal bedtime can trigger fluid-buildups beneath your eyes. These puffy eyelids often cast shadows, which appear like dark patches.
- In allergies including 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 lead to the development of undereye dark circles (2).
- Excessive sun exposure prompts the body to produce more melanin pigment, which can increase pigmentation in the skin surrounding the eyes too.
- If your body lacks proper hydration, it will show up in the skin under your eyes by turning it dull, dark, and sunken.
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 present 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 fully benefit from its effects. 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 the vitamin E oil present in it. Mix it with some extra-virgin olive oil 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 thereafter.
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. Create a paste by grinding a few mint leaves with water and apply it 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.
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3. Cucumber Slices
This is a well-known remedy that has been curing tired eyes, bags under the eyes, and under-eye circles for ages. Cucumber can inhibit the tyrosinase activity with its vitamins and bioactive compounds, which eventually reduces the 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 refresh your eyes by discouraging fluid accumulation under them and reducing any puffiness. Alternatively, you can even try applying some cucumber juice under your eyes with a cotton ball and leaving it on for half an hour.
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4. Potato Mask
Potato is known for its skin-lightening properties. It acts as 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 present in the vegetable can reduce pigmentation and fade dark circles by inhibiting tyrosinase activity significantly (4). Being filled with many essential nutrients and antioxidants, potato 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 the puffed appearance of them. In the long run, this method minimizes the appearance of dark circles as well.
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5. Green Tea Bags
Green tea is packed with health-boosting properties and antioxidants. In addition, the phenolic compounds in it 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 available, 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, there are medical treatments too that can give you a more effective and permanent solution to the problem. These include:
- Chemical Peels: These peels modulate the amount of melanin present in the skin surface in order 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: Basically, these fillers are used to conceal the prominent blood vessels and melanin under the eyes.
- Fat Removal: If the under-eye discoloration is caused by excess fat and skin, this process can reveal a smoother and more even skin surface by removing them.
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.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How to Prevent Dark Circles Under Eyes?
Staying hydrated and having adequate rest is usually enough to get rid of 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 there is a deficiency of iron 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 breakdown very easily, thus making the thin under-eye skin look dark or bruised.
What Should We Eat to Reduce Dark Circles?
When it comes to healing dark circles, you should consume more foods that are hydrating, mineral-rich, and circulation-boosting.
What Vitamin is Good for Black Circles Under the Eyes?
Vitamin K helps in enhancing the circulation of blood throughout the body, which is 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 some simple food and lifestyle changes and hence, is not necessarily a sign of illness. However, if your dark circles do not go away even 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