If we lived in a fair world dark circles would be a punishment for stopping out too late and partying into the early hours. They would have nothing to do with age at all.
But life just isn’t like that – no matter how much of an early to bed kind of person you are – over a certain age – deep dark hollows may still shock you in the morning mirror. If you are prone to getting them you probably hate the way they make you look tired or ill and certainly a lot older than you really are.
Whilst the area round your eyes does get deeper and darker with age – there’s more to it than that. There are quite a few reasons why we get them and you can take action to make them better.
First off though – you are not alone!
Most people get them
Dark circles are present in most people to a degree. It may not appear that way if you suffer badly but could just be that some people do a great job of covering theirs up.
The skin under our eyes is the thinnest in the whole of our bodies allowing the blood flowing through the capillaries to show as a bluish dark color.
Although we are all susceptible – some of us are more likely to get under eye circles and these are the most common causes:
1. Blame it on your parents
Genes play a part – as in most things – the transparency and thinness of your skin is inherited.
The thinner and more transparent the skin on your face the more likely it is you’ll have eye circles. Genes are also responsible for the strength of your capillaries – the tiny blood vessels that carry blood under your skin.
Weakened capillary walls make the under eye area darker just as they cause varicose veins or spider veins in your legs. So – if you have the ‘dark circle gene’ there isn’t much you can do about it – you’re just more likely to get them.
2. Bone structure
The structure of your face will influence how dark the area under your eye appears. If you have deep set eyes, shadowing will contribute to the overall impression of darkness under your eyes making the circles look much worse. Bone structure is also inherited so again this is something you are stuck with.
3. Dark circles can be a sign of anemia
Anemia is quite common and is caused by iron deficiency or a lack of balanced nutrients in the body. Much worse for women especially in pregnancy or during menstruation.
Anemia doesn’t cause under eye circles but it will make your skin very pale and so the dark area under your eyes will be much more obvious. You can improve your diet – iron rich foods include green vegetables, lean meat and brown wholemeal breads – or you can take anti aging supplements to make sure iron deficiency isn’t a problem.
4. Sun damage
Hyperpigmentation results in higher levels of melanin in the delicate skin around the eyes which darkens unattractively. To avoid making dark circles worse – wear a high factor UV protection and proper sunglasses which fully shade the eye area.
5. Why dark circles deepen with age
Unfortunately as we get older collagen levels decline and skin becomes thinner and less resilient allowing the blood vessels to show through. Capillary strength also declines which is a bit of a double whammy as far as eye circles is concerned.
Treat the delicate skin around your eyes carefully and use a good general eye cream day and night. Or even better – rather than a general cream you might want to go for an eye cream for dark circles which will be specifically formulated to deal with the problem.
6. Check your medication
Some forms of medication can cause increased dilation of blood vessels. If you have started a course of medication recently you may find that your under eye circles appear worse or even show for the first time if you never had them before.
The good news is this could be a temporary effect which will go once the medication is stopped.
7. Are you drinking enough water?
Circles under your eyes can be a sign the body is lacking water. Keep your hydration levels up especially in the heat or when taking exercise.
8. Lack of sleep makes dark circles show up more
Most people think that lack of sleep causes that panda eyed look – it doesn’t. There is a relationship but what actually happens is that too little sleep will make you look pale and so the dark area will show up more.
The answer is simple and obvious – get to bed in good time and give your mind and body a good night’s sleep – regularly.
The causes of eye circles may be outside our control but cosmetic science is coming up with answers – eye creams and gels are getting better and better at targeting the problem. And of course – if you want to disguise the problem – you can buy an excellent light reflecting under eye concealer.
So if you want the best possible answer to your dark circles – combine effective under eye skin care and make up with a good diet, careful sun protection, plenty of water and lots of rest.