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What Causes Dark Circles Under the Eyes? — And How to (Really) Get Rid of Them

Bad case of raccoon eyes? Dark circles under and around the eyes aren’t pleasant to look at or deal with. Unfortunately, they can add years to your face, make you seem tired, and your face look dull. While we might get used to applying makeup to the area to minimize their appearance, getting to the root causes of dark circles can make a world of difference.

What causes dark circles?

Genetics and old age can certainly play a role in the formation of dark circles, but they’re not the only cause. Sure, if pigmented skin around the eyes runs in your family, you’re more likely to see them show up. But as it turns out, certain aspects of your lifestyle could be making them worse.

Dark circles tend to appear more as you age because the fat content and collagen in your skin declines over time. As the years go by, your skin becomes thinner, causing the blood vessels and veins beneath the skins surface to show through more. This can make the pigment of the skin appear darker.

However, skin aging isn’t all doom and gloom. Adding healthy fats, more skin-boosting foods, and supplements could improve the appearance of dark circles. Try eating things like chia seeds, avocados, and salmon which are all naturally rich in omega-3 fats. What’s more, you can also try adding a collagen supplement to your routine. There’s nothing better for your skin that nourishing it from the inside out! Check out some of our favorites here.

Another common culprit behind dark under-eye circles is dehydration. When the body is dehydrated, major organs like the skin also become dehydrated. Dry skin around the eyes can appear thinner and more shriveled, giving the eyes a sunken, dull look. To combat this problem, make sure you’re drinking enough water (that’s about half your weight in ounces) each day to keep your hydration levels up. On top of that, try adding water-rich foods like cucumber to your diet.

Sun damage to the skin can also make dark circles under the eyes appear. When your skin is over-exposed to the sun, it produces extra melanin which gives it a darker pigment. To fight it, always make sure that you’re wearing sunscreen on your face, focusing on the area around your eyes.

Straining your eyes and allergies may also cause dark circles. This is because both trigger your blood vessels to enlarge just below the skins surface, giving the skin a darker tone. To reduce strain on your eyes, minimize your time staring at screens as much as possible. If you work on a computer all day, take five minute breaks every hour, shutting your eyes for a little while if possible to give them a rest. As for allergies, try to avoid rubbing itchy eyes to reduce swelling.

If any of these problems are contributing to your dark circles, try addressing the root causes by taking preventative measures to see if they improve. And of course, if your eyes need a little extra TLC, you can also try one of of these all-natural solutions right at home.

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