10 Causes of Dark Under-Eye Circles (And How to Get Rid Of Them)


As you age, you develop poor circulation and fluid build-up around your eyes, making that area look darker. It’s the oxygen-poor blood that causes the darkness you see under your eyes because the skin under your eyes is thin and fragile.


Hyperpigmentation is a description of the dark skin under your eyes. Hyperpigmentation is caused by melanin, an amino acid that’s responsible for darker skin color. Melanin helps you get a tan when you’re at the beach. Lack of oxygen to the blood vessels around your eyes is one cause of excess pigment under your eyes.


Not getting enough sleep also contributes to dark skin under your eyes. Staying up too late then waking up early disrupts your sleep schedule. It’s important to keep a regular sleep routine for you to get completely rested.

You should get around 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Turn off all your electronic devices for several hours before you go to bed. The blue screens in these devices affect your sleep cycle, keeping you awake when you need to wind down before bed.

Find ways to relax before bedtime, like reading a book or taking a bath. As you relax, you will fall asleep quicker and stay asleep. A good night’s sleep also reduces your eye strain, which contributes to dark under-eye circles.


When your body is stressed, it sends more blood to your organs to compensate. This makes your face look pale, and dark circles appear under your eyes. It’s like you’re wearing the stress on your face.  Try exercising or yoga as a healthy way to reduce your daily stress.


If you have nasal congestion from allergies, it triggers dark circles under your eyes. The congestion from the allergies affects the small veins under your eyes, making them look swollen and puffy. Blood pools in these areas, dilating the veins, so you get dark circles. Colds and sinus infections will do the same thing. If you think you have allergies, try to figure out what’s causing them. The most common sources of allergies include

  • Outdoor pollen, hay fever, or seasonal allergies
  • Mold, pet dander, or dust mites
  • Food allergies
  • Smoke, chemicals, or scents


It’s easy to focus more on how to get rid of the dark circles under your eyes than what’s causing them.  A huge contributing factor can be your diet. If you’re not getting proper nutrition, you won’t look your best. 


If you have thyroid disease, you’ll get dark circles under your eyes. This is because thyroid disease influences fluid retention around your eyes. The skin under your eyes gets pulled down and puffy looking.


After a long day of studying your computer screen, your eyes feel tired. This puts a strain on the blood vessels under your eyes, making the bulge and causing the fragile skin under your eyes to turn dark. Be sure to take breaks from your computer to relax your eyes. You can also do eye exercises to rest your eyes and stimulate blood circulation under your eyes to avoid darkness under your eyes.


Being out in the sun boosts vitamin D, but it also causes dark circles under your eyes. Sun exposure increases the melanin in your skin pigment, especially around your eyes, because that’s where your skin is thin. Wear sunscreen and sunglasses when you’re outside in the sun to avoid too much melanin around your eyes.


If you’re dehydrated, you’re apt to have dark circles under your eyes. The fragile skin under your eyes will look dark and dull. It’s recommended that men have at least 3,000 mL (around 13 cups) fluids per day, and women should have 2,200mL (9 cups) fluids per day. Here are a few tips to ensure you drink enough fluids every day.

  • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink fluid. This typically means you’re already dehydrated.
  • Sip water between bites of food at meals
  • Drink a glass of water when you take pills
  • Drink a full glass of water before exercise
  • Use moderation when drinking alcohol since it can dehydrate you.



If you suffer from allergies that cause nasal congestion, try taking a decongestant to help relieve the puffiness and dark under your eyes. Nasal sprays are also effective in reducing congestion. If possible, try to determine what you’re allergic to and remove or reduce the allergen in your home.


Every night before bed, wash your face to remove any makeup, dirt, or dust, then smear an eye moisturizer under your eyes. Ingredients like vitamin C or retinol are good to eliminate dark circles.


Another popular dark circle remedy is putting cold spoons under your eyes. Leave the spoons under your eyes for 30 minutes. The coldness reduces inflammation and puffiness. Under-eye masks or patches work well too.


Smoking affects your skin cells, causing them to break down, so you have wrinkles and dark circles under your eyes. Smoking makes you look older and haggard.


Another simple way to reduce the swelling under your eyes is to lay a chilled slice of cucumber under your eyes for 30 minutes. The coolness reduces any swelling or puffiness. Also, cucumbers are high in vitamin K, which improves the blood flow to your skin.


It’s easy to rub your eyes when you’re tired, but the frequent rubbing of your eyes causes the dark circles under your eyes to appear even darker. Because the skin under your eyes is so thin, you may accidentally break the blood vessels in the area, which makes the skin look darker or bruised. If you wake up with dark circles under your eye, it could mean you’re rubbing your eyes in your sleep.

Dark circles aren’t attractive. They make you look tired and older. You may not realize there are many everyday things you’re doing that contribute to your dark circles. Eating a healthy diet, lack of sleep, stress, and overexposure to the sun are common culprits.  Once you figure out your dark circles’ cause, create healthy eye care habits to get rid of your dark under eye circles once and for all.

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