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About dark circles under the eyes

Updated April 17, 2017

Dark circles under the eyes appear when blood leaks from the capillaries underneath the eyes to produce a blackened or shadowy effect on the surrounding skin. Skin naturally gets thinner as you age, so that with time, dark circles may become increasingly obvious. Although they are common and are not harmful, the appearance of dark circles can make you feel self-conscious and unattractive.

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According to the NHS Research website, the main causes of dark circles are age and heredity. Thinning skin and weakened capillaries are symptoms of ageing, while an inherited pale skin tone also makes under-eye circles appear more obvious. Lack of sleep or water and conditions such as illness and anaemia worsen the appearance of dark circles because skin tone becomes paler when you are tired, dehydrated, sick or suffering from iron deficiency. Dark circles may also appear under the eyes of people who have developed allergies; these are known as allergic "shiners," according to Dr. Adrian Morris, at the Surrey Allergy Clinic, London.


You can help to reduce the appearance of dark circles with a healthy diet that includes iron-rich foods, fruit, vegetables and an adequate intake of fluids. Sleep for at least seven to eight hours each night and avoid overexposure to sunlight because this increases levels of melanin in the skin, which further darkens under-eye circles, according to the NHS Research website.

Non-Surgical Eye Treatments

The Court House Clinic recommends hylauronic acid injections as a non-surgical treatment for under-eye dark circles. This treatment is performed as an outpatient procedure and involves a series of facial injections to fill in lines and wrinkles and to disguise dark circles, using a clear, biodegradable gel that is known as hylauronic acid.

Natural Remedies

You can apply topical treatments for dark circles using everyday ingredients from your kitchen store cupboard. These can have a cooling effect upon your skin, which helps to constrict blood capillaries and may reduce the appearance of dark circles. For example, mix a few drops of tomato juice, a few drops of lemon juice with a pinch of turmeric powder and a pinch of gram flour. Apply this paste to the under-eye area, leave for 10 minutes and then carefully rinse with cotton pads soaked in cold water. You can also apply cucumber juice or potato juice, or a wet, cold tea bag to the area under your eyes. Avoid getting any of the ingredients into your eyes.

Cosmetic Camouflage

Beauty products such as foundation creams and concealer creams can help to disguise under-eye dark circles. It is important to choose the right shade of foundation and concealer for your skin tone and to apply it correctly. Seek expert advice on shades and application from an assistant from a reputable cosmetics company before you decide to buy.

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About the Author

Mother of three and graduate of the London Metropolitan University, Julie Vickers is an early years teacher and writer who also loves to craft and create! She writes on topics such as education, health and parenting for websites such as School Explained and has contributed learning sessions on child development and behavior for the Education Information and Learning Services website.

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