Whether you’re constantly burning the midnight oil or just suffer from resting tired face, you probably aren’t a stranger to one of skincare’s most dreaded and pressing concerns: under eye darkness. Under eye circles tend to fluctuate with changes of seasons, changes in lifestyle, and inescapable changes in age. While you may be tempted to cover those bad boys with a heavy layer of concealer, try listening to what your skin is telling you to find some lasting solutions.
What it is
Under eye darkness is usually caused by blood pooling beneath the thin skin under the eyes. Pooling occurs when the blood vessels around your eyes constrict due to inflammation. Darkness is most noticeable in the morning because you’ve spent the last 8 hours laying down, without the help of gravity to get that blood moving. In some cases, and most often in those with dark skin, under eye darkness might appear brown or reddish. This is generally not caused by blood pooling, but rather by hyperpigmentation around the eyes.
What causes it
Dark circles have a variety of causes, including heredity. However, some causes are more preventable and easy to fix. These include:
- Allergies & Congestion: When you are stuffed up, the blood vessels around your eyes dilate, causing the area around your eyes to darken
- Sleep deprivation: No sleep equals high inflammation levels, making it hard for your inflamed blood vessels to drain the blood from under your eyes.
- Too much salt: Loading up on salt causes fluid retention all over the body, and can increase darkness and puffiness under the eyes.
- Crying: Adding insult to injury, shedding tears increases inflammation around the eyes, leading to dark circles.
- Age: If you notice your circles getting darker as the years go on, you’re not alone. As we age, the skin around the eyes thins, making the blood under the skin more visible.
- Hyperpigmentation: If your under eye darkness is brown and doesn’t fluctuate, it may be hyperpigmentation caused by heredity, sun exposure, or trauma to the eye area.
How to treat it
- Hydrate: Water fixes everything! Since dark circles intensify when the body is dehydrated, drink plenty of water to keep skin plump and minimize inflammation.
- Manage congestion: If allergies are to blame, consider seeing a doctor and taking an antihistamine until your symptoms clear up.
- Boost collagen: If you suspect your dark circles are due to skin aging, pick up a serum infused with peptides and plant stem cells like my PSC Peptide Serum to increase collagen production. You can also thicken the epidermis by using a safe microneedling tool like my Collagen-Boosting Microroller to plump and reduce dark circles.
- Cool it down: To minimize inflammation, use a cooling tool like my StackedSkincare Ice Roller. Just pop it in the freezer and gently roll over the eye rea to reduce dark circles. You can also place your eye cream in the refrigerator for a quick treatment.
- Add another pillow: If you notice intense darkness when you wake up, try propping your head up with an additional pillow while you sleep to discourage blood from pooling. You should also try to sleep on your back to minimize trauma to your skin.
- Treat hyperpigmentation: If you suspect your circles are due to hyperpigmentation, start applying an eye cream with SPF to control the issue. You can also use a super mild face peel like my TCA Multi-Acid Face Peel to spot treat dark areas. Just carefully apply a small amount with a Qtip twice a week to help lift the hyperpigmentation.