Definition of under-eye circles (dark circles under eyes)
If you get plenty of sleep and still have dark circles under your eyes, that’s not unusual. Fatigue isn’t the only reason for dark circles under your eyes. What appear to be dark circles under your eyes are sometimes just shadows cast by puffy eyelids or hollows under your eyes that develop as a normal part of aging.
Causes of under-eye circles (dark circles under eyes)
Here are some of the most common causes of true under-eye circles.
- Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
- Contact dermatitis
- Heredity â€” dark under-eye circles can run in families
- Pigmentation irregularities — these are a particular concern for people of color, especially blacks and Asians
- Rubbing or scratching your eyes
- Sun exposure, which prompts your body to produce more melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color
- Thinning skin and loss of fat and collagen — common as you age — can make the reddish-blue blood vessels under your eyes more obvious
When to see a doctor
If discoloration and swelling appear under just one eye and seem to get worse over time, talk to your primary care doctor. If you want a more lasting solution than concealers and over-the-counter creams can provide, see your dermatologist for advice.
Depending on what’s causing the circles under your eyes, your doctor may recommend prescription creams or a combination of treatments to erase or reduce discoloration. Laser therapy or chemical peels can be helpful in some cases. Hollows that cause shadows can be smoothed with injectable fillers, and surgery can eliminate puffy lids.
However, dark under-eye circles usually aren’t a medical problem, and home remedies for dark circles under eyes may be all you need to help manage this condition.
Mild to moderate dark circles often respond well to simple and inexpensive treatments, such as:
- Cold. Try a cold compress, two chilled teaspoons or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a soft cloth to temporarily reduce dilated and discolored under-eye blood vessels.
- Extra pillows. Elevate your head with two or more pillows to prevent puffiness that develops when fluid pools in your lower eyelids.
- Extra sleep. Although short nights don’t usually cause under-eye circles, a lack of sleep makes you paler and more hollow-eyed, so shadows and circles you already have become more obvious.