Dark circles appearing under the eyes are due to a cosmetic skin effect that makes you look pale, older, tired and unhealthy in general. We have all seen ourselves in the mirror sometimes and got shocked by how those purple shadows under our eyes make us look!
Causes of dark circles
Dark circles under the eyes are due to various causes. In general, they result from an unfortunate combination of lack of sleep, genes, smoking and so on. Below you can read about the most common causes in order of importance.
1. Age – take care of your skin!
As you age, your skin loses its elasticity due to reduced levels of collagen in your skin. Collagen is a fibrous protein that gives your skin its elasticity and form. Older skin starts drooping, which makes folds and shadows form. You have a layer of fat around your eyes that gets thinner as you age, resulting in a hollow-eyed look. This also contributes to dark circles under your eyes. It is important to use moisturising creams and to avoid excessive exposure to the sun as it quickens the ageing of your skin.
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2. Sleep problems should not be underestimated
Lack of sleep makes your skin paler. The capillaries, the finest veins in the body that carry deoxygenated blood back to the heart and lungs, are more visible through pale skin. Deoxygenated blood is darker and can be a little purple compared to bright red blood full of oxygen. This is why low oxygen levels in your face make the skin turn blue. The pigmentation of your skin combined with deoxygenated blood can cause the purple colour to become even stronger if the combination is unfavourable. Dark circles due to lack of sleep usually appear immediately, and can be alleviated quickly through enough sleep. Many people can sleep if they have the time, but sadly, others cannot get enough sleep even if they have time. It is important to avoid sleeping pills and try to achieve enough sleep through a healthy lifestyle.
3. Genetic causes
Genes are the most important cause of dark circles under your eyes. Larger cavities causing deeper shadows around your eyes can be related to the specific bone structure of your face. The skin under the eyes is always thin, but some people have larger capillaries that make the blue colour under their eyes become more distinct. If you have very little pigment, this can cause your capillaries to be more visible. There is nothing you can do about genetic causes, but you may alleviate your problem by following the advice given in the following paragraphs.
4. Allergies/illnesses that can cause nasal congestion
Nasal congestion causes capillaries around the eyes to extend and become more visible. Nasal congestion also causes poor sleep that results in paler skin – not a good combination! Many allergies cause nasal congestion, for example pollen allergy. Do what you can to relieve your symptoms, and use over-the-counter allergy medications when symptoms are at their worst.
5. Rough treatment of the eyes
One thing you should consider is to be careful when you scratch yourself in the eyes. The skin around your eyes is very thin and the vessels beneath the skin lie close to the surface and are also very thin (capillaries). If you rub, scratch or if you dry yourself too roughly after a shower or when you put on lotion, small bruises can develop.
Smoking, snuffing and especially the nicotine have a negative effect on your body’s blood circulation. Before serious problems start to appear, this causes a skin tone that is more greyish than normal. The capillaries are the first vessels to be affected by an impeded blood flow. Deoxygenated blood stays for longer, and together with an ashen coloured skin this has a negative effect on the circles under your eyes. When you stop using nicotine you can expect a big change in the colour of your skin that happens gradually during the first months, and depends on how much nicotine you used before you quit.
7. Poor diet
Refuelling your body, the vehicle you use to move around, with the right fuel is important for many reasons. Having a poor diet over a long period of time often results in overweight, which leads to lack of exercise. These things combined cause a poorer blood flow, which causes capillaries in your body to turn blue and your skin to become paler. However, fat conceals superficial blood vessels effectively, depending on where fat depots are situated in the body. Depending on how you look at it, there are both advantages and disadvantages of having a tendency of storing fat in the face. Many cosmetic problems can be tracked to poor eating habits and a lack of minerals and vitamins. Below are a few important aspects that affect circles under your eyes.
– Too much salt can impede your blood flow and cause your body to retain water, resulting in baggy eyes.
– Too little vitamin K and B makes your skin look pale and unhealthy.
– Too little water is not good for your skin, which needs a lot of water every day.
– Make sure to take vitamin supplements, especially those containing oxidants. You seldom get everything you need from food.
8 Too little exercise and fresh air
Too little fresh air is something English people suffer from during the winter months. When the sun is shining, and even if it is cold, you should take an extra walk on your lunch break and when you have some free time. Sunlight is good for your body and gives your skin an extra skin tone. All forms of exercise are good for you in many ways. When it comes to circles under your eyes, you should make sure to keep your blood flow going, and that can be done by doing some exercise such as light jogging. Why not combine outdoor jogging when the sun is shining in the winter, a very nice experience that is good for you!
Treatment – there is help!
The best way to treat dark circles under your eyes is to read the eight paragraphs above and do what you can to manage them. There are, however, other ways to reduce dark circles, such as capillary dilation creams, make-up and surgery.
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