What Causes Dark Circles Under Eyes

Dark Circles Under Eyes

Dark circles under eyes can be embarrassing, but they can also be caused by a number of different factors that are relatively easy to treat. Here’s what causes dark circles under eyes and how you can get rid of them!


Common causes of dark circles

Dark circles under eyes can be caused by a variety of things, including lifestyle habits and health conditions. If you’re looking for what causes dark circles under eyes, then it might help to know that they are most commonly caused by one of four main factors: genetics, aging, health problems, or diet and lifestyle. Although there isn’t much you can do about genetics or aging (yet), there are other ways to get rid of dark circles under eyes. But first let’s discuss some more common causes…

Sleep deprivation

If you’re frequently getting less than seven hours of sleep per night, you might have dark circles under your eyes. Not only is sleep deprivation linked to health problems like diabetes and obesity, but it’s also directly connected to puffiness and dark circles. Sleep deprivation also affects your appearance in other ways—it can cause dry skin and hair loss, for example. Interestingly enough, sleep actually drives nutrient transport in our bodies. And when we don’t get enough sleep, our cells are weakened and unable to maintain optimal health—which shows up in all sorts of ways, including visible signs of aging (like wrinkles).


If you notice dark circles under your eyes, it could be caused by an allergy. If your symptoms include watery or itchy eyes, sneezing and nasal congestion, chances are you have allergies. Try taking antihistamines and drinking lots of water to get rid of excess mucus in your sinuses. Don’t forget to use a humidifier as well — using one can help relieve sinus pressure that can cause dark circles under eyes.

Hormonal Changes

Our hormones can fluctuate over time, and when they do, they can cause dark circles to appear under our eyes. Skin color is controlled by a pigment called melanin that is produced in our bodies by specialized cells called melanocytes. These tiny glands are located near blood vessels on our skin’s surface—which is where hormone fluctuations can mess with melanin production and cause a shift in skin tone. Women are especially prone to hormonal changes that affect their menstrual cycle or pregnancy; both of these situations can trigger dark circles under eyes. Hormonal fluctuations also happen during menopause—and many women who experience menopause report dark circles under eyes as well as other symptoms such as irregular periods and insomnia.


One of the most common causes of dark circles is dehydration. Many people, especially women, wake up with dark circles under their eyes simply because they haven’t had enough water throughout the day. Most of us don’t drink enough water in general—it takes your body 8 glasses per day to operate properly and efficiently. If you have dark circles under your eyes and feel tired a lot, try adding an extra glass of water to your daily routine; you may be surprised at how much it improves your energy levels. And if it turns out that dehydration isn’t causing your dark circles, use a hydrating eye cream each morning before applying makeup to treat them from below. But always make sure you start off by hydrating well!


The most common cause of dark circles under eyes is sun damage. When too much UV radiation makes its way to your face, it can affect skin cell production and accelerate aging, giving you those dreaded bags under your eyes. Sun protection isn’t just for summer—wear a hat or sunglasses when you go outside, even on overcast days. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and remember to reapply after two hours outside or immediately after swimming or sweating. As long as your main source of vitamin D is through food (chicken liver anyone?), taking a supplement won’t help either; these tend to get converted into other types of vitamin A in our bodies anyway.

Pregnancy & Postpartum

It’s not uncommon for new moms to experience dark circles under their eyes in pregnancy and postpartum. Changes in hormone levels from pregnancy can cause changes in skin color and tone, contributing to a dull or grayish appearance. Hormone changes can also cause blood vessels to become more prominent, which can make it appear as though you have dark circles under your eyes—even if you don’t. Swollen or puffy eyelids can also contribute to dark circles under your eyes during pregnancy and postpartum, making them seem like they’re getting darker by the day. Fortunately, there are easy steps you can take at home to minimize dark circles under your eyes while you enjoy motherhood.

Sun Damage and Age Spots

Age spots, also known as liver spots, are flat brownish or black discolorations caused by too much sun exposure. They’re called age spots because they become more common as we get older; people in their 50s and 60s are more likely to have them than those in their 20s. Age spots can be lightened by a dermatologist or aesthetician. And while there’s no way to prevent them altogether, staying out of the sun—and wearing a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher if you do go outside—can reduce your risk of getting new ones.

7 Ways to Get Rid of Dark Circles Under Your Eyes

Many people have dark circles under their eyes, whether it’s from genetics or lack of sleep or other factors. Dark circles under your eyes can make you look tired and older than you are, so many people look for ways to get rid of them without surgery. Here are eight natural and effective ways to get rid of dark circles under your eyes naturally.

How To Get Rid Of Dark Circles

Excess salt can also make us look older. Excessive sodium will cause fluid retention, which in turn causes fluid to pool beneath your eyes, leaving dark shadows and making you look tired and exhausted. If you want to get rid of dark circles under your eyes for good, it’s important that you reduce your daily sodium intake. Aim for no more than 2,300 milligrams per day. There are a number of ways to do so: avoid processed foods as much as possible; choose low-sodium options when dining out; and don’t add extra salt at home. Don’t worry—you won’t be sacrificing flavor! You can still enjoy all your favorite dishes by adding herbs, spices or lemon juice instead.

1) Eat Healthier

While dark circles don’t actually have anything to do with eating healthier, they might be caused by malnutrition and undernourishment. For example, if you don’t get enough nutrients or calories from your diet, it can affect how your body produces blood vessels and hormones that stimulate blood flow. As a result, less blood reaches parts of your face (which includes your eyes), causing them to look darker than usual.

2) Caffeine Is Your Friend

Lack of sleep and insomnia can lead to dark circles, but caffeine—particularly green tea—can help combat their appearance. The caffeine content in green tea has been shown to have a synergistic effect with catechins, an antioxidant found in green tea that helps reduce dark under-eye circles, says New York City dermatologist Dr.

3) Exercise More

Exercising at least 30 minutes a day can help keep your body fit, which makes it easier for your skin cells to produce enough collagen and elastin fibers, which help your skin retain moisture. This will, in turn, reduce those bags under your eyes. In addition to exercise, a balanced diet that’s high in water-soluble vitamins (i.e., B vitamins) and minerals can also improve dark circles.

4) Sleep Better

Sleep deprivation contributes to dark circles. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you may find yourself waking up in a puffy-eyed state, which ultimately can make your dark circles look even darker. Get a good night’s rest by limiting blue light exposure from electronics and setting a consistent sleep schedule. Incorporate plenty of antioxidants into your diet, such as vitamin C and beta-carotene.

5) Use an Eyelid Serum

Eyelid serums are easy to apply and can help reduce bags under your eyes. There are many great anti-aging ingredients that are helpful in reducing dark circles under your eyes, including caffeine, licorice root extract, cucumber extract, vitamins C and E and peptides. If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to address eye bags, try an eyelid serum!

6) Try These Natural Remedies

If you’re looking for natural remedies, vitamin K can help. It’s a common ingredient in multivitamins and is also available as a standalone supplement. Research shows that if you take 500 mg of vitamin K daily for 12 weeks, you can improve dark circles under your eyes. Another great remedy is cucumber juice, which can cool blood vessels around your eyes, reducing puffiness and darkness. It also helps control fluid retention in your body.

7) Ice Pack Trick

The quickest, easiest way to get rid of dark circles is with an ice pack! The cooling effect helps constricts blood vessels and helps reduce swelling under your eyes. It’s also a great remedy for eye bags caused by fluid buildup. Wrap an ice pack in a thin towel and rest it on your eyes for about 15 minutes.