Using caffeinated eye creams and serums or those containing naturally hydrating ingredients can improve the appearance of dark eye circles considerably. Alternatively, use a naturally moisturising and illuminating concealer such as the natural makeup products listed below.
Dark circles under the eyes are incredibly common and often not a cause for concern, aside from aesthetic values. Some people may be worried they look tired or overworked and try to cover them up. But it may surprise you to know that dark circles don’t always come from a lack of sleep.
Though they can affect anyone, dark circles are more common in:
• older adults
• people with a genetic predisposition[i]
• people who are more prone to hyperpigmentation around the eye area
Fatigue may seem like the popular conception of why dark circles appear, and although it may be a factor, they are many other reasons why dark circles may appear. Dark circles may just be a natural part of your genetic makeup and appearance.
That said, it is a very common cause of dark circles under the eye. Sleep deprivation can dull the skin and make dark circles stand out more. This is when dark tissues and blood vessels beneath your skin may appear more visible and pronounced. Sleep deprivation can also cause puffy eyelids which can accentuate the dark circles.
The natural ageing process can make dark eye circles appear. This may be associated with the thinning of the skin under the eyes and the decrease in collagen, which contributes to the elasticity of the skin. As this occurs, the dark blood vessels beneath your skin may become more visible.
It is worth pointing out that this process is entirely natural. However, there may be products and self-care techniques which can slow or even reverse this process, helping you to maintain a youthful and fresh appearance for longer[ii].
Overuse or straining of the eye:
Staring at a TV, computer or phone screen may cause strain on your eyes. This strain can enlarge the blood vessels surrounding the eye tissue. As a result, the surrounding skin may appear darker.
Eye allergies and sensitivities may produce swelling around the eyes which can trigger the appearance of dark circles as your body releases histamines. Puffy eyes may be accompanied by itchiness, redness and dryness in this case. Allergies can cause inflammation, swelling, and broken blood vessels in the tissue around the eyes. See our advice on allergies.
Also consider booking a nutritional therapy consultation with us to ascertain which allergies may be an issue for you, how to test for them and the best protocol for you to regain health.
Another common cause of dark circles under your eyes, inadequate hydration may make the skin around the eyes appear dull and sunken.
Sun exposure can cause your body to produce an excess of melanin, the pigment in your skin. Overexposure can cause the skin around the eyes to darken more than you may desire.
It is interesting that genetics may have a part to play, this may explain why some individuals display darker circles under their eyes since childhood. Predispositions to other conditions in the family, such as autoimmune thyroid disease, may also result in dark circles beneath your eyes.
Anaemia is described as when levels of red blood cells drop to lower levels. This may be accompanied by signs and symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, light-headedness, shortness of breath and general unexplained tiredness.
Anaemia may also result in paler skin, lips and nails. Please read our feature on anaemia here. If you are concerned about anaemia or your iron levels it may be worth booking a consultation for a nutritional therapy appointment with us to help you get to the root cause of the problem and the right treatment options for your unique physiology.
O.N.E. Multivitamin with Iron (60 Caps): A comprehensive multivitamin with great levels of B vitamins and iron to support healthy levels of red blood cell production.
Liquid Iron (200ml) by Viridian is an organic liquid iron supplement, which is pleasant-tasting and suitable for all the family.
Anemivin: Natural remedy that helps to rebalance the processes of absorption and utilisation of iron, it is useful in all cases of anaemia associated with deficiencies or alterations in the absorption of trace elements.
Hormonal imbalances due to menstrual cycle fluctuations, pregnancy or menopause or thyroid abnormalities. Our nutritional therapists can direct you to the most suitable hormonal testing for your individual requirements.
Smoking causes more oxidative damage and pigmentation, whilst increased alcohol intake causes dilation of blood vessels and reduces blood oxygenation, therefore both these habits increase predisposition to dark circles.
In traditional face-mapping[iii], the organs related to the area under the eyes are the kidneys and the liver. Kidneys are a powerhouse of energy for us but are often overused. Too much stress and over work can drain the energy of the kidneys, and this can be observed in some people with dark eye circles.
It is always beneficial to support the function of our organs of detoxification, the kidneys and the liver, and in so doing, your dark eye circles may begin to improve in appearance.
In the case of supporting adrenal function try the following and see our guide on adrenal fatigue and adrenal health for more information.
Adrenal Support (60 Caps) by Cytoplan: Adrenal Support comprises a blend of herbs: liquorice, ginseng, alongside the minerals iodine, chromium and selenium to support adrenal health.
Dr. Schulze's Superfood (400g): provides high levels of protein as well as high levels of vitamins B6 and B12, which makes it a nutritious food product for busy people wanting good health.
The adrenal stress profile is a test which measures adrenal cortex function and the circadian fluctuation in the hormones cortisol and DHEA. The test is taken with a number of saliva samples taken at specific times of the day and the results graphed in an easy to understand chart to assess circadian cortisol response as a marker of the stress response. We use this stress index here at Therapy Organics to test your adrenal health, enquire with us today.
Dark circles may be an external manifestation of chronic liver disease, especially when liver function is impaired for a long period of time. In people with liver disease, dark circles under the eyes may present. If dark circles correlated with other signs of liver disease and liver disease is suspected please seek the help of a medical professional with immediate effect.
Apply a cold compress. A cold compress may reduce swelling and shrink dilated blood vessels
Prioritise sleep: see our article on sleep here for tips on how to get more restful and rejuvenating sleep
Place caffeinated tea bags or cucumber slices n the eyes to reduce inflammation and increase hydration.
Turmeric can be applied as a paste (by mixing with carrier oil), it contains curcumin which has good anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.
Elevate your head. While sleep deprivation might play a part in producing those dark bags under your eyes, sometimes it’s from how you sleep. Try elevating your head with a few pillows to encourage drainage of fluid.
Get regular physical exercise preferably outdoors in fresh air for at least 30-45 minutes on most days.
Stress management can be beneficial. See our article on stress
[i] Sarkar R, Ranjan R, Garg S, Garg VK, Sonthalia S, Bansal S. Periorbital Hyperpigmentation: A Comprehensive Review. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2016 Jan;9(1):49-55
[ii] Bailey, A.J. (1987) “Structure, function and ageing of the collagens of the eye,” Eye, 1(2), pp. 175–183.
[iii] Wa CV, Maibach HI. Mapping the human face: biophysical properties. Skin Res Technol. 2010 Feb;16(1):38-54.
[iv] Brantley SJ, Oberlies NH, Kroll DJ, Paine MF. Two flavonolignans from milk thistle (Silybum marianum) inhibit CYP2C9-mediated warfarin metabolism at clinically achievable concentrations. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2010 Mar;332(3):1081-7.
Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.