Most of us have at one time or another been greeted by a concerned friend who says something like, “Boy, you really look tired!” Though usually meant as a sympathetic gesture, many of us take that as an insult. Intuitively, we know that this usually means something is amiss with our eyes- typically, dark circles. Now you can find out how to avoid them and how to get rid of these pesky dark circles.
Dark Circles Under Eyes Explained
Sleep deprivation is a natural reason for dark circles around the eyes or puffy eyes with redness and itchiness. Over time, sleep deprivation can also accelerate the formation of wrinkles around the eye area.
Besides lack of sleep, dark circles in the eye area can have numerous other causes, including:
- Anemia (iron deficiency)
- Allergies and hay fever
- Overexposure to sun
- Continued eye strain
- Thyroid problems
The causes of dark circles under the eyes can also lead to either hollows or bags under the eyes.
How to Get Rid of Dark Circles Under Eyes
Many instances of dark circles under the eyes are temporary. For most cases, other than genetics or age, various at-home treatments can reduce these dark circles.
Some discoloration related to age is caused by the skin getting thinner and naturally losing fat and collagen in the skin, which gives it elasticity. The darker blood vessels under your eyes become more visible, which gives the skin under your eyes a darker hue.
In the case of genetics, individuals who are of non-white ethnicity can be prone to periorbital (around the eye) hyperpigmentation. Dark circles can also run in families and may show up even in childhood.
One of the first steps in treatment is to review the list of potential causes and eliminate factors within your control. For example, you might try:
- Getting more sleep and better quality sleep. Be aware that oversleeping may also result in dark circles around the eyes—aim for around eight hours of sleep.
- Drinking more water during the day. This will benefit your skin overall.
- Wear a non-irritating, high-SPF sunscreen around the eye area. Look for these products or similar ones:
- SkinCeuticals Physical Eye UV Defense SPF 50 Sunscreen
- Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Ultra-Light Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 50, Face Sunscreen
Besides at-home preventative measures, if you do find yourself with dark circles around the eye area, you can do these simple treatments to reduce their appearance:
- Use a cold compress over the eye area. Wrapping some ice in a clean washcloth or using a chilled eye mask can shrink skin-darkening dilated blood vessels and minimize swelling around the eyes.
- Another home remedy favored for treating dark circles is to rest with tea bags on the eyelids. Just steep caffeinated tea briefly in hot water and then cool them in the fridge for a while. Place on closed eyes and rest with your head elevated on a few pillows. Try green tea bags, preferably organic, such as these by Celestial Seasonings.
Alternatively, you can try relaxing with thick slices of chilled cucumbers over each eye. These remedies can be a good approach when looking for ways to get rid of bags under the eyes.
- If you know you have allergies or a skin condition that’s causing itchiness around the eyes and causing you to rub the eye area, take a prescription or over-the-counter remedy. For example, Benadryl (or the equivalent) is an antihistamine that can help reduce itchiness and may reduce puffiness. It has the added effect of causing sleepiness when taken occasionally, so you may wish to take it before going to bed.
- Another tactic that may work with persistent application is the use of various skin lightening creams.
Some of the ones that are said to be more effective contain hydroquinone. This ingredient, which blocks melatonin production, may offer a solution for getting rid of eye bags. Avoid the sun when using, or you could end up with an even more pronounced appearance of dark under eyes. Be sure to discontinue if you notice irritation, dryness, or other reactions.
- Creams or lotions with retinoids, such as RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream can also be helpful to combat the appearance of under-eye circles and puffiness, but again, care must be taken to avoid the sun when using these products.
Living With Dark Circles by Hiding Them
Usually, dark circles are more of a cosmetic concern than a health issue, though they can indicate something amiss that needs attention.
An easy way to deal with dark circles is a cosmetic concealer. If you have an extreme appearance of dark circles, you may want to apply a color corrector in a peachy tone first to minimize the purplish-red tones of dark circles.
A Few Last Tips on How to Get Rid of Under Eye Bags
Various dietary approaches are said to work for puffy eyes, such as eating more parsley and eating oats, eating pineapple (for its Bromelain), avoiding alcohol, and cutting down on salt, which can cause you to retain water.
These approaches are much simpler and cheaper than invasive medical solutions. The latter includes options such as pigmented medical tattoos for thinning skin, tissue fillers, laser surgery to tighten and resurface the skin, or fat removal for baggy eye areas.
If you’ve reviewed the list of what causes dark circles under the eyes and have tried some ways to reduce their appearance to no avail, you can consult a dermatologist. There are some medical ways to reduce dark circles and get rid of bags under the eyes but try the less invasive methods first.