Causes of Dark Circles Under Eyes

 Dark circles appear from a combination of genetics and (external) environmental factors. What does this mean? There is no single standalone approach to treating dark circles.

Today we break down the six causes of under-eye circles and the best treatment for each. 

1. UV Light Exposure 

Pigments, aka melanin, are what give color to our skin, hair, eyes, etc. UV light exposure induces an increase in melanin production that leads to dark blotches under the skin. In the same way, sun exposure can cause sun spots - hyperpigmentation of the skin on your face. 

How to determine if this is to blame: Dark under-eye circles caused by hyperpigmentation tend to have a more brown hue and look blotchy. Another way to determine if UV exposure is the main culprit is to look in a mirror and tilt your head up toward the light; if the dark circles remain, then UV exposure is to blame for your dark under-eye circles. 

Solution: An eye cream with brightening ingredients - vitamin C is beneficial for dark circles and hyperpigmentation as it actually blocks the production of abnormal pigmentation and protects skin from free radical damage. To prevent hyperpigmentation & reduce the risk of skin cancer, always wear sunscreen. 

2. Genetics 

We chalk a lot of things up to genetics, and a dark under-eye circle can also be chalked up to genetics. Some people have darker pigmentation on specific body parts, such as the underarm, and the under-eye area is the same. Some are predisposed to pigmentation in the eye area.

How to determine if this is to blame: Dark circles are a one-two punch of genetics and life. Meaning some people have persistent darkness that appears even if they don't have allergies or they've had a good night's sleep. And they may have even had it since childhood or their teenage years. Even if they're caused by genetics, dark under-eye circles can become more prominent after a late night at the office, a week-long beach vacation, or during natural skin aging. Bottom line? The darkness that sticks around no matter any lifestyle or skin-care changes you might implement is most likely the result of genetics.

Solution: Unfortunately, there's not much you can do regarding your DNA. And while there's no way to prevent dark circles caused by genetics, diligently applying SPF can help keep them from getting worse. "Sun protection is a must for everyone but particularly those who have genetic darkening since extra sunlight can worsen the condition," says Roberta Del Campo, M.D., a dermatologist at Del Campo Dermatology and Laser Institute and medical advisor for Babor, a skin-care brand. 

"This is [also] where plumping eye creams that contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid can help," especially if you're dealing with a lack of volume and, in turn, a shadow, adds Dr. Zeichner.

3. Irritation & Excessive Rubbing 

The skin around the eye area is especially thin and delicate since little fat is underneath. Without fat, this area tends to be the first to exhibit signs of aging, such as wrinkles, dryness, and dark circles. Sometimes the area is transparent enough to see the veins or blood vessels underneath; excessive rubbing, whether habitual or irritation, can lead to broken vessels and capillaries that can further exacerbate the appearance. Chronic rubbing of the eyes can also induce inflammation and pigment production, this is why it is essential to keep irritants away from the eye area and be gentle when removing eye makeup. 

How to determine if this is to blame: Generally, pigmentation from rubbing your eyes tends to be more uniform and cover a larger area, consistent with your fingers rubbing at your eyes, explains Dr. Zeichner. Unlike a dark circle that sits just below your lower lash line, this type of hyperpigmentation can appear as a ring around your upper and lower eyelid and even extend to the tops of your cheeks, almost like a bruise. 

Solution: Stop rubbing your eyes. That's it! 

4. Lack of Sleep 

Another common cause of dark circles under the eyes is not getting enough sleep. Poor quality sleep increases the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, which makes your heart beat faster and blood vessels dilate. The dark circles from fatigue and lack of quality sleep are due to the widening of blood vessels near the skin's surface. 

How to determine if this is to blame: Appearance-wise, dark circles caused by pooling of blood under the eyes, aka lack of sleep, tend to have a blue-purple-ish tint and are usually accompanied by puffiness. 

Solution: Get more sleep. 

5. Allergies

Known as shiners, dark under-eye circles called allergies are from the pollen season's ability to take a shot at your face. However, the discoloration is actually the result of nasal congestion. 

We all experience the unpleasantry of nasal congestion during allergy season when the tissues and blood vessels in and around the nose become swollen with excess fluid. Blood actually pools under the eyes, and the swollen veins dilate and darken, giving the appearance of dark circles and puffiness. 

How to determine if this is to blame: Despite their nickname, allergy-related dark circles are unlike trauma-related black eyes as they generally show up under both peepers. They might also be accompanied by puffiness due to excess fluid. And if you take a closer look in, say, the mirror, you might be able to see a dark appearance from the fluid under the skin, says Dr. Boakye.

How to treat it: If you're suffering from seasonal allergies, talk to your doc about the best form of treatment, be it taking an OTC decongestant (think: Benadryl, Zyrtec) or receiving allergy shots. In the meantime, however, you can address any puffiness topically by using an eye product with caffeine, recommends Dr. Zeichner. "Caffeine helps constrict blood vessels to remove excess fluid and improve puffiness and resulting circles."

6. Dehydration

Hydration is key to every organ in our body functioning correctly, and it certainly is the key to healthy skin. When your body hasn't taken 

When your body hasn't taken in a proper amount of water, the skin around your eyes can appear dull or even sunken, similar to the hollow appearance from loss of volume. It can also become dry, which can accentuate any discoloration you might already have, says Dr. Boakye. Alcohol can also "potentially worsen hyperpigmentation around the eyes," she adds — which makes sense given the fact that it's known to be dehydrating.

How to determine if this is to blame: If you woke up to a new set of under-eye circles after a wild night out, you could likely blame the booze (and, of course, any impact your evening antics might've had on your sleep). A simple way to figure this out? Start drinking plenty of H2O and try to score some quality zzz's the following night — both of which should help alleviate any darkness that might be caused by dehydration and lack of sleep.

How to treat it: In addition to upping your fluid intake, you can address any hollows under the eyes by using an eye cream that contains hyaluronic acid. This powerful ingredient hydrates and, in turn, plumps the skin, allowing you to ditch any dehydration-related under-eye circles for good, explains Dr. Zeichner.

Treat Dark Circles with Oil Divine 

In summary, dark circles appear due to genetics and various other lifestyle factors. Safe to say that dark circles have no place at Oil Divine. We have concocted the Rejuvenating Eye Serum with: 

Raspberry Seed Oil - A powerhouse packed with antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, and E. It works by inhibiting enzymes in the skin that lead to discoloration and loss of firmness and protecting from sun damage to prevent premature aging and wrinkles.

Cucumber Seed Oil - Rich in linoleic acid and Vitamin E, it fights free radical damage and effectively improves elasticity and firmness of the skin, reducing wrinkles and dark circles by promoting cell regeneration.

Borage Seed Oil - It has the highest concentration of natural Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid responsible for reducing and calming inflammation and encouraging healthy new tissue growth in maturing skin.

Jojoba Oil, Macadamia Oil, Amla Fruit Oil, Moringa Oil, Calendula Extract, Wild Carrot Seed Oil, Castor Oil, Prickly Pear Oil, Tamanu Oil, a proprietary blend of essential oils, Vitamin E & Squalane. 

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