What’s causing your dark under-eye circles (& what experts say will help)

Under eye circles

Have you ever foregone an event for your much-needed beauty sleep only to find you wake up with dark rings around your eyes reminiscent of a hangover?

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Sometimes, no matter how much shut-eye you get or caffeine you drink, you still end up with panda eyes. If the previous evening was spent curled up with a bottle of wine or dancing with a flask of vodka, it’s no guessing what was the culprit, but as for those tame nights in, ever wonder what’s leaving you ghostly in the AM?

What causes dark under-eye circles?

Vodka aside, dark under-eye circles are often caused by two things: 1. thin skin or 2. inflammation of the skin. These two catalysts can in turn be triggered by a range of factors which, if controlled, can help prevent those morning rings.

4 things that could be causing your dark under-eyes and how to avoid them

1. Your age

As you get older, your skin becomes thinner and in the process, the capillaries underneath are revealed, making the skin appear crimson. The area under your eye is actually one of the thinnest parts of the body so it is often the first place that this becomes noticeable.

While we haven’t quite figured out a way to stop aging (yet), there are a few habits you can put in place now that will certainly slow down the process.

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Cure: Look for beauty products that contain collagen or consume it as part of your daily routine by adding collagen powders to your drink and smoothies. Better yet, why not try this anti-ageing superfood smoothie recipe and boost it with a scoop of collagen?

2. Your health

Dark under-eye circles are said to be a mirror of our internal health. Busy lifestyles made up of little sleep and lots of alcohol tend to leave us run down, with our liver and kidneys working over time.

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Cure: you don’t need a doctor to tell you this one… eat a diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals, up your intake of anti-inflammatory foods such a green leafy vegetables and omega 3 fatty fish, avoid alcohol and drink plenty of water.

3. Your beauty products

The products you use on your face can be both detrimental as well as beneficial to dark under-eye circles. According to makeup artist and head of creative design at non-toxic cosmetics brand, Beautycounter Christy Coleman on Well+Good, abrasive cleansers and makeup removers can further aggravate dark rings while specifically-formulated eye serums can have the opposite effect.

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Cure: Choose a soft cleanser and always be gentle when washing your face. Also, invest in a good eye serum that specifically targets this problem. Look for ones rich in vitamin A or retinol, which help turnover your skin cells more rapidly thus thickening the skin under the eye and slowing the process of ageing. Such ointments can also help to reverse any discolouration from UV damage.

4. Your sleeping patterns

It turns out it’s not just how much you sleep but how you sleep that impacts dark circles. When we lie flat, fluid builds up in our face causing the capillaries to swell in order to take in more blood. This makes the eyes appear extremely dark and slightly swollen.

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Cure: Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, a dermatologist with Connecticut Dermatology Group reported on wellandgood.com, “If you sleep a little elevated, it helps drain the swelling. When you lie flat, it’s more likely to pool.” So prop yourself up on a thick pillow to prevent puffy, dark eyes in the morning.

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Growing up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney with a love of the outdoors, Georgia has always led an active lifestyle. She has a passion for health, fitness and fashion, and loves to travel and try new things. Along with her position at Sporteluxe, Georgia works as a fit model for global fashion brands including Bassike and Christopher Esber, combining her interest in fashion with her dedication to healthy living. She graduated from the University of NSW with a Bachelor of Media (PR and Advertising) and initially pursued the public relations field but was always drawn to journalism due to her love of reading and writing. For Georgia, life is about balance. She leads an active and fulfilled lifestyle and nourishes her mind and body but won't shy away from a burger and wine!