The Causes of Dark Circles

Do you feel like you have dark circles under your eyes?  Most people blame it on being tired, or stressed, or even working too hard.  And, while these can be causes for dark circles, there are actually several more causes that you may not have known existed.

The skin under your eyes is quite thin, so periorbital circles (or dark circles under your eyes) are simply the blood vessels showing through more clearly in this area than other areas of your body.  Now, for many people, the reason the blood in your veins looks blue is because your skin only lets blue/violet wavelengths of light pass through.  This results in only blue light reflecting back, which gives the circles under your eyes a bluish tint.

For people that have darker or lighter skin, their veins may appear more green or brown.  And for people with extremely light skin, such as albinos, their veins will show through as more dark red or dark purple.  Therefore, the circles under other people’s eyes may appear differently.


In addition to that, as we age, our skin loses elasticity, which ultimately causes it to thin.  That’s one reason it is more common to see people who are older with dark circles under their eyes versus a younger person.

Also, for some people, it’s just genetics.  The skin under the eyes may be even more thin or the blood vessels may sit closer to the skin under the eyes.  Periorbital hyperpigmentation is another potential cause of dark circles under the eyes.  This means that your body produces more melanin in the skin below the eyes, which causes the area to be darker.  This conditon mostly affects darker skinned people, as it is more noticeable in their skin tone.  In fact, many dermatologists report this as one of their top concerns from patients.


So what if it’s not genetics?  What else can cause dark cirlces?  One other concern for many people is periorbital puffiness (aka – bags under your eyes).  While this doesn’t necessarily cause dark circles, it certainly can make them more noticeable.  High salt intake (which results in the body retaining water), allergies, or illness can cause build up of fluid around the eyes.  This may increase pressure around the eyes, causing blood vessels to sit closer to the skin.

Another concern for some is oxidisation of blood leaking from the periorbital blood vessels.  This means that damage to the blood vessels will cause blood to leak out.  Fortunately, there are treatments available for those who suffer chronically from this condition.


So what about being tired, stressed, over-worked, etc.?  Well, it sometimes plays a roll in it.  Many of you have heard of cortisol, and probably relate it to weight gain.  Cortisol promotes fat accumulation, and it is produced by your body as an energy source.   It also increases the volume of blood in your body, which causes your blood vessesls to swell, including the ones under your eyes.  Enlarged blood vessels will be easier to see.  So, being tired actually has more affect on your body that potentially just some dark circles under your eyes.

Hopefully now you have a better understanding of what can cause dark circles under your eyes.  Some issues may have a treatment, others are simply genetics, and it can affect both men and women.  If you’re looking for help covering your dark circles, please reach out to me.  I’d be happy to work with you!

Was that helpful?  If yes, I would greatly appreciate if you commented.  Also, please feel free to send it to anyone who might benefit simply by clicking the social media icons below.  P.S. – For more beauty tips, download my free E-Book, The 8 Most Common Makeup Mistakes and How You Can Fix Them, here.

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