What Causes Dark Circles Under Eyes – Allergy, Sleep, Aging, Sun Tanning, Stress, Makeup


What causes dark circles under eyes and around eyes? In this article, discover the different causes of dark circles as well as tips and guides on how to get rid of dark circles fast. We discuss causes such as allergy, lack of sleep, puffiness, bags, tanning, stress factors, aging and exposure to sun. Other causes of dark rings you will learn below include makeup.

  • What causes dark circles under eyes and around eyes?
  • Does excess sleep cause dark circles?
  • What causes dark circles in children?
  • What causes dark circles in men?

Racoon-like rings around your eyes? Well, those are dark circles under eyes that can get you wondering where they are coming from. We talk of cosmetic issues like cellulite and stretch marks and we say, they are just for us women, but now dark circles under eyes are a problem for both men and women. When you want to get the bright-eyed beauty that’s so fresh and attractive, you need to work on the exposure of melanin around your eyes in order to make the small wrinkles and dark circles around eyes less dramatic. See below what causes dark circles around eyes in adults and kids.

What are Dark Circles under Eyes?

Dark Circles under Eyes
Dark Circles under Eyes

What are dark circles? Dark circles under eyes are small but distinguished circles around the eyes. It is said that these dark eye circles are prevalent in Southern Italians and Southeast Asians, but just about anyone can get dark circles under eyes. Children are not excluded though the causes of dark circles under eyes in adults may be slightly different from those in children.

According to Mayo Clinic’s staff, it is surprisingly not wrinkles or gray hair that makes a person look aged but dark circles under eyes. Contrary to the belief of many people, the causes of dark circles under eyes are not exhaustion or serious illness although when you get dark eyes circles, you will definitely feel old, tired or unhealthy. For this reason, people turn to best eye creams to remove the circles.

The skin beneath the eyes is very sensitive such that any slight changes around the eyes can cause dark circles. In normal cases, people age as the collagen in the skin beneath the eyes loses collagen to become even thinner. This enhances the appearance of blood vessels beneath the eyes and making dark circles around eyes to appear.

What Causes Dark Circles?

When you try to get enough sleep but still experience the development of dark eye circles, it is not necessarily unusual. While fatigue isn’t the only cause of dark circles under eyes, it could be a contributing factor to their formation. Sometimes, what may appear to be under-eye circles are just shadows that are cast by puffy eyelids or even hollows under the eyes that come about as part of the normal aging process. Nonetheless, the following are the prominent causes of dark rings and wrinkles under eyes.

1.    Allergies

Nasal Congestion and Allergens May Cause Dark Circles Under Eyes
Nasal Congestion and Allergens May Cause Dark Circles Under Eyes

People suffering from Hay Fever or any other sinus allergies will find the under-eyes affected as well. The occurrence of dark circles under eyes could also be a serious pointer to allergies that are developing. Some medications are also known to aggravate eye itchiness and cause dark eye circles.

Most of these medications that cause dark circles under eyes are found to have a blood vessel dilation effect. In order to get rid of dark circles under eyes caused by allergens, it is important to see a doctor for prescription of over-the-counter medicine. Once you take the drugs, the dark eye circles will diminish with time.

2.    Lack of Sleep

Technically, as we have already noted, poor sleep is not one of the causes. However, lack of sleep will cause you to have puffy eyes and eye bags, which will contribute to the circles. Oversleeping too can cause puffy eyes and contribute to the formation of dark circles under eyes.

3.    Excessive Exposure to the Sun

Spending a lot of time in the sun is one of the causes of circles under your eyes. The exposure of your skin to the sun rays will cause an increment in the pigment levels. Melanin pigments will then move closer to the surface of your skin, which will make the dark eye circles appear even darker.

4.    Iron Deficiency Anemia

What Causes Dark Circles under eyes, around eyes
Causes of Dark Eye Circles – Graphic

An individual with iron deficiency anemia is more likely to get circles, spots and eye wrinkles. However, though this deficiency is one of the less common causes of dark rings under eyes, the resultant dark eye circles are more of bluish tinge in color. Iron deficiency in the body causes a deprivation of adequate oxygen to the body tissues. As the deficiency of iron continues, the bluish tinge dark eye circles under eyes get more visible as they become black.

5.    Aging

Aging is yet another of the most prevalent causes of under eye circles in both men and women. As a person ages, collagen diminishes. The skin’s ability to produce more collagen is reduced as well, leaving the skin around the eyes more vulnerable to developing wrinkles and even dark eye circles. The more a person ages, dark circles around eyes continue to appear as the pads under eyes continue to shrink, giving the eyes a shrunken look.

6.    Stress Factors

For many people, stress factors are major causes of dark circles under eyes. Generally, stress is not just on the list; it is a silent killer of humankind given that it initiates not only mental but also physical ailments. Stress, when compounded with bad diets is one of the biggest factors. Other factors are excessive consumption of alcohol and smoking.

7.    Dehydration

Have you been evading your bottle of water lately? Well, there it is – dehydration could be among the causes for you. Though some people who drink adequate water may suffer from dark eye circles, other factors may be contributing to their dehydration. These include caffeinated foods, excess alcohol intake, and excessive consumption of salt, sugary and processed foods. These foods may not be direct causes of dark eye circles, but they contribute to dehydration of the body, which leads to shrinking of capillaries around the eyes.

8.    Poor Nutrition

Poor nutrition will contribute to the lack of certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the body. B vitamins, especially vitamin B12 deficiency, the lack of vitamins C, E and K are part of the causes. These vitamins are important for the proper functioning of the adrenal gland. When this gland is fatigued, there is poor absorption of vitamins which will result in dark eye circles as well as facial puffiness.

9.    Hormonal Changes

While this is not one of the major causes of  eye dark circles, hormonal changes during menstruation can cause puffy eyes and appearance of dark eye circles. This happens because of increased water retention. During this time, excessive intake of carbs and salts may contribute in women. Other hormonal changes in women especially during menopause and pregnancy are also identified as causes of dark circles under eyes.

10. Skin Tanning

Tanning your skin will increase the amount of melanin in the skin. For most people, it is a good thing and they do it deliberately. However, skin tanning has been identified as one of the causes. Melanin production under eyes is quite more than other areas of the body, especially for people who suffer from periorbital hyperpigmentation.

11. Kidney Disorders

Chinese medical practitioners note that the under-eye dark circles are a representation of the kidney’s condition. The kidney is responsible for our vitality, so if anything goes wrong with it, the Chinese believe it will be manifested in dark circles under eyes.

12. Smoking

We have already identified smoking as part of the common causes of dark circles under eyes. But why is that? Smoking causes most vascular problems because it contributes to the constriction of blood vessels, leading to poor circulation of blood around the eyes. It also makes blood vessels around eyes appear darker and more prominent.

13. Nasal Congestion

Nasal congestion is yet another cause of dark circles under eyes. Blocked nasal passages are causes of dark circles under eyes because the veins connecting the nose and eyes simply dilate and darken.

14. Wrong Makeup

Applying the wrong foundations and powders, especially those that are too heavy for the skin around the eyes can cause minor bruises. These bruises will in turn inflame the blood vessels and act as causes of dark under eye circles.

Other dark eye circle causes identified by Mayo Clinic include scratching and rubbing of eyes, pigmentation irregularities, heredity and atopic dermatitis, also called eczema.

What Causes Dark Circles in Children

Children too can suffer from dark eye circles. Clinical research has shown that more fair skinned children are affected by dark circles under eyes. However, aging is not a cause of course. Kids are identified to be more prone to colds and allergies than adults. These are part of the causes of dark circles in children.  Sometimes, simple congestion in the nose can show through grown veins around eyes and darkening if the area around the eyes. Proper cure for the underlying problem will help get rid of dark eye circles in children.

More on Dark Under Eye Circles and Eye Bags

  • Best Dark Eye Circles Creams Reviews – Getting Rid of Under Eye Circles
  • Home Remedies for Dark Eye Circles – How to Get Rid of Dark under Eye Circles Naturally and Fast
  • How to Get Rid of Under Eye Bags – Puffy Eyes Treatment Tips
  • Home Remedies for Under Eye Bags – Natural Ways to Get Rid of Puffy Eyes
  • Causes of Under Eye Bags – What Causes Puffy Under Eyes?
  • Under Eye Bags Surgery – All about Eye Bag Removal Surgery or Blepharoplasty
  • How to Get Rid of Dark Eye Circles – Tips, Treatments, Natural Remedies

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Did you know what causes dark circles under eyes?