What Causes Dark Circles?

We talk a lot about fine lines and wrinkles that come with aging. We talk less about dark circles, but these signs of aging are just as prevalent. Sometimes you get circles under your eyes from lack of sleep or other causes, but persistent dark circles under the eyes comes from a variety of factors that naturally occur with age. In this article, I’ll discuss what causes dark circles as well as the treatments that can limit their severity.

What Causes Dark Circles?

Dark Circles

Get enough dark circles, and you have dark polka dots

When you are younger, the dark circles around your eyes are often explained away as being the result of overtiredness or stress. While this is somewhat true, it becomes less the case the older you get. In fact, genetics often play a big role in the presence of dark circles. You may have heard of periorbital circles. These sometimes appear bluish in color and why they are often termed “dark circles” to begin with. The skin below your eye is rather thin, so in these cases the blood vessels below become transparent through the skin. The reason this becomes more severe when you get older is because your skin loses elasticity and skin cell turnover slows down. This results in thinner skin, thus more transparency. Sometimes genetics make you predisposed to such thinning.

Blue Circles

Don’t overreact if you see blue or dark circles around your eyes when you wake up in the morning. This is very natural. When you’ve been lying down all night, blood accumulates or pools in the veins, making it more visible in areas where skin is thinner. As you get older, your skin loses a lot of subcutaneous fat, which causes another barrier between your skin and the blood vessels below.

Can You Treat Dark Circles?

Absolutely you can! Of course, everyone has different genetics and skin types, so no one will react the same way to treatments. There are a few options available however. For example, there are stimulating creams out there that may help. These types of skin care products contain things like caffeine that constrict blood vessels and boost circulation. The result of this will be less pooling. Other creams that moisturize or hydrate can also be helpful because they plump the skin and lift it away from the vessels underneath.

Brown Circles

The other common form of dark circles appears more brown in color. The cause for these is different. People with excessive sun exposure or habitually rub their eyes may see signs of brown circles appear. This is sometimes called hyperpigmentation. There are ways to combat the brown circles, however. Creams which brighten the skin, improve skin tone, or will help diminish the appearance of brown circles. There are also professional treatments that are used to lessen the appearance of dark circles, but these are going to cost you. The best thing to do, especially for brown circles, is to practice prevention while you are still young. Wear sunscreen whenever you know you will be exposed to the sun for a long period of time. Taking the right preventative steps will keep circles from developing in the first place.