Dark Circles: What Really Causes Them and How to Deal
Dark Circles: What Really Causes Them and How to Deal

Periorbital hyperpigmentation, also known as dark circles, is a relatively common condition that many individuals face on a daily basis (no pun intended). Though causes and treatments can vary, fatigue is usually the most common cause.

And while it’d be nice to be able to say getting enough sleep could cure all of your concerns, it’s not always that easy. In fact, there are a multitude of reasons for those pesky dark circles and under-eye discoloration that are causing you grief.

Treating under-eye circles isn’t a one-stop-shop fix. So, I went straight to a pro for answers. Dr. Jennifer Ahdout, board-certified general and cosmetic dermatologist with The Roxbury Institute of Beverly Hills, has spent several years treating patients with varying types of skin conditions. She’s also the recipient of the American Medical Women’s Association Glasgow-Rubin Citation Award for Academic Excellence and the UCLA Chancellor’s Service Award, among others.

I took some time to sit down and discuss some of the causes of under-eye dark circles and to finally get down to the bottom of how to effectively treat them. First, you must look at some of the reasons why someone might experience dark circles. According to Dr. Ahdout, “Understanding the potential causes of under-eye pigmentation is key to a comprehensive approach.”

Identify the Problem First, Then Find the Right Solution

Dark under-eye circles can be caused by a number of environmental, physical and hereditary causes. These may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  1. Allergies
  2. Thin skin (letting visible veins show through as blue circles; this can get worse with age, as you lose some of the fat and collagen around your eyes)
  3. Inflammation
  4. Toxins within the body
  5. Shadows from under-eye bags
  6. Your genetic makeup (eye structure)
  7. Stress/fatigue (often the result of a lack of sleep)
  8. Sun exposure
  9. Cigarette smoking
  10. Rubbing of the eyes/eye area
  11. Hormonal changes

For any these conditions, treatment methods can vary, ranging from topical and internal treatments to lifestyle changes. If you’re unsure about what could be causing your dark circles, it’s worth a trip to your doctor so you can choose the most effective treatment option. Here are some recommendations to help diminish the look of dark circles—categorized by the type of problem.  Read more 

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