Dark circles under the eyes (also known as raccoon eyes or shiners), is a common problem faced particularly by fair-skinned people. When red blood cells are released from burst capillaries, they are broken down by enzymes. The broken down red blood cells have a dark blue-black color which makes dark circles appear more prominent.
Dark circles under the eyes are caused by several factors:
Genetics – Those who inherit transparent skin are more likely to have dark under-eye circles. Skin around the eyes is generally very thin. Blood passing in the capillaries under the eyes is visible through the thin skin and gives the impression of dark circles.
Lack of sleep – Fatigue and lack of sleep can lead to the appearance of dark circles.
Age – Dark circles become more noticeable with age. This is because skin becomes thinner and the loss of collagen makes it translucent.
Allergies – Cases of people with dark spots under the eyes increase when there is a lot of pollen in the air and people suffer from hay fever. Allergies to dust and mold also result in dark under eye circles.
Medical conditions – Dark circles can be caused by several medical conditions. Patients suffering from high blood pressure will have dark circles under the eyes because of fluid retention by the blood vessels. Problems with the liver, kidney, or sinus can also cause dark circles.
Under eye circles can be minimized in various ways:
- Good sleep is important. Most people need around 7-8 hours of sleep. Give your body and skin time to recover from fatigue.
- A healthy diet that gives you your daily dose of vitamin K, iron, and potassium helps in preventing dark circles under the eyes.
- Use a sunscreen around the eyes and wear sunglasses when you go out in the sun.
- Since fluid retention is also linked to dark circles, you should avoid consuming alcohol and eating salted food items, mainly salted snacks.
There are a number of treatments available for dark under eye circles:
- Chemical peels
- Over-the-counter topical creams
- Collagen injections to fill the sunken areas under the eyes.
- Fat grafting
- Laser treatment to reduce the number of dilated capillaries under the eyes