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The Dark Truth About Under Eye Circles--Causes and Treatments

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I have always been under the assumption that dark under eye circles were caused by the late nights I kept in high school and college. It turns out that I could have been up all night, drinking, and partying and might not have ever developed under eye circles. I feel like I've been duped!

The most common cause of under eye circles may surprise you (or not):

-Nasal congestion and Allergies (veins from your nose become darker and dilated when you are congested or suffering from allergies)


-Heredity/Genes (take a look at family photos, if under eye circles are visible on the faces of your family, there is a good chance you will have them as well)

-Exposure to the sun (sunlight increases production of melatonin, which darkens skin)

-Aging (sadly, as we age our skin loses collagen and becomes thinner exposing more of the blood cells underneath)

-Lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking coffee or caffeinated beverages

-Lack of sleep (I know I said it’s not a cause, but in actuality its not the MAIN cause of under eye circles. The more you sleep, the less you are outside and that equates to paler skin and noticeable under eye darkness.)

If you have under eye circles, chances are you’ve tried to conceal or hide them. My method of choice is makeup because mine aren’t too terribly dark and are able to be covered using cosmetics. Under eye circles aren’t really considered a medical condition but if they do bother you there are alternatives to makeup that last a bit longer, see your dermatologist for what might work best for you. The dermatologist might recommend prescriptions, laser therapy, or chemical peels. And for the brave there are injectables that will help fill the hollow areas that increase darkness under the eyes.

For those of us who aren’t as brave (or as financially able) there are plenty of things you can try at home to diminish under eye circles.

-Cosmetics—there are numerous over-the-counter creams that can help reduce darkness. Looks for creams that contain vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E or retinol, these ingredients have been shown to be effective in the treatment of under eye circles.

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EmpowHER Guest

I used to have puffy dry skin under my eyes...very sensitive. I've used other under eye creams and end up irritating my eyes, since most contain alchohol and other chemicals. What solved my problems was the Made from Earth Olive Night Creme. I tried over night and the next morning felt refreshed. My under eye area was soft, moisturized and HYDRATED. I use it once or twice a week.

I've been using it for quite a while now and I've seen a dramatic difference. I found that by applying it and then laying down - I kid you not, you'll see better and immediate results if you do it that way and look great!

I'm completely sold on the Olive Night Creme (from Made from Earth) and am stocked for the next 3 months :)

October 14, 2009 - 2:13pm
EmpowHER Guest

I think you are refering to "Melanin" not Melatonin.

You are welcome

June 21, 2009 - 4:31am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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