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Home :: Skin Disorders

Dark Circles - Definition, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


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Dark circles is more noticeable in people with darker skin. Dark circles are mainly found around the eyes and they are also known as "bags under the eyes". The bluing above or around the eyes make the eyes appear black. As the skin is thinnest over the eyelids, it will darken earlier than the rest of the face. They are often due to temporary changes in the blood vessels under the eyes. Sometimes under-eye darkening is the result of a chronic skin condition such as atopic eczema. Like varicose veins, dark circles under the eyes are usually an inherited trait. The skin under the eye is very thin. When blood passes through the large veins close to the surface of the skin it can produce a bluish tint. The more transparent the skin -- also an inherited trait -- the darker the circles appear. Any medications that cause blood vessels to dilate can cause circles under the eyes to darken. Because the skin under the eyes is very delicate, any increased blood flow shows through the skin. Lack of proper restful sleep also cause dark rings for reasons which are not properly understood, but which may be related to skin and blood supply changes in the area.

Dark circles are likely to become more noticeable and permanent with age. Excess folds of skin under the eyes will also make dark circles more pronounced. Common allergens include dairy and excessive sugar. Dark circles under the eyes are a sign that your liver or kidneys are carrying a toxic load. Too much sun can also cause under eye circles. A lack of sleep or excessive tiredness can cause paleness of the skin, which again allows the blood underneath the skin to become more visible and appear more blue or darker. One additional cause is bone structure: persons with deep set eyes sometimes appear to have shadows under their eyes. An overproduction of melanin can also cause dark shadows under the eyes. According to Chinese Medicine, dark circles under the eyes relate to our kidneys, which are seen as the foundation of our vitality. Sufficient sleep is one of the simplest remedies recommended.

Causes of Dark circles

Dark circles under the eyes are caused by a very specific physiological mechanism. Some food allergies can also cause the area under the eyes to appear darker. The lack of nutrients in the diet, or the lack of a balanced diet, can contribute to the discoloration of the area under the eyes. It is believed that lack of mineral iron can cause dark circles as well. Another cause may be bad blood circulation. Cardio exercise increases blood circulation and may help the dark circles to disappear.

Common causes and risk factors of Dark circles:

  • Fatigue and lack of sleep.
  • Insufficient iron.
  • Smoking.
  • The deficiency of vitamin K in the diet.
  • Insaomnia.
  • A family history of dark circles.

Signs and Symptoms of Dark circles

Sign and symptoms may include the following :

  • Puffy bags under eyes.

Treatment for Dark circles

Treatment for chronic and severe undereye circles is directed at the underlying cause, if known, and may include bleaching agents and laser therapy. Over the counter products may help diminish dark circles under eyes. Apply concealer to the darkened areas. If the circles under your eyes tend to be very purple, use concealer with a yellowish tone.

Treatment may include:

  • Eat a green leaf vegetables daily.
  • Apply concealer to the darkened areas. If the circles under your eyes tend to be very purple, use concealer with a yellowish tone.
  • Dark circles, may be prevented by applying slices over the closed eyelids.
  • Grapeseed oil is an antioxidant that has been found effective for reducing eyestrain.