Most of us associate dark circles with a lack of sleep, but sleep deprivation is only responsible for minor dark circles and puffiness. But have you ever noticed that sometimes you notice panda-like eyes when you are not even feeling tired?
That’s because there are a few factors that can contribute to dark circles, and although sleep can help diminish the appearance of dark eyes, to tackle them head on you need to examine the causes.
Why you've got dark circles
Your skin is thin
The reason dark circles look blue is because skin only lets blue-violet wavelengths of light pass through it. As a result, only blue light is reflected back. So, if your skin is very thin, the veins look – you guessed it – more blue.
Yep, you can thank your mum or dad for your under-eye circles – and not only for the thin skin under your peepers. If you inherited your fair complexion from them, your blood vessels are more noticeable at the best of times, let alone when you are tired.
Over time, skin loses collagen and thins, so blood vessels become more prominent. Be aware that sun exposure speeds up this process by damaging collagen fibres.
Reactions to seasonal factors (think: pollen) can trigger the release of histamines in the body, which in turn inflame blood vessels and cause swelling.
How to treat your dark circles
Use an extra pillow
If your dark circles are the result of vascular issues, sleep on two pillows to stop blood building up under the eyes.
Cool the area
In the morning, try using a cool eye mask for a few minutes to constrict blood vessels.
Use an eye cream
Use an eye cream or serum that is specially formulated to target dark circles as well as soften the delicate area, like Lancome Advanced Génifique Yeux Light-Pearl Eye Illuminator Youth Activating Concentrate. If thinning skin is a problem, try ROC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream.
Try some chocolate
Enjoy a little dark chocolate, which is a rich source of flavonoids that are reported to help maintain the health of blood vessels. And foods with omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and walnuts can improve blood flow.
Take an antihistamine
If you are prone to circles under the eyes caused by allergies, try taking an antihistamine treatment before exposure to potential allergens to prevent a reaction.
Conceal, conceal, conceal
For a quick fix, cover up. First apply an eye cream, let it settle in, then pat a creamy skin-toned concealer, like Nude by Nature Liquid Mineral Concealer over the area. To finish, press a little loose powder on top to prevent it from creasing.
Main image credit: Getty
Annie Millar is a Beauty Expert with more than 30 years experience in the Beauty Industry. Her qualifications include Life Coaching, Makeup Artistry, Beauty Therapy and Secondary Teaching. She is currently the Beauty and Lifestyle Editor for Better Homes and Gardens magazine.