Dark Eyes Can Be Mysterious

August 16, 2012

Raccoon eyes, panda eyes or periorbital dark circles. Whatever pet name you’ve chosen to fondly call them, dark under-eye circles can make you look older and more tired than you really feel. They are often attributed to lack of sleep.

But even during times when we’ve had plenty of sleep it can still be difficult to rid ourselves of the dark shadows under our eyes. While lack of sleep has a role to play, there are also many other factors that can contribute to dark under-eye circles. When it comes to getting rid of dark eye circles for good, it’s important to consider their actual sources.

So let’s look at some possible causes and remedies:

Skin Transparency. 

The skin around the eyelids is the part of the body with the thinnest skin. The dark circles under the eyes are blood vessels that can be seen through the skin. 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, the darker the circles appear. While some people naturally have fairer or more transparent skin, lack of sleep can also make the skin look paler, allowing blood vessels to be more visible under the skin.

Lack of circulation.

Dark circles can be the result of fluid retention or blood vessel dilations. Dehydration can cause the blood vessels to become swollen. When this happens, the accumulation of fluids and blood vessels under the eyes can result in a dark, bluish tinge. Drinking water can help improve fluid circulation around the eyes. Other factors that can negatively affect circulation are a diet high in saltsmoking, as well as conditions involving the thyroid, kidney and liver and medications that could cause blood vessel dilation. Even the way that you sleep can affect circulation. Consider using an extra pillow to prop up your head so that fluids do not accumulate within the lower eyelids and cause puffiness and dark shadows.

Sun Exposure and Pigmentation.

Excess sun exposure can result in melanin or pigment production in the skin, leading to permanent darkening or pigmentation. It’s very important to protect your face against the sun using sunscreen that has a sufficiently high SPF (+30) or dark sunglasses.

Iron Deficiency.

Anemia, a condition due to a lack of iron, can make the skin look pale and the area around the eyes look darker. Eat iron-rich foods such as leafy greens, beans, prunes, eggs, oysters, etc.

Caffeine and Alcohol.

Not only does caffeine and alcohol dehydrate the body, they can also stimulate hormonal glands causing exhaustion and fatigue. Try to cut back on the caffeine and alcohol for a week and see how much this helps diminish the appearance of dark under-eye circles.

Sinus Congestion.

Congestion in your sinuses, whether due to a cold, allergies or a sinus infection, can dilate and darken the veins that drain from your eyes to your nose. Consider rinsing your sinuses regularly with the help of a nasal cleansing pot (also called a neti pot among yogis). Not only may regular sinus irrigation reduce dark eye circles, it will also definitely help to alleviate sinus problems.


As we get older, skin and the fat pad under the eyes becomes thinner, causing blood vessels to become more noticeable. There are injection treatments specifically for thin under eye skin but the results may not always be guaranteed or permanent.


The most common culprit behind chronic under-eye circles is heredity. Dark circles are prevalent on all skin colors and types, but they especially trouble people with darker skin such as Africans, Southeast Asians and Southern Italians due to the extra pigmentation in the skin. If you have dark skin, it is especially important to use sun protection around your eyes in order to prevent excess pigmentation.


Apart from tackling dark under eye circles at their source, there are eye creams that can help to diminish dark under eye circles. When choosing eye creams, look for ones with ingredients that include Vitamin K, Vitamin A (Retinol), Vitamin C, Caffeine (as a topical solution), Green Tea, and Grapeseed.

Cool compresses like eye gel masks and cucumber slices on the eyes can reduce puffiness and dark shadows.

But if the dark-eyed look runs in your family, meaning that you’ve inherited it, there are not many natural remedies at your disposal. There are possible treatments by way of laser resurfacing, but they may not always work the way you want them to.

In some cases, it may just be better to embrace your natural dark-eyed look and flaunt it for its mysterious and intriguing allure =)

Photo Source: Wild Child

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