You woke up one morning and they were just there! You didn’t go on a bender. You don’t have any sort of illness that you’re aware of. You ask your daughter, but she swears she didn’t paint your face with her makeup while you slept . . . again. So what are those dark circles under eyes? What Causes Dark Circles around Eyes? For the possible answer to that question, read on.
Dark Circles Under Eyes
Some of the thinnest skin we have on our bodies is located in the Periorbital region of our face. Periorbital, loosely translated, means “around the eyes.” It is mostly the region just below the eyes that we will be talking about. The area that often appears dark or puffy after little sleep of extended sickness.
Dark Circles Under Eyes: Causes
The next 2 sections on internal and external causes of dark circle eyes may be somewhat interchangeable. For some it’s the “chicken or the egg”.
- Allergies – Millions of people suffer from allergies, and this can be a major contributor to the puffiness and dark circles under eyes.
- Sinus Infection and Cold – Once the area behind your eyes gets filled with mucus and infection it is highly likely that you will experience Periorbital symptoms.
- Aging – Everyone experiences dark circles under eyes to some extent as they grow older. Good skin care earlier in life can help fend off and lessen the severity of these types of conditions later.
- Excessive Pigmentation – The thin skin under the eyes allows the microscopic layer of blood vessels known as capillaries to actually show through the skin. This makes for darker patches of skin. If you pull the Periorbital skin to the side and blotches appear, it is a pretty good indication you have Excessive Pigmentation.
- Genetics – If your parents of grandparents had dark circles under eyes, it’s quite possible you also will have the condition. There’s not much you can do in the way of prevention, but treatment is the same.
- Medical Problems – There are illnesses that can cause the situation. Both the Thyroid and Kidney can malfunction, and one of the symptoms is dark circles under eyes.
- Anemia – Although this can be fixed with diet, I list anemia as one of the internal illnesses, as it is caused by a lack of Iron in the blood.
- Crying – Excessive crying usually comes with things like rubbing and wiping of the eyes, as well as snotty noses. Both in combination can lead to dark patches in the Periorbital skin.
- Itching – Allergies lead to itching, and itching leads to scratching or rubbing, and all those lead to dark circles.
- Makeup – Sometimes makeup can lead to Periorbital Darkness. Not the makeup itself, but when removed after being worn too long, or slept in, you may notice dark circles under eyes.
- Stress – This is one of the leading factors of the condition. Little sleep, squeezing of the bridge of the nose or other physical side effects of high stress can cause you to look like the walking dead.
- Eczema – Eczema is a skin condition, but as most of the causes are external we list it here.
- Too Much Sun – This can dry out the skin and lead to dark circles under eyes.
Dark Circles Under Eyes: Poor Diet
I saved the best for last! Osmosis is the process of moisture (water) crossing over thin membranes within the body. It often occurs due to salt. Water in the body travels from areas of low salt concentration, to areas of high concentration. There are several things that can contribute to this process:
- A high salt content in your diet
- A combination of both
When your diet is high in Sodium (salt), and you don’t drink enough water the area under your eyes can get dark circles under them. It is the result of the high content of salt in your body drawing all the moisture it can to the high Sodium areas. Your healthy/normal Periorbital spaces are usually filled with moisture. When it gets drawn to other areas:
- Capillaries can show through (see picture below)
- Pigmentation becomes darker
- Circles appear
Take your pick! There are a multitude of things that can cause dark circles under eyes, and it may take you a while to discover yours. Keep track of what you eliminate and add to your daily routine, including food. If you look closely, you quite possibly will find the cause of your dark circles under eyes.
Place an “i” next to the internal causes of dark circles under eyes, and an “e” next to the external causes.
_____1. Sinus Infection
_____2. Scratching and Rubbing
_____4. Poor Diet
_____6. Excessive Pigmentation
_____7. High Sodium Content
Answers at the bottom of the page!
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Answers 1) i, 2) e, 3) e, 4) e, 5) i, 6) i, 7) e