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Shedding Light on Dark Circles: Causes and Remedies

There’s not a single person we know of who hasn’t spent at least some time in their lives worrying about dark circles. Dark circles are most commonly associated with stress, lack of sleep, tiredness and hangovers. But there’s more to it than that. Failing to identify the root cause dark circles would render every high-end, pricey product on your counter useless. So, let’s get to the root of what causes dark circles and what you can do about it.

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What are dark circles exactly?
The skin under our eyes is the most delicate. Dark circles are basically the blood vessels around your eyes showing through this thin skin. Age and a variety of other factors make these vessels more visible and often unsightly.

Often, it’s also accompanied by puffiness.

What causes dark circles?
You could be getting all the beauty sleep in the world and living in Zen, but you might still experience a case of “raccoon eyes”. A variety of factors could be responsible:

Genes:After unhealthy lifestyle, genes are the most common cause of dark circles. Inherited from the family, you may notice it right in your childhood. Some outgrow this by the time they reach adulthood, some don’t.

Allergy:Something as common as a nasal congestion can cause the blood vessels under and around your eyes to dilate and cause the skin to darken. It’ll fade once your allergic reaction subsides.

Vitamin Deficiency:- Lack of certain essential vitamins or iron can exacerbate dark circles. It’s important to these levels checked from time to time.

Sleep:We hate to break it to you, but there is such a thing as oversleeping and it’s as notorious as under-sleeping for causing dark circles.

Strain:Uninterrupted and prolonged exposure to TV, laptop and mobile screens can put undue strain on your eyes, dilate the blood vessels and cause darkening.

Dehydration:Dark circles are one of the most overlooked symptoms of dehydration. It’s common knowledge that lack of hydration results in dull skin, and the first area to show the effects is the most sensitive area of your face – the skin under your eyes.

UV exposure: Prolonged exposure to the sun stimulates production of melanin, which when produced in excess can cause darkening of undereye skin.

Age:With time, the skin all over our body, especially under the eyes, loses collagen and fat that make it smooth, supple and healthy. This paired with age-induced thinning makes the blood vessels underneath appear more visibly.

What can I do about this?
If you’ve just developed dark circles, simple home remedies and measures can be of help.

Cold Compress: Cold compress can reduce swelling and constrict dilated blood vessels, thereby reducing undereye shadow. Wrap an ice-cube in a muslin cloth and gently dab it on the area for about 20 minutes every day. Chilled bags of green tea, frozen steel spoon, cucumber slices, cotton pads dipped in cold rose water will work too. The juice from a potato is a known lightening agent too.

Snooze:8 hours of sleep are just enough to feel refreshed and give your eyes much needed rest and recovery.

Chemical peels: Chemical peels, like an AHA mask, are known to reduce pigmentation. Make sure you do this under professional supervision.

Cut down on salt: Higher salt intake increases fluid retention and blood pressure, causing blood vessels to dilate and the skin under your eyes to darken. Avoid processed, salty foods and watch your daily salt intake.

Topical treatments: Dark circles cannot be treated just one way. While you make lifestyle adjustments, you also need to be committed to using under eye creams that target dark circles or natural remedies like Vitamin E, cucumber and raw potato slices etc. 

Don’t rub: An instant reflex to soothe tired eyes is to rub them. This only does more harm than good. Whenever you want to soothe your eyes, just close them for a few minutes and/or cover them with something cooling. Even when you’re applying/removing makeup or skincare products, approach this area gently. Use a soft cloth or tissue to gently swipe it clean. Apply products with soft dabbing motions.

Sun protection: Not a single day goes by without us asserting the importance of wearing sunscreen EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. In addition, wear ridiculously large sunglasses that cover your eyes fully for extra protection.

Relax:Stress causes vessel dilation, causing dark circles. Take frequent breaks from your screen. Find healthy outlets to manage your stress. And make sure your body and mind get the break they need.

If nothing works and you’ve been dealing with dark circles for years without any respite, don’t delay a visit to the doctor, as it could be linked to a much more serious condition.

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