Bright Eyes Ahead: Common Causes & Solutions for Dark Under-Eye Circles

Bright Eyes Ahead: Common Causes & Solutions for Dark Under-Eye Circles

As a clean beauty brand committed to creating products that help nourish and protect your skin, we are deeply passionate about education. Getting to the root cause of common skincare complaints, such as dark under eye circles, combined with products to support skin health will allow your natural glow to shine through. To help you troubleshoot what might be causing dark under-eye circles, we asked some experts in the field of natural health and beauty for their advice.

Below we’ll outline the 7 common causes of dark under-eye circles and the solutions that you can incorporate into your routine to help reduce their appearance, naturally.  

7 Common Causes of Dark Under Eye-Circles

The body works as a holistic system so there is rarely one singular cause of dark under-eye circles. Below we’ve outlined seven of the most common causes and asked some experts in the field for their advice on everything from facial structure to adrenal and kidney health and everything else that contributes to the appearance of dark circles.  

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1. Poor Sleep 

Poor sleep habits and poor sleep hygiene causing you to not get high quality sleep can prematurely age the skin, making your look more tired while enhancing dark circles under the eyes. This happens because lack of sleep causes the blood vessels under the eyes to dilate giving the appearance of darker skin since the vessels are closer to the surface.

Hello Joyous Organic Sleepy Time Tea

2. Adrenal Fatigue

Dark under-eye circles are a common sign of adrenal fatigue. When someone experiences adrenal fatigue, usually the kidneys and liver are not functioning as optimally as they could be. This impact on the kidneys can be associated with the causes of dark under eye circles as found in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Rachel Schwartzman, ND told us that in “TCM, the area under the eyes is associated with the kidneys, which not only regulate the fluid of our bodies, but store our essence, or vitality. It is this kidney essence that gives our body the energy for reproduction, and longevity.” 

Tying this back to adrenal fatigue she highlights that the “adrenals are also connected to the kidneys, so stress will have a negative impact on our kidney energy. The kidneys detoxify the fluid portion of our body, making sure the “dirty part” of the liquid is excreted.” That’s why “too much stress, overworking, not sleeping enough, being exposed to chemicals, and a diet low in fruits, vegetables, and fluids, can all exhaust this intricate system. One of the ways a drained kidney essence can present in the body is, with dark circles under the eyes.” 

If you’ve been experiencing a lot of chronic stress (and the lack of sleep that often accompanies it) that can be a recipe for adrenal burnout and dark under-eye circles!

 3. Facial Structure

Another cause of under-eye circles can be impacted by facial structure. According to Seanna Cohen, a holistic Skin Therapist, “When it comes to the appearance of dark circles, natural facial structure can be a culprit. The ‘tear trough’ is a depression that runs from the inner corner of the eyes down along the nose, lower eyelid, and upper cheek.” 

She further highlights that anatomical “facial features can make this depression deeper and dark circles appear more pronounced such as with the shape of the eye socket or cheekbones. Deep set eyes, where the brow bone is more prominent and the eyes set back, can also cause shadows and give the appearance of dark circles.” 

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Even if you’re not born with this anatomical feature, she shared that the “tear trough can become more prominent with age. Eyes can take on a sunken look when facial bones shrink, collagen degrades and fat pads around the cheek lose volume.” 

4. Dehydration

You may not immediately make the connection between dehydration and dark under-eye circles, but blood vessels become more prominent when you’re not drinking enough water. The skin around your eyes is very, very thin, which makes the appearance of the blood vessels more prominent. So when you’re dehydrated it’s like a double-whammy: blood vessels that already appear more prominent due to the thin skin under the eye look EVEN MORE prominent, leading to darker under-eye circles. Luckily it’s also the easiest cause on this list to fix–drink more water! Your skin will thank you. 

5. Food & Environmental Allergies 

Allergies can be triggered by certain foods but may also be caused by dust mites, mold, or seasonal allergies. You might hear dark circles under the eyes that are caused by allergies referred to as “allergic shiners.” 

The reason allergies, whether to foods or environmental allergens, can cause dark circles under the eyes is often due to the accompanying sinus congestion. When you have an allergic reaction to something, your immune system accidentally identifies a typically harmless substance, like pollen, as something harmful. This reaction causes the body to create antibodies that tell your blood vessels to dilate and signals to your body to make a substance called histamine. The body’s reaction to histamine is what causes symptoms of allergy including stuffiness, sneezing, coughing, or watery, red eyes. 

How does this relate to dark under-eye circles? Well, sinus congestion can cause the delicate veins under the eyes to become congested as well. When this happens, blood pools in the veins causing them to darken and dilate which leads to dark circles and under-eye puffiness!

6. Iron Deficiency

    Iron is a critical component of hemoglobin, a type of red blood cell that carries oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. This blood nourishes your cells and organs so your body feels healthy and vibrant. When iron levels become low, the body starts producing fewer red blood cells, which means there are fewer cells available to nourish the surface of the skin. 

    The body will prioritize the health of internal organs, which means that the iron-rich blood may be diverted away from the skin to supply your organs instead. When you have a lack of oxygen-rich blood getting to your skin it enhances the look of dark under-eye circles due to paler looking skin. 

    7. Low Thyroid  

    Low thyroid function can impact the appearance of dark circles because one of its symptoms is fluid retention, including the area around your eyes. Fluid retention triggered by hypothyroidism can cause excessive bags under your eyes, which can pull down on your eyes causing darkness and puffiness. 

    Natural Solutions to Reduce Dark Under-Eye Circles

    Reducing dark under-eye circles from the inside out is a great place to start since the skin is a reflection of what’s happening inside the body. Increase the benefits of these diet and lifestyle tips by pairing them with all natural skincare products designed to nourish and protect the delicate skin around the eyes. 

    1. Practice Healthy Sleep Hygiene 

    The foundation for vibrant health is to regularly get enough good quality sleep. The benefits of sleep are too numerous to count, but it supports your adrenal health and helps reduce the appearance of under-eye circles. Try winding down with a cuppa TLC tea, loaded with herbs to support stress relief & relaxation and check out these natural solutions for sleep to help send you off to dreamland!

    TLC Organic Herbal tea for sleep

    2. Support Kidney & Adrenal Health 

    We spoke to Dr. Aliya Visram, Chiropractor and Reg. Acupuncturist to get the scoop on dark under-eye circles and their link to kidney & adrenal health. She told us that “Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) centers around the concept that beauty is a reflection of the state of one’s whole body. Radiance or the “glow” comes from a balanced state of energy–from inside out. Chinese medicine often associates dark circles under the eyes as a sign of imbalance in the kidneys and adrenals.” 

    Support the adrenal glands by managing stress, getting adequate sleep, and incorporating adaptogens into your routine.

    Dr. Aliya also shared some more great tips with us to help support your under-eye health: “In addition to seeing your friendly acupuncturist to help balance the body, you can also help your kidneys by reducing your salt intake, drinking more water, getting plenty of sleep and eating nourishing foods. Using your Gua Sha to stimulate blood flow in the under eye area is also a great DIY way to improve circulation and reduce the appearance of dark circles.” 

     Long story short: supporting adrenal and kidney health is a great way to cleanse the blood and reduce those dark circles! 

    3. Add Collagen to Your Diet  

    Seanna mentioned above that the collagen degradation that happens as we age can cause a sunken look around the eyes, making dark circles appear more prominent. Try supplementing with a high quality collagen or incorporating delicious collagen-rich elixirs and treats into your diet to support supple, healthy, skin. 

    4. Stay Hydrated  

    This one is pretty simple: Make sure you are drinking enough water every day to prevent dehydration and its impact on your blood vessels. Try incorporating drinks that are loaded with antioxidants and nutrients to support glowing skin and reduce dark circles from the inside out. Try sipping on one of our organic functional wellness teas to meet your hydration needs for the day!

    Organic Wellness Teas from Hello Joyous

    5. Check for Food & Other Allergies  

    Symptoms of food or environmental allergies are worth investigating. Work with a natural health provider to get to the root cause so that you can eliminate or avoid them as much as possible. They can also reduce the overwhelm that comes from figuring out where to start when it comes to discovering allergens in the diet, home, and environment. 

    6. Check Your Thyroid Health & Iron Levels

    Routinely testing thyroid and iron levels can highlight whether they might be the root cause of dark under-eye circles. Working with a qualified natural health practitioner, such as a Naturopath, can order the appropriate blood work to check your levels. They will also be able to provide customized support to rebalance hormones and recommend appropriate supplements and dosages to boost iron levels if needed. 

    7. Use a High Quality Eye Serum

    Finally, adding a high quality eye serum to your beauty routine can make an incredible difference to the appearance of dark circles. Hello Joyous’s Eye Elixir Serum contains green tea extract, which helps reduce the appearance of dilated blood vessels under the eyes and the dark circles they can cause. It’s also rich in antioxidants & tannins that help shrink blood vessels, which reduces eye puffiness and dark under-eye circles. Vitamin K is another antioxidant it contains that helps lighten dark circles. 

    Hello Joyous Organic Eye Elixir Serum

    Not only does Eye Elixir reduce dark under-eye circles, it also contains nourishing ingredients that infuse the skin with moisture and antioxidants to soften the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

    We hope this post empowers you with the knowledge you need to support whole-body health and reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles, naturally!