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Dark circles are common in both men and women. Are they a serious health problem? Are they a cause for concern? No, but they can make you look tired, haggard and older than you are.

The skin under the eyes is the thinnest on the body; that makes it more vulnerable, especially as we age. Dark circles may look blue or purple to dark brown, depending on the person’s skin color. People think they are due to fatigue and lack of sleep. Although this could be true, there are numerous other causes ranging from genetic conditions to lifestyle issues like eye strain due to working in poor light and dehydration from drinking less fluids.

Often, dark circles are signals from our bodies, telling us we need to make some lifestyle changes, such as improvements in diet or sleep habits.


Extreme fatigue, lack of sufficient sleep or even oversleeping can cause dark circles to form. Sleep deprivation causes the skin to become pale, causing the dark tissues and blood vessels beneath the skin to show. Lack of sleep can even cause fluid to form under the eyes making them look puffy.

Any condition that causes the eyes to itch can contribute to darker circles due to rubbing or scratching the skin around them. Hay fever sufferers in particular will notice under-eye “smudges” during the allergy season. Some food allergies can also cause the area under the eyes to appear darker.

As we get older, our skin becomes thinner. We also lose the collagen needed to maintain our skin’s elasticity. When this occurs, the dark blood vessels beneath your skin become more conspicuous causing the area below your eyes to darken.

The skin around the eyes is the thinnest of the body, and extremely sensitive. The more we irritate it by scratching and rubbing, the more it is likely to react.

Sometimes, dark circles under the eyes could be the result of an underlying health problem such as fluid retention, nasal congestion, trauma, thyroid disease, dermatitis, eczema, liver dysfunction, and anemia from iron deficiency.

When our body is not receiving the proper amount of water, the skin beneath the eyes begins to look dull and the eyes look sunken. This is due to their close proximity to the underlying bone.

Overexposure to the sun can cause our body to produce an excess of melanin, the pigment that provides our skin with color. Too much sun — particularly for your eyes — can cause pigmentation in the surrounding skin to darken.

Dark circles can be hereditary. Research has found that if your mother has them, it’s quite likely that you and your siblings will inherit them. Non-white ethnic groups (darker skin tones) such as South Asians, and Latin, African and Mediterranean people are more prone to hyperpigmentation around the eye area.


Hyperpigmentation under the eyes can be difficult to eradicate completely, but there are ways to minimize their appearance.

While makeup and cosmetics do not cure dark eye circles, they can help to camouflage them. Concealers can cover dark marks so they blend in with your normal skin color.

Products made with hydroquinone, especially when combined with retinoids or vitamin C, have been useful for some people in lightening dark circles. Retinoids can affect both cellular and molecular properties of the skin, and make your skin look younger.

It’s obvious. If over exposure to sun can cause dark circles, avoiding the sun or wearing sun screens and dark shades when you step out, will help protect your eyes from the sun.

There are many DIY, natural recipes for reducing puffiness and dark circles under the eyes. For example, slices of cucumber or chilled teabags placed on the eyes will soothe the skin, constricting the blood vessels so the dark patches and puffiness aren’t as pronounced.

Sanctuary Salon and Med Spa, Orlando’s leading day spa, recommends Dermal Bliss Intense Eye Repair. Luxuriously creamy and packed with vitamins A & C, copper peptides and antioxidants, it brightens dark circles, minimizes fine lines and sun damage. For best results, apply twice a day on clean skin around the eyes. Follow with your regular moisturizer.

As Orlando’s Award Winning Hair Salon and Med Spa, Sanctuary has a fine team of estheticians who will analyze and evaluate your skin, understand your lifestyle and suggest the most suitable treatment to help you look your best.