Dark Circles Around Your Eyes - Causes & Cures




We’ve all been there.... you’ve tossed and turned all night and when that alarm goes off in the morning, you’re met with a not-so-pleasant image in the bathroom mirror: dark circles under your eyes. They say the eyes are the window to the soul, so if you have a job interview or a big date that day then you’d rather your soul windows not look completely knackered.


Most people will notice dark circles around their eye’s after a bad night’s sleep and if after a good kip they start to fade away, chances are it was just your body’s way of letting you know that you needed some R&R. If however, a full eight hours a night isn’t enough to stop you looking like The Undertaker from WWE, it’s probably down to something else.


Long story short, what you’re actually seeing is a buildup of toxins that enlarge the blood vessels just beneath the thin, delicate skin surrounding your eyes. Apart from tiredness the causes for this can include any of the following.




Aging is one of the more common causes of dark circles around your eyes. As we get older, your skin becomes thinner and you lose the fat and collagen needed to maintain the skin’s elasticity. As this happens, the dark blood vessels beneath your skin become more visible which in turn causes the area below the eyes to darken.




Your genetics will also play a big part in the development of dark circles under your eyes so if you look around the room at a family gathering and see nothing but raccoon eyes, chances are its in your DNA. It can be seen as early as childhood and may worsen as you age or slowly disappear. Predispositions to other medical conditions (thyroid issues for example) can also cause dark circles around the eyes.




Allergies are one of the most common causes of dark circles around the eyes. This can include food allergies, pet allergies or pollen. When you have an allergic reaction, your body releases histamines as a response to harmful bacteria. In addition to causing itchiness, redness and other uncomfortable symptoms, histamines also cause blood vessels to dilate and become more visible beneath the skin. Allergies will also give rise to the temptation to rub and scratch your itchy eyes causing inflammation, swelling and broken blood vessels. And yes - you guessed it – this results in dark circles around your eyes.


Eye Strain


Staring at a TV or computer screen for hours on end can cause significant strain on the eyes. This in turn can cause blood vessels around your eyes to enlarge and as a result, the skin around the eyes will darken.


Overexposure To The Sun


Overexposure to the sun can result in an overproduction of melanin (the pigment that provides your skin with colour) by the body. Too much sun exposure can cause dark pigmentation in the skin around the eyes.




When your body is not receiving the proper amount of water, the skin around your eyes will start to look dull and your eye will appear sunken due to their close proximity to the underlying bone.


How you treat dark circles around the eyes will naturally depend on the underlying cause. As I’ve said, more often than not dark circles are caused by environmental factors such as fatigue and the dilated blood vessels should go away after a good nights sleep – ideally seven to eight hours. Elevating your head will also prevent fluid from pooling under your eyes, which make them appear puffy. As we’ve seen however, under eye circles aren’t always a result of sleep deprivation so here are some other tips and treatments for reducing the appearance of dark circles.


Apply A Cold Compress


A cold compress constricts the blood vessels temporarily and can offer short-term relief. Just wrap a few ice cubes in a clean washcloth or use cold water to dampen a washcloth and apply to the skin around the eyes.


Soak With Tea Bags


Take a tip from the model world and pop two wet, cold tea bags under your eyes. Tea contains caffeine and antioxidants that can help stimulate blood circulation, shrink blood vessels and reduce liquid retention beneath the skin. Remember to rinse your eyes afterwards.


Use An Eye Cream


A good grooming routine will also help to reduce the appearance of dark circles. I highly recommend Kiehl’s Eye Fuel For men but there are ton’s of great eye creams on the market for guys. Just remember that the skin under the eye is 10 times thinner than the rest of your face so products should be applied incredibly gently. Using a moisturiser or eye cream containing retinol will also help as it stimulates the production of collagen, which thickens paper-like skin.  


Clean Up Your Act


Meaning drink plenty of water, use sunscreen in that area (even in winter), give up the cigarettes and cut down on the booze. It all helps.


Conceal Them


It might not be for everyone but using concealer is an incredibly effective way of hiding dark circles that’s used by countless male celebrities. Just dab a small amount under each eye and it’ll harness light to keep those bags well under wraps.

Patrick McLoughney