Whether the result of a late night, long flight, or just an overall stressful week, visibly tired eyes have forever been a universal beauty woe. The skin under the eyes is very thin, delicate, and sensitive, and it requires a little extra TLC in the skincare department.
Usually accompanied by puffiness, dark circles under the eye go far beyond just looking tired; they're sometimes an indicator of rising stress levels, poor nutrition, and full blown exhaustion. But don't fret, targeting under eye circles is easier than you think, and we’ve got some simple tips to improve the look of those pesky dark under eye circles.
The truth is, your eye puffiness and dark circles could be inherited, and some people, especially those with thin, pale skin, have superficial blood vessels, which results in a reddish-purple hue showing through.
However, the most common reason for dark circles under your eyes is hyperpigmentation, which can be caused by environmental factors like sun exposure, smoking, and poor sleep. Then there are seasonal allergies and nasal congestion which can contribute to poor circulation to the lower eyelid, leading to dilated veins. When veins under the eye dilate, they become bigger and darker -- resulting in dark under eye circles.
Also, loss of fat and collagen under the eyes is a big contributor to dark circles, leading to a sunken look and thinner skin which can magnify their appearance.
While there aren’t many fast fixes for dark circles, making some small changes, while maintaining a nutritious anti-inflammatory diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats can bring about dramatically visible skin improvements all over the body – including the eye area. Adding a Vitamin K supplement and consuming less red wine and caffeine can reduce the appearance of dark circles under the eyes and even the depth of wrinkles.
Not getting enough sleep doesn’t exactly cause dark circles, but it does exaggerate their appearance. How much sleep you need to stay healthy depends on your age and varies from person to person, but most adults need at least seven or more hours of sleep each night to avoid looking pale and sleepless, complete with dark circles, in the morning. Sleeping on your back with your head slightly elevated will also help to minimize the chance of added puffiness.
To avoid hyperpigmentation (and other sun damage to your skin) a daily sunscreen is essential. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection all the way to your lash line, and wear sunglasses. If you want to protect and cover simultaneously, look for an under eye concealer that contains a broad-spectrum SPF.
If you’re a smoker, quit immediately! Research shows that smoking cigarettes and inhaling second-hand smoke worsens dark circles, as does being overweight and having high cholesterol or triglycerides – both of which can be reduced with dietary changes and exercise. Essentially, you wear your health on your face, so anything you do to make yourself healthier will reduce the appearance of dark circles under your eyes.
When it comes to tackling dark under eye circles, look for ingredients like caffeine, hyaluronic acid, tri-peptides, and moisture-locking ceramides. And a skin care product that contains both Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid is a must in your fight against the dreaded circles. Vitamin C helps build collagen, causing a separation between the vein and skin, and hyaluronic acid plumps the skin to decrease transparency.
Concealing your dark under eye circles with makeup is all about color correction. What colors are you are trying to conceal? If your circles are dark blue or grey, you need the warmth of a peach concealer to counteract the undertones. If you see more pink or red tones, you need to neutralize them with a concealer that has more of a yellow base. Make sure you prep your skin with eye cream 10 - 15 minutes before you apply your concealer. Once your cream is fully absorbed, apply your concealer in small dashes fanning out from the inner corner of the eye. With your ring finger or a blending sponge, smooth out the dashes in gentle taps to avoid a streaky application.
Pro Tip: Oily skin types may find their concealer wants to smear away by midday (or mid-morning), so try setting the concealer with the slightest touch of loose translucent powder.
While it's true that genetics can play a role in determining the depth of your under-eye circles, ultimately dark under eye circles come down to a complicated combination of diet, lifestyle, and skin care.