Dark under-eye circles, causes and treatments

It turns out that the skin under our eyes can tell a lot about how we are feeling and our overall health. That extra glass of wine from girls' night out, the overtime hours you accumulated last week, and even that extra hour of phone scrolling in bed last night can all show up as under-eye dark circles and puffiness.   
Why do dark circles form? 
Dark circles occur when the area beneath the eyes becomes dulled - this can be a result of lifestyle, hereditary factors, or a combination of both.  
The first cause of these circles is hyperpigmentation, which is a darkening of the skin's color (also known as pigment.) It's the same process that leads to sunspots, freckles, and melasma.  
Dilation of veins is another reason that dark circles develop. When veins dilate, they become darker and more prominent. Some of the leading causes of vein dilation include lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, smoking, dehydration, allergies, poor diet, and overexposure to the sun.  
Finally, natural aging can increase the appearance of dark circles under the eyes. As we get older, the collagen and elastin in our skin grow thinner, which causes veins to inevitably begin showing through the delicate skin surrounding the eye area.  
However, if you notice dark circles when you look in the mirror, there's no need to stress. Here are a handful of our favorite ways to naturally prevent and minimize the appearance of under-eye bags.  
1. Get more sleep  
Ensuring you get adequate sleep each night is a great way to control eye circles from forming and help prevent them from progressing. Elevating your head with a semi-firm, natural pillow can also help diminish dark circles and swelling by keeping fluid from pooling under your eyes overnight. Change your pillowcase regularly to keep you protected from allergens and other unwanted mites that could cause eye irritation.  
2. Use a cold compress 
Applying a cold compress to the eye area for about 10 - 15 minutes one or two times per day can significantly reduce the puffiness and dark shadows under your eyes. There are even eye masks that can be placed in the freezer and easily applied in the morning and/or before bed.  
3. Stock up on Vitamin E oil 
Vitamin E fights off the effect of free radicals and UV damage on the skin that can lead to dark spots, wrinkles, and sagging skin. It can also provide and lock in moisture, helping the skin look plump and hydrated. Before bed, gently massage a Vitamin E-containing product into the eye area and leave it on overnight.   
4. Decrease your salt intake  
Too much sodium in your diet will cause dehydration, which leads to puffiness and bloating throughout the body. The thin skin surrounding the eye area is especially prone to dehydration and dryness. If you do enjoy a snack or meal that is salty, be sure to double down on your water intake to try and counter the effects!  
5. Break out the shades 
Find a pair of sunglasses that filter out UV rays, and be sure to put them on each time you go outside! Wearing sunglasses helps prevent sun damage to your eyes and the delicate area surrounding them. As a bonus, they'll stop you from squinting, which leads to crows feet and fine lines!  
If you're looking for more ways to jumpstart your skincare routine, take a look at our blog that includes 6 detox recipes for glowing skin! 

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