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What Causes Dark Circles Under Eyes?

Chandramita Bora
Dark circles can be caused by a lack of enough sleep, fatigue, and some other conditions. Find out some of the possible causes of eye circles, through this story.
Dark circles or periorbital dark circles can be an annoying problem, as they can make you look old and tired. Though we usually blame factors like lack of enough sleep and fatigue for the development of such pigmented areas beneath the eyes, this condition can be caused by many other factors as well. Some of the most important factors that can cause the development of eye circles are discussed below.

Causes of Dark Circles Under Eyes


Allergies like hay fever can cause eye irritation or itching, which can compel the affected individual to rub his or her eyes frequently. Rubbing or scratching the eyes constantly can cause the skin under the eyes to darken. Moreover, allergies can cause the blood vessels present under the eyes to dilate, which can make the area look much darker than usual.


Like allergies, certain skin conditions, such as eczema can cause the appearance of eye circles in some individuals. Eczema can cause inflammation and irritation of the eyes, which can force an individual to rub his or her eyes frequently. This can cause the appearance of eye circles.


Sometimes, this condition can also run in families. So, the tendency to develop an area of pigmentation under the eyes, can be an inherited condition, and may not be associated with the amount of sleep, and any underlying health conditions.
Some people inherit a more transparent skin, for which the veins under the eyes can look darker and more prominent. Another inherited trait is the shape of the face. Individuals with deep set eyes are more likely to get dark circles.

Lack of Sleep and Fatigue

Some people can get periorbital circles when they could not get enough sleep in the night. A lack of enough sleep, and fatigue can make the skin paler, which in turn can cause the eye circles to look more prominent.


With growing age, the eye circles can become more distinct and noticeable. This is because, the skin around the eyes thins as we age, and this can make the blood vessels beneath the skin more noticeable.

Exposure to Sun

The excessive exposure to sun can increase the production of melanin in the skin, which can cause skin pigmentation. This can make the skin around or under the eyes darker.

Nutritional Deficiencies

An individual can also get eye circles for not following a healthy and balanced diet. The lack of certain essential nutrients in the body, especially iron, folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin K can cause the appearance of eye circles.

Cold and Sinus Infection

An infection of the sinuses, or nasal congestion can cause the appearance of dark circles, by increasing the pressure inside the blood vessels. Both cold and sinus infections can also make the skin paler, and so, the eye circles can look more distinct.

Other Factors

Apart from the conditions mentioned above, eye circles can have an association with factors, like smoking, over-consumption of alcohol and caffeinated beverages, stress, anemia, intake of certain medications that dilate the blood vessels, pregnancy, and menstruation.

What Causes Dark Circles in Children?

Eye circles are not very common in children, though it is not impossible for children to get them. Children can develop this condition due to heredity. Other than heredity, factors like fair and uneven complexion, nasal congestion, cold, sinus infections, allergies, and a poor diet can be responsible for causing the appearance of periorbital dark circles in children.
It is possible to reduce the appearance of eye circles with the help of some natural remedies and lifestyle changes. You can place cucumber slices and cool tea bags on the eyes for making the eye circles less noticeable. On the other hand, people who have allergies should try to identify and avoid the specific allergens.
At the same time, one should get plenty of sleep, avoid rubbing the eyes, follow a balanced diet, drink plenty of water daily, quit smoking, and reduce the consumption of alcohol. An eye cream containing retinol and vitamin K can also help you get rid of those pesky areas of pigmentation around the eyes.