Dark Circles Under the Eyes
If you have dark circles under your eyes, it is likely that one or more of your parents or grandparents have the same dark circles under their eyes. This trait is just as hereditary as varicose veins but it may not have anything to do with how much sleep you get. However, you can get dark circles under your eyes even if no one in your family tree has dark circles under their eyes.
What causes circles under the eyes?
To understand what causes them, we need to look at the nose. The most common cause of those dark bluish circles under the eyes is congestion around the nose. You see, the veins around the underside of the eyes drain into the veins of the nose. When your nose becomes congested or is blocked up, those veins become restricted and the flow of blood is reduced. This causes the flow of blood under the eyes to slow. The veins under the eyes become engorged causing them to swell larger and appear darker.
The most common cause of congestion is allergies and the most common allergens are pet dander, house dust, pollen and foods such as milk wheat, and chocolate.
Because nasal congestion is usually caused by an allergy or hay fever, these dark circles are sometimes called allergic shiners. Chronic sinus infections, recurrent colds, and blockage of the nose by large adenoids can all cause the dark circles under the eyes. Dark circles under the eyes are especially noticeable in people with fair complexions or light colored skin.
Overall, dark circles under the eyes are not a sign of poor health or troubled sleep. Although they may look bad there is usually nothing to be concerned about. Most of the time this discoloration is medically harmless and needs no treatment.
Rubbing or scratching the skin under the eyes can darken the skin and make the circles more noticeable.
Dark circles under children's eyes
The sudden onset of dark circles under the eyes of a child is usually a sign of allergies. If you remove the offending allergen that will usually solve the problem and get rid of the dark circles. If the problem persists, it may be a sign that they may have large adenoids. Look for signs that they breathe mostly through their mouth instead of their nose. If that is the case then you may want to talk to a doctor.
Pregnancy and Menstruation
Women who are pregnant often find that their skin color lightens. The more pale the skin, the more visible the veins under the eyes become. Relax, it is not a cause for concern.
As people grow older they are more likely to develop excess folds of skin under the eyes. For those who experience the dark circles under their eyes, this excess skin will make the dark circles more noticeable.
What do I do about them?
You don't have to do anything about these dark circles except maybe to avoid rubbing them, which makes them worse. But if they really bother you then you can try the following home remedies.
1. You could give them a washcloth treatment. Apply a cold compress to the area under the eyes. Not ice, just a washcloth wrung out in cold water. Apply it for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. This will constrict the blood vessels and turn tissue white, so the 'darkness' doesn't show as much.
2. You could cover them up with makeup. Many cosmetics can cover up dark circles. There's a product called Clinique Continuous Cover that hides dark circles under the eyes. It is sold as a cosmetic cover for black eyes but is also very effective at hiding dark circles.
3. Remove your contact lenses before going to bed.
4. Place slices of a chilled cucumber, one on each eye, for 15 minutes and relax. Wash the affected areas off with cold water.
5. Drinking more water can have a beneficial effect on eye bags. Your body uses water to flush the toxins that can build up under the eyes.
6. Moisturizing eye creams can be extremely beneficial when working to get rid of eye bags. Creams that contain vitamins A, K, and C helps break down toxins and maintain healthy skin.
7. Think twice about foods and drinks that encourage fluid retention such as alcohol, coffee, white sugar, cheese, fried foods, carbonated drinks, white flour, gravy, salt, soy sauce, and foods that contain monosodium glutamate.
8. Chamomile tea has been found to help relieve eye fatigue and dark circles. With this simple remedy you just place 2 chamomile tea bags in a cup of warm water. After 5 minutes, remove the tea bags from the water and let them cool to room temperature. Then place them on your eyes at night as a compress.
Feedback about Dark Circles Under Eyes
Subj: Eye bags
Can eye bags go away after taking allergy medication?. I found out that my cat was making me have allergy reactions (itchy eyes/nose trouble breathing/fatigue and also noticed to have bags under my eyes).
AskDocWeb: Pet dander is a common cause of eye bags. And yes, allergy medication is likely to help reduce the bags beneath your eyes.
Subj: Kidney insufficiency
I have read an article that bags under the eyes could be caused by kidney insufficiency. If this is true, what can be done to strengthen the kidneys? Thanks,
AskDocWeb: There is nothing you can do to "strengthen" your kidneys but you can avoid (as much as possible) those drugs that damage or strain the kidneys such as Furosemide, Zenapax, Cipro XR, Tricor and Vfend.
Subj: Dark circles
Besides washcloth treatment, is there something else natural that can improve and take away dark circles? I'm interested in adding vitamins or whatever necessary that might help. I am really desperate and wouldn't want to just get help from make up. Thank you...
AskDocWeb: It depends on the cause of those dark circles. If an allergy is the causing the darkness then allergy medication would help. You might want to consult with a dermatologist to find the cause. Some people are just prone to have darker skin beneath their eyes. Remember that rubbing that area can make it worse.
Subj: Chronic Sinus Congestion and many allergies
I have eye bags, except mine are not dark, they are pink. They are getting worse, before they could only be noticed under lighting, but now they are noticeable regardless. I am worried. Can you tell me what can cause pink bags under the eyes, and can you tell me if anything can be done? (I have Chronic Sinus Congestion and many allergies. Maybe that can help you explain).
AskDocWeb: The chronic sinus condition and allergies will do this. You may want to explore the possibility of sinus surgery with your doctor to clear up the fullness in your face. When your sinuses are full this is the first place the infection will settle and appear as bags.
Subj: Dark circles
Hi, my daughter is 7 years old and the past few days I have noticed bags and dark circles under her eyes. Over the Christmas period she was unwell and on antibiotics, we also were given a kitten to which I got rid of after a week as I thought it was making her worse i.e. dry cough etc...are the bags/dark circles anything to be alarmed about or could she just not be getting enough sleep as trying to get her back into her normal routine after the Christmas holidays has been quite difficult. Thank-you,
AskDocWeb: Since she just finished her antibiotic it would be appropriate to take her back to her pediatrician for a follow-up exam.
Can creams help with dark circles like they advertise. For example, StriVectin?
AskDocWeb: It's being advertised as helping with this problem, but how well it works we cannot say. Maybe someone out there has tried this $100.00 per bottle product and will let us know when they read this post.
Subj: Alcohol and kidneys
I am intrigued by what you said about the allergies. I know that kidney irritation is a known cause of eye bags. Alcohol is rough on the kidneys. What I was thinking is this. What if a person has some drinks directly before they go to sleep. The person gets six hours of sleep but the kidneys only get five because they have to finish filtering the alcohol for the bladder before they can go to sleep.
AskDocWeb: The problem with that idea is that your kidneys, like your lungs and heart, continue to function while you sleep.
Subj: whitening cream?
Does applying whitening cream for the eyes help lessen the dark circles under the eyes?
AskDocWeb: There is more than one whitening cream, which one?
Subj: Eye Bags
Aside from the washcloth treatment, is there anything else naturally that can remove my under eyebags? I have read an article about getting rid of eyebag naturally and there it say's that if you put a two silver tablespoons in the freezer then after that you'll be going to put it in your eyes, is that remedy true? Can cold wet tea bags and cucumber slices can get rid of this eyebags? Note: I'm only 16 years old.
AskDocWeb: These will only decrease the look of puffiness for a few hours. At age 16 your eye bags may be the result of a severe sinus infection or allergies. This should be checked out by visit to the doctor's office in case you require treatment.
Subj: Big eye bag
I have a very big eyebag. I think it's not because of allergy. Besides washcloth treatment and putting make-ups, is there something else natural that can improve and take away dark circles? I mean the very effective way.
AskDocWeb: Sorry Ruby, there is no known natural way that is very effective in getting rid of eye bags.
Subj: Terrible dark circles under eyes
I have terrible dark circles under my eyes. One day I got out a picture of my grandmother and her 9 sisters...It was like looking in a mirror, every single one had horrible bags under their eyes. I'm not talking "slight dark circles"...their eyes practically look like they were sunk in their face. Gee I guess I have this to look forward to. I getting there fast.
Subj: Heavy permanent eyebags
Hello, I've had eyebags since I was about 10years old. I'm now 23 years old and still have them. This is not something I get in the morning, I have parmanent eyebags. They reduce a bit in the evening, but are still clearly visible. My eye bags are not really dark, but they tend to create a shade under my eyes just because they stick out compared to the skin beneath it. I don't have experience with allergies. I do know my mom's got 'permanent' eyebags as well. You don't see people with heavy permanent eyebags a lot and I can't find much about it on the internet. Is it just a permanent sack of fat beneath the eyes? Is surgery the only option for me? Thanks in advance,
Ben from the Netherlands
AskDocWeb: There are a few other options. You could cover it with traditional makeup and a concealer but if that doesn't provide satisfactory results then you might want to one of the new types of makeup called permanent makeup.
Subj: Under eye bags at 16
I am only 16 I got underbags what should I do?
AskDocWeb: Although they may look bad there is usually nothing to be concerned about. Most of the time this discoloration is medically harmless and needs no treatment. Rubbing the skin under the eyes can darken the skin and make the circles more noticeable. The most common cause of those bags under the eyes is congestion around the nose and the most common cause of that congestion is allergies. If you can find out what you might be allergic to you may be able to get some relief by avoiding that substance. Check for the most common allergens such as pet dander, house dust, pollen and foods such as milk wheat, and chocolate.
Subj: Allergic to cats
I have moved to an apartment with carpeting where there were two cats living here before. The carpets were cleaned but I've noticed a major increase in dark circles and eye bags since I've lived here the last few months. I am looking to move elsewhere. I have been tested and am allergic to cats. Is there a good chance these eye bags will decrease in swelling? I've also notices the veins around my eyes have increased in size as well. Thank you.
AskDocWeb: Yes, the eye bags are quite likely to decrease, as well as the swelling, once you get away from the cause of the allergy.
Read more feedback about eye bags and dark circles.
Most recent post: June 7, 2012
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