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  5. Dark Circles Under Eyes: Causes, Treatments & Preventive Tips

Are you tired of hiding those dark circles under your eyes with makeup? Though under eye dark circles do not indicate any serious medical condition, they may cause stress among people for cosmetic reasons.

In this article, we bring forth some of the most effective treatments to reduce dark circles under the eyes and a few preventive tips.

Let's begin!

Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks

‘’While an elevated Vata dosha causes constricted blood vessels under your eyes, an elevated Pitta causes overproduction of melanin pigment, which together lead to the formation of dark circles under the eyes.’’

-Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix

Overview Of Dark Circles

Dark circles under the eyes appear in the black, dark brown, or bluish shade, depending on your skin tone. Dark circles appear when the skin beneath both eyes is hyperpigmented. Usually, it happens under both the eyes and is different from bruising scars from injuries or eye infections.

Though tiredness or lack of sleep are the most common causes of dark circles under the eyes, several other factors can contribute to its appearance. In most cases, dark circles under the eyes indicate a need for altering your lifestyle practices, diet, and sleep habits.

How Do You Know If You Have Dark Circles Under The Eyes?

Typically, dark circles under the eyes are most noticeable when you examine your eyes in the mirror. Dark circles generally occur in the area spreading in between the inner and outer corners under your eyes. Moreover, the skin under both of your eyes appears in a darker tone when compared with the rest of the facial skin. Sometimes, you may also notice puffiness along with the dark circles under the eyes.

“Dark circles may appear in the dark brown or black color in people with darker skin tones while it appears in the purple or blue shade in people with fair skin tones,’’ says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.

dark circles around eye

What Causes Dark Circles Under The Eyes?

As per Ayurveda, the occurrence of dark circles under the eyes is caused by aggravated Vata and Pitta doshas in your body.

‘’While an elevated Vata dosha causes constricted blood vessels under your eyes, an elevated Pitta causes overproduction of melanin pigment, which together lead to the formation of dark circles under the eyes,’’ says Dr. Zeel.

Different factors that trigger Vata and Pitta dosha elevation, resulting in the dark circles under your eyes, include:

  • Smoking
  • Overconsumption of alcohol
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Stress
  • Inadequate or infrequent meals
  • Dehydration
  • Overexposure to a computer or mobile screens
  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Overexposure to the sun
  • Thyroid-related conditions
  • Shadowing caused by thin skin under your eyes (reduction of fatty tissue around eyes)
  • Swollen eyes and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation [1]
  • Secondary symptoms of allergies such as hay fever, eczema, dermatitis
  • Anemia from iron deficiency
  • Rubbing the eyes frequently

As per recent reports, the average screen time of Indians is about 7 hours a day, which is one of the significant causes of vision deterioration problems among Indians.

A. Nutritional Deficiency Causing Dark Circles

Dark circles under the eyes can also indicate a deficiency of any of the following nutrients in your body, which in turn leads to Vata aggravation.

1. Iron Deficiency: It causes a lack of oxygen in your skin cells, which may result in dark circles around the eyes.

2. Vitamin K Deficiency: It causes the blood capillaries around your eyes to break, leading to the darkening of the surrounding area.

3. Vitamin E Deficiency: It causes a dull appearance and ageing signs in your skin. Also, the under-eye area may become puffy along with developing dark circles.

4. Vitamin C Deficiency: It causes loss of elasticity in your skin, which makes the blood vessels appear darker under the eyes.

B. Certain Foods That Cause Dark Circles

Consuming the following foods in your diet regularly can vitiate the Vata and Pitta doshas in your body, contributing to under eye dark circles.

  • Uncooked raw vegetables and greens
  • Iced drinks
  • Cold and frozen salads
  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Unripe fruits and vegetables
  • Over spicy, dry, oily, pungent, sour, fermented, or fried foods
  • Junk or processed foods that contain excess sodium, preservatives, etc.

C. Risk Factors Of Dark Circles Under The Eyes

Dark circles under the eyes are most common among:

  • Elderly people
  • People with darker skin tones
  • People who have a genetic predisposition to periorbital hyperpigmentation [2].

How To Remove Dark Circles Under The Eyes?

1. Ayurvedic Methods

A. Self Abhyanga: Abhyanga not only enhances the blood flow to your skin but also relieves you from stress. To perform self abhyanga [3], massage your body with herbal oil an hour before taking a bath.

“You can use the oil or ghee infused with Vata-Pitta pacifying herbs such as bala, shatavari, brahmi, yashtimadhu, etc. for abhyanga,’’ says Dr. Zeel.

  • Use cool herbal teas made of yashtimadhu or triphala to wash your eyes daily. It boosts blood circulation and controls the inflammation around your eyes.
  • Take a few drops of kumkumadi tailam in your palm and massage the areas of dark circles using your fingertips gently.
  • Add a few drops of rose water to ¼ spoon of sandalwood powder to make a smooth paste. Now, apply it on the dark circles and rinse off after an hour.
  • Add half spoon of honey to half spoon of amla powder to form a smooth paste. Apply the paste to your dark circles under the eyes and wash it off after 15-20 minutes.
  • Do Nasya karma regularly by instilling 2-3 drops of anu taila into each nostril.
  • You can also use herbal eye drops to relieve your eyes from screen stress. The eye drops can contain cooling herbs such as camphor, menthol, rose, etc.
  • Practice exercises regularly that relax your eyes. Sit in a dark room and place a candle at your eye level. Lit the candle and then gaze at it until your eyes fill the tears. Then, close the eyes for a while and repeat the exercise 2-3 times a day.

2. Home Remedies

  • Soak cotton pads in rose water and then put them onto your eyes for 10-15 minutes. Repeat it twice a week.
  • Dip two green tea bags in cold water. Squeeze out the excess water and put them on your eyes for 15 minutes. Repeat it twice a day.
  • Keep a few saffron strands soaked in half a spoon of milk for 10 minutes. Then, apply the mixture to your dark circles and leave it overnight. Repeat it twice a week.
  • Prepare a paste by mixing half spoon of coffee powder and honey each. Apply it to the dark circles. Exfoliate gently after 30 minutes and rinse it off thoroughly.
  • Mix equal amounts of lemon juice and tomato juice. Apply the mixture onto the dark circles under the eyes using a cotton pad. Rinse it off after 20 minutes. Repeat it daily for best results.
  • Apply freshly extracted aloe vera gel [4] on the dark circles and massage gently in circular motions for a few minutes. Rinse it off after 15 minutes and repeat it twice a day.
  • Dip two cotton pads into a small cup of cold milk. Place the cotton pads on your eyes for 15-20 minutes. Repeat it twice a week.
  • Prepare a smooth paste by crushing mint leaves with added water. Apply the paste on dark circles under the eyes and leave it for 15 minutes. Later, rinse it off with cold water.
  • Apply olive oil, castor oil, almond oil, grape seed oil, argan oil, or jojoba oil on the dark circles and massage gently using your fingers for a few minutes. Leave it overnight and wash your face the next morning.
  • You can do cold compressing by applying 2-3 small ice cubes on the dark circles for a few minutes if it is associated with inflammation.
  • Apply orange juice on the dark circles and leave it for half an hour. Later, rinse it off gently using cold water. Repeat it daily.
  • Put freshly cut cucumber slices on your eyes for 10-15 minutes daily.
  • Dip two cotton pads into a warm baking soda solution and place them on your eyes for 10-15 minutes daily.
  • Collect fresh juice from grated potato and apply it to your dark circles. After half an hour, wash it off using cold water. Repeat it on alternate days.

3. Diet

To get rid of the dark circles under your eyes, you must include the following superfoods in your diet regularly. These include:

  • Foods that are rich in antioxidants such as tomato, cucumber, watermelon, blueberries, beetroot, etc.
  • Foods that are rich in vitamin E such as broccoli, almond, sunflower seeds, peanuts, spinach, etc.
  • Foods that are rich in vitamin K such as green veggies, lettuce, cabbage, kale, etc.
  • Foods that are rich in vitamin C such as oranges, papaya, sprouts, peppers, strawberries, and other citrus fruits.
  • Foods that are rich in iron such as peas, raisins, apricots, green leafy vegetables, beans, seafood, etc.
  • Foods that are rich in vitamin B12 such as yogurt, low-fat milk, eggs, cereals, etc.

4. Medical Treatments

Your dermatologist may suggest any of the following treatments for dark circles under your eyes depending upon the root cause and case severity. These include:

A. Topical Creams

  • Bleaching creams such as tretinoin, hydroquinone [5], etc
  • Kojic acid
  • Azelaic acid
  • Topical vitamin C

B. Chemical Peel treatments using alpha-hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid to control hyperpigmentation.

C. Laser therapy using less invasive techniques such as a diode or pulsed dye lasers. It enhances the skin tightening around your eyes.

D. Tissue Filler treatment which involves injecting hyaluronic acid gel or platelet-rich plasma into the area beneath your eyes. It is the best option for people who have dark circles caused due to thinning of the skin under the eyes.

before and after dermal fillers treatment

E. Blepharoplasty surgery to control dark circles caused due to fat deposits around the eyes.

Important Note:

Before going with any of the above-mentioned treatments, please discuss your options and the possible side effects with your doctor.

How To Prevent Dark Circles Under The Eyes?

  • Get adequate sleep of at least 6-8 hours a day.
  • Allocate a regimented screen time in a day.
  • Drink sufficient water to keep yourself hydrated.
  • Eat freshly cooked and warm food which is easily digestible.
  • Indulge yourself in stress-relieving activities such as Pranayama, yoga, and meditation.
  • Always wear UV protection sunglasses when you step out during the day.
  • Also, apply sunscreen to the skin around your eyes every day.
  • Quit smoking and alcohol consumption.

Vedix Tip: Avoid using mobile phones or laptops immediately after waking up. Also, close your screens at least an hour before your bedtime.

What Vitamins Are Good For Dark Circles Under The Eyes?

If you cannot cater wholesome nutrition to your body through your diet, then you may need to take iron, vitamins-B12, C & K in the form of supplements to reduce the dark circles under your eyes. However, you should take these vitamin supplements only as per the dosage prescribed by your doctor.

Important Note:

Please seek your doctor’s advice before following any of the treatments explained above in this article.

The Last Word

Besides Ayurvedic treatments and home remedies, you should remember that it is equally important to maintain a balanced diet, get sound sleep, adequate hydration, and follow healthy lifestyle habits to treat the dark circles under the eyes effectively.

It is best to seek a dermatologist or general physician if your dark circles persist for a long time despite taking regular treatments.

At Vedix, we design a customized Ayurvedic skincare regimen for you to address your unique skin concerns based on your doshas

Know Your Dosha Now

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