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A youthful skin is desired by all. Who doesn’t want to stop blemishes and pigmentation signs? Dark circles are the woes of a lot of people, both men and women alike. These pigmented circles appear underneath your eyes due to many reasons including sleep, tiredness and fatigue.

Most of us blame them on the lifestyle and wave them off as sleep deprivation, but you might be amazed to know that dark circles are also caused by allergies, pregnancy, hormonal changes, age, sun damage and even genetics. Yea, unfortunately, some of us inherit this problem. So, if you notice dark circles under the eyes of your parents or older adults in your family, it is best that you start taking care of yourself at a younger age.

Though the exact cause of dark circles may vary among individuals, it may be either due to the dilation of blood vessels or due to hyperpigmentation (increased skin pigment).

But the question remains how do you keep dark circles at bay and what to do to get rid of them once you get them?

The answer lies in self-care. When it comes to a woman’s beauty, it is most often attributed to cosmetics and makeup. Sure, you can whip up a concealer and put on some foundation base to get that flawless look appreciated by all and envied by some. But borrowed beauty is not all that they have in their cosmetic kits. Most women know that real beauty secrets lie not in chemical products but in their pantry and gardens.

If you are one of those people who want to seek these treasures, here are a few easy tips that would help you get rid of those pesky dark circles and help you get that blemish-free under eyes.

  1. Reasons for dark circles and tips to remove dark circles
  2. Home remedies for dark circles

Though dark circles are mainly caused due to an increase in blood flow under the eyes or hyperpigmentation in the under eye region, there are a number of lifestyle factors that trigger these. Let us have a look at these factors and how they affect dark circles.

Get enough sleep

Sleep is considered to be one of the primary causative factors for dark circles and scientific studies confirm it as a common symptom of sleep deprived and fatigued people. But how does a lack of sleep affects your under eyes? Dark circles are mainly caused due to the increase in blood circulation in the under eye area. In case of sleep deprivation, vasodilation occurs (relaxing of blood vessels) which increases the flow of blood under your eyes making it appear darker.

To avoid this problem, it is important that you get about 7 to 9 hours of sleep in a day. It would not only reduce dark circles risk but also would keep you refreshed and revitalised for the day.

Quit smoking and alcohol

Smoking and drinking have a lot of side effects on the body but they may happen to be the contributors to your dark circles. Smoking and drinking tend to interfere with normal sleep patterns, which as we know now increases the risk of dark circles. Additionally, both of these lifestyle habits increase the number of free radicals in the body. A higher oxidative stress, in turn, causes you to age faster. An ageing skin loses the skin collagen quickly, collagen is a protein which is responsible for maintaining the structural integrity of your skin and making it look taut and seamless. Since blood vessels lie right under the skin, a thinner skin makes them easily visible. And back you are to the dark circle situation.

Stay hydrated

The human body is composed of 60% water. Water helps in the transport of oxygen and nutrients to the body along with removing toxins and waste products. Staying hydrated inadvertently alleviates a lot of problems.

Studies suggest that a dehydrated body is easily prone to under eye dark circles. This may be due to the fact that dehydration increases oxidative stress and makes you easily fatigued.

It is further indicated that dehydration makes hyperpigmentation dark circles and blood vessels more visible under your eyes.

While melanin overproduction (hyperpigmentation) grows gradually, fatigue and dehydration dark circles show up pretty quickly. So, it is not hard to differentiate between the two.

Experts recommend drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water per day to cater to your daily requirements.

Balanced diet

If water is essential to transport nutrients and wastes, a healthy and balanced diet makes sure you get all those nutrients to support the proper functioning of the body. Ideally, taking a diet complete with all the nutrients and minerals would assist in avoiding any malfunctions in the body. It would also keep you supplied with energy, avoiding fatigue.

You can also add antioxidant-rich foods to your diet in order to get rid of all the free radicals that generate as a result of the everyday stress and body metabolism. And, a reduced oxidative stress is the hallmark of a healthy and younger looking body.

If you are too concerned about putting on weight, you can break down 3 large meals into 5-6 smaller meals and eat lesser portions to have a constant source of energy, yet not increase the total calorie count. It is also advisable that you don’t skip meals, especially breakfast and add more leafy greens and fresh fruits to your diet.

Other factors responsible for dark circles and tips to manage them

  • Use a sunscreen under your eyes as you go out. Eye skin is thin and sensitive and sun exposure stimulates melanin production in the skin which is much more apparent under your eyes. If you are not fond of sunscreens, opt for sunglasses instead.
  • Try avoiding medications that can also cause dark circles, though dark circles disappear soon as you stop taking the medicine.
  • For pregnant women, it is quite hard to get rid of dark circles, since it is caused by hormonal changes. If you are too concerned about your appearance, you can ask a doctor.

Lifestyle factors and diet may help you achieve that metabolic balance that eventually removes under eye patches. But, what if you need a quick remedy? Well, they too would not make your dark circles disappear overnight but here are some home remedies that would assist in clearing away your dark circles faster.

  1. Aloe Vera gel for dark circles
  2. Tea bags for dark circles under eyes
  3. Coconut oil removes dark circles
  4. Almond oil reduces dark circles
  5. Honey reduces dark circles
  6. Cucumber for dark circles
  7. Other dark circle remedies

Aloe Vera gel for dark circles

Aloe is your skin’s best friend when it comes to pigmentation and dark circles. It is scientifically proven to be a lightening herb, which means that it reduces melanin content in the skin. It also has nutritive and hydrating properties. It facilitates the construction of your skin fibres and keeps them from breaking down prematurely. And the best part is that aloe vera gel is easy to make at home!

Here is a simple way you can use aloe vera for your dark circles.

  • Take a spoonful of aloe vera gel and a few drops of rose water in a bowl.
  • Gently massage this mixture on the under eye area. You can use a cotton pad if you want.
  • Leave it for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse with normal water and pat dry with a soft towel.

You can do this at any time of the day or leave it like an undereye night cream.

Tea bags for dark circles under eyes

Tea bags are one of the oldest remedies for dark circles and probably the fastest too. Though most people prefer green tea for patchy eyes, studies demonstrate that all kinds of tea, black, green and white are effective in reducing skin pigmentation by inhibiting melanin synthesis. Additionally, green tea is rich in some chemical compounds (catechins and polyphenols) which exhibit antioxidant properties.

Green tea extracts have been found to reduce collagen break down in the skin, which as we have already know, is responsible for thinning of eye skin and appearance of dark circles. In fact, tea extracts are the most sought-after remedy for undereye pigmentation in aesthetic medicine.

Green tea bags can be soaked and then refrigerated to be put over the eye 2 to 3 times a day to get the best results. Alternatively, you can make a green tea mask at home. Here is a recipe:

  • Take some olive oil in a pan (you can use coconut oil if you want), heat it to a medium hot. Also, this is going to be a base for your mask so make sure you add enough.
  • Put a spoonful of green tea leaves into it and let it heat on low heat for a few minutes. Don’t let them burn.
  • Take the pan off the burner and strain the oil into a bottle.
  • You can apply this for a few minutes during the day or leave it overnight.
  • Store in a cool and dry place.

Adding vitamin E or an essential oil of your choice would be a good idea to increase its shelf life.

Yet another way to make a green tea under eye mask is by using green tea powder and mixing it with some almond oil and aloe gel.

Coconut oil removes dark circles

Coconut oil is yet another easily available remedy for dark circles. It moisturises your skin and promotes collagen synthesis thus combating two of the most common factors responsible for dark circles. Interestingly, the skin penetration capacity of coconut oil is one of the best amongst all oils. This means that it deeply nourishes your skin and helps maintain skin structure. Additionally, it reduces skin pigmentation, which makes it the go-to remedy for dark under eye patches. Coconut oil can be directly applied to the skin once a day or used as an overnight treatment.

You can also mix some green tea, honey and rosewater to make an under-eye mask and apply it for 10-15 minutes once a day.

Almond oil reduces dark circles

Apart from the usual moisturising and nourishing benefits of most oils, almond oil is rich in vitamin E, and most beauty enthusiasts know that vitamin E is the best treatment for alleviating almost all skin conditions. It increases collagen synthesis and reduces free radical damage along with reducing melanin. Studies indicate that applying almond oil on skin protects the skin from UV damage. An oil that doubles as a sunscreen! Isn’t it just perfect?

You can gently massage almond oil under your eyes and let your skin soak all of its benefits or mix it with some olive oil and honey to improve its skin penetration and skin lightening capacity.

Honey reduces dark circles

Honey is the best combination of nutrition and antioxidants which strengthen the skin layers and negate free radical damage thus preventing collagen degradation. It is one of the most common substances used in creams, lotions and sun-blocking cosmetics. As an emollient, it soothes the skin and reduces damage.

A thin layer of honey can be applied under the eyes to reduce sun damage and improve skin texture. However, it is important to note that raw organic honey is much better than the commercially bought honey. If you can’t find local honey, a lot of brands sell raw and organic honey. Just make sure that you are buying from a trusted brand. Here is an easy recipe for a honey face mask:

  • Take a spoonful of raw and organic honey.
  • Mix it with some aloe gel and a ¼ tsp of turmeric.
  • Apply a thin paste under your eyes for 10-15 minutes
  • Rinse gently with warm water.

Instead of aloe gel, you can use olive oil or almond oil and skip on turmeric if you want.

Cucumber for dark circles

Cucumber is quite well-known for its soothing benefits for eyes. Apparently, all those traditional beliefs are correct. Cucumber has a hydrating and cooling quality, which soothes blood vessels under your eyes and makes them less visible. Evidence confirms the benefits of cucumber extracts in reducing skin pigmentation, irritation and dehydration. Also, it is rich in antioxidants and would revert ageing-related skin damage and pigmentation. It won’t be wrong to say that cucumber is the complete solution for your dark circle problem.

The best way to use cucumber for under eye patches is by putting raw cucumber slices over your eyes for a few minutes.

Here is an easy recipe for making a cucumber face mask.

  • Mash or grate a few cucumber slices in a bowl. You can also grind it.
  • Mix a tsp of honey and a few drops of lemon to it.
  • Apply a thin even layer of this mixture in the undereye region.
  • Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Rinse with lukewarm water.

You can apply this mask daily or on alternate days to reduce dark circles fast.

Other dark circle remedies

  • Cold compress can help you get rid of the dark circles by reducing vasodilation under your eyes. A cold compress can be easily prepared at home by wrapping some ice cubes in a towel. Alternatively, you can put cold water strips over your eyes. Don’t apply it for a continuous interval since ice can cause tissue damage when kept in constant contact.
  • In a clinical study, a mixture made from 3% caffeine by weight and 1% vitamin K was found to be effective in reducing dark circles.
  • Potatoes are excellent skin lightening agent due to the presence of vitamin C in it. Vitamin C also plays a crucial role in collagen biosynthesis. So if you have a naturally thin skin, potato would be your best bet against dark circles. Just put potato slices on your eyes and forget about your dark circles.
  • Some people use baking soda to relieve skin pigmentation and dark circles, though the evidence is quite contradictory. Skin has an acidic pH and most dermatologists do not recommend putting anything alkaline on the skin. However, the alkalising effects of baking soda are speculated to aid skin regeneration by helping in the removal of old tissue. If you are looking forward to use baking soda on your skin, mix it with some water and gently apply a thin layer under your eyes for 5 minutes. Do not rub baking soda under your eyes, since rubbing increases dark circles.
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References

  1. Tina Sundelin et al. Cues of Fatigue: Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Facial Appearance . Sleep. 2013 Sep 1; 36(9): 1355–1360. PMID: 23997369
  2. National Sleep Foundation. How Alcohol Affects the Quality—And Quantity—Of Sleep. [Internet]
  3. Mary S Matsu. Physiological and lifestyle factors contributing to risk and severity of peri-orbital dark circles in the Brazilian population. An Bras Dermatol. 2015 Jul-Aug; 90(4): 494–503. PMID: 26375218
  4. Young Chul Kim et al. Anti-melanogenic effects of black, green, and white tea extracts on immortalized melanocytes . J Vet Sci. 2015 Jun; 16(2): 135–143. PMID: 25643794
  5. Rashmi Sarkar, Pooja Arora, K Vijay Garg. Cosmeceuticals for Hyperpigmentation: What is Available? . J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2013 Jan-Mar; 6(1): 4–11. PMID: 23723597
  6. Kathryn Rutter et al. Green Tea Extract Suppresses the Age-Related Increase in Collagen Crosslinking and Fluorescent Products in C57BL/6 Mice . Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2003 Nov; 73(6): 453–460. PMID: 14743550
  7. Tzu-Kai Lin, Lily Zhong, Juan Luis Santiago3. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils . Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Jan; 19(1): 70. PMID: 29280987
  8. Mohammad Abid Keen, Iffat Hassan. Vitamin E in dermatology . Indian Dermatol Online J. 2016 Jul-Aug; 7(4): 311–315. PMID: 27559512
  9. Sultana Y et al. Effect of pre-treatment of almond oil on ultraviolet B-induced cutaneous photoaging in mice. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2007 Mar;6(1):14-9. PMID: 17348990
  10. Burlando B, Cornara L. Honey in dermatology and skin care: a review. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2013 Dec;12(4):306-13. PMID: 24305429
  11. Ahmadraji F, Shatalebi MA. Evaluation of the clinical efficacy and safety of an eye counter pad containing caffeine and vitamin K in emulsified Emu oil base. Adv Biomed Res. 2015 Jan 6;4:10. PMID: 25625116
  12. Firas Al-Niaimi, Nicole Yi Zhen Chiang. Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017 Jul; 10(7): 14–17. PMID: 29104718
  13. Ohshima H et al. Effects of vitamin C on dark circles of the lower eyelids: quantitative evaluation using image analysis and echogram. Skin Res Technol. 2009 May;15(2):214-7. PMID: 19626722
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