What Causes Dark Circles and Bags?
Dark circles and bags are two different things, although they both give you the same uncomfortable feeling and literally no one makes the difference.
The periorbital dark circles, commonly known as just ‘dark circles’ or ‘racoon eyes’, appear due to blood vessels becoming dilated in the region of very thin and sensitive skin under your eyes. They can also be caused by excess pigmentation in the skin in this area, usually in people with darker skin tones.
The main reason why you have dark circles or why they may show at some point in your life has to do with genetics. Dark circles are mainly hereditary. That being said, you do have control over the factors that make them appear more visible. Also, you can prevent them from getting worse as you age.
Some of the factors that can accentuate these shadows include:
- sleep deprivation
- iron deficiency
- certain medications, which enlarge blood vessels
- sinus infection, which also has to do with allergies
The periorbital puffiness or bags, on the other hand, can also be a genetic feature in some cases and part of the person’s facial build, usually in people with large eyes. More often, however, they appear due to outside factors very similar to the ones mentioned above. Additionally, bags show up when the body is full of water, so increased salt intake and late night alcohol consumption can all result in puffiness the next morning.
Bags and dark circles often come up in combination and you may well be reading this article on one of those awful mornings.
How to Get Rid of Both Dark Circles and Bags?
The fast way to make dark circles less visible is to use makeup to conceal them. The next level is to try out topical creams, whether upon dermatological advice or over-the-counter ones. In any case, if you wish to really reduce the dark shadows visibly, you’re going to need a holistic health approach and lifestyle changes. Instead of focusing on the dark circles and bags themselves, try to eliminate the underlying causes.
Get Enough Quality Sleep
Proper sleep is the key to unlocking many doors to beauty and better health. It also severely influences the appearance of dark circles. Everyone knows how the first sign that shows someone had a rough night is precisely the deep, dark shadows under their sunken eyes. Similarly, in the long run, sleep deprivation can make your dark circles more visible.
Getting enough sleep doesn’t mean oversleeping on the weekends to make up for a week of 5-hour long night sleeps and short naps here and there at random times of the day. You need to fix your routine bed hours – whatever works for you, but make sure you’re consistent with going to bed on the same hour every day.
Also, to sleep long enough doesn’t simply mean you are getting quality sleep. Getting quality sleep depends on many factors. Pull down the window blinds to get a dark bedroom. Sleeping in the dark is found to be several times more restful for our bodies than being showered in sun rays as soon as they appear. Don’t eat or drink alcohol soon before going to bed.
Some experts advise using two pillows. Or one, but a high one. This helps prevent puffiness, which makes dark circles extra unpleasant.
Also, try to sleep on your back. It helps prevent squashing your face during sleep, which burdens the skin, especially the fine skin under your eyes.
Treat Nasal Congestion and Allergies
Many people have noticed how their raccoon eyes become more pronounced in periods of allergy symptoms increase. Well, there is a connection between chronic allergies such as allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, and dark circles. During infection in the sinuses, blood vessels that connect the sinuses with the eyes can get diluted, manifesting on the outside as darkening under the eyes. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to go see a specialist and start using antihistamines.
Consider Dietary Improvements
Start from evaluating your current eating habits and the time or budget constraints you may be faced with. It’s important to enrich your diet with vitamins and healthy enzymes. Devote a weekend to prepare an action plan first by researching recipes online that will help you start using foods you don’t usually eat or like.
- Add as many leafy greens, other fresh vegetables and whole foods as possible.
- Reduce the consumption of salt.
- Avoid eating less than three hours before going to sleep. Same goes for drinking alcohol or other liquids.
- Drink plenty of water to increase blood circulation
Rethink Your Skincare Routine
It really matters what kind of products you treat the area under the eyes with. Most derma experts suggest you start taking good care of the sensitive region under the eyes early on. Serums and moisturizing creams are recommended already in your twenties. For some cases of dark eye circles caused by pigmentation, you can try skin color lightening creams.
Get an Eye Cream
Alternately, you can keep a cream that contains caffeine in your makeup cabinet. They are specially designed to quickly shrink the blood vessels in the skin thanks to the caffeine.
Try Lymphatic Drainage Massages
This isn’t something you need your dermatologist for. It’s actually a pretty simple DIY evening facial massage technique, best done with a natural oil such as almond or avocado oil. By removing toxins built up in the lymphatic vessels under your face skin you aid your skin in its natural function. It works wonders with reducing bags and morning puffiness. Plenty of online tutorials await you to get down to it and learn the moves.
Prevent Wrinkles under Your Eyes
Because these tiny wrinkles can make dark circles more visible. This is one of the reasons why dark circles become more prominent with aging.
- Be gentle when cleansing. Don’t rub cotton pads too roughly on the gentle skin under your eyes.
- Sleep on your back – these wrinkles form overnight when our head is pressed against the pillow
- Protect from the sun. This means both apply sunscreen regularly and wear sunglasses to protect from the glow that makes you squint all the time
- Moisturize. It’s almost never too early to start using a mild eye cream.
As far-fetched as this may sound for a condition such as dark circles, as I said earlier, a holistic perspective is the key to finally diminishing the unpleasant shadows under your eyes. This means you should make sure to work out a proper break time in your schedule to devote time to your health and wellbeing.
- Relax with yoga, meditation or regular walks in nature with the added perks of fresh air.
- Start regular aerobic exercising, such as running or swimming
This allows you to rest your eyes from the computer, promotes better sleep at night, increases blood flow and the work of the lymphatic system – all of which eventually have an effect on how the skin under your eyes will look like.
Useful Hacks to Fix Puffy Eyes in the Morning
For a quick fix for puffiness try the old time classic: camomile tea bags. First, brew two tea bags and enjoy the tea with a spoonful of honey. Meanwhile, I leave the tea bags in the fridge to cool them down. Cold, in general, helps with dark circles and puffiness since it sends blood vessels deeper down into the skin, thus decreasing the dark appearance. So, later, I let the cooled down tea bags rest on my closed eyes for about ten minutes, while I lie down and relax. Cold compresses in general work too.
Try another known hack: cucumber slices. Again, slices previously chilled in the fridge usually work better, The cold pushes the blood vessels deeper down, in the lower skin layers, thus temporarily reducing the darkness on the surface.
A gentle massage can also make the puffiness go away temporarily. Similar to what you’d do for lymphatic drainage, always start from the inside of the area under the eyes and work your way out.
Apply your regular eye cream (or serum) in a chilled state. You don’t have to put the whole tube in the fridge, just take a bit on a small plate and cool it down for some minutes.
You might also want to read this article: How to Get Rid of Dark Eye Circles Fast: 8 Tips and Tricks That Actually Work.