The phrase Dark circles under eyes, is one of the most googled searches, and people who suffer from this problem of under eye dark circles are desperate to find a permanent cure. In this episode we will look into the causes of dark circles and eyelid bags, the mechanism of formation of this and Finally on how to get rid of dark circles by medical treatments and some natural remedies for dark circles that work!
What are Under Eye Dark Circles?
They are known by various terms like under eye circles, infraorbital or peri orbital dark circles, lower eyelid bags, peri orbital pigmentation and so on.
These are equally common in both men and women. These dark circles can make you look older than your actual age. And to make matters worse, they can be actually difficult to get rid of. But, if you carefully pick up the factor that’s causing this problem, then its very easy to treat these dark circles. We will first know the causes or the factors responsible for this and then we will learn the mechanism, and what actually gives rise to this dark color on your under eye skin and finally the best treatments to get rid of dark circles.
- Sleep Deprivation and extreme fatigue, or just forcefully staying awake a few hours past your normal bedtime can lead to dark circle formation over a period of time.
- Chronic Stress: Any form of stress whether emotional or physical stress from trauma or chronic illness can lead to this problem. We will discuss on the stress hormone or cortisol hypothesis for this shortly.
- Natural Aging: This is a natural cause of dark circles because as you get older, your skin becomes thinner and there is loss of collagen and elastin fibers in the skin.
- Eye Strain from watching too much television or computer screen can cause blood vessels around your eyes to dilate and cause these dark circles and also eye lid bags and puffiness.
- Allergies: like eye allergies. This acts in two ways. Firstly they release histamines which dilate blood vessels and then due to itchiness, you tend to rub or scratch your eyes and in this process you trigger inflammation which can lead to these dark circles.
- Over exposure to Sunlight: This results in production of excess melanin pigment which can darken the skin around your eyes.
- Nutritional deficiency of vitamins like A, C, K and Vitamin E can accelerate aging and result in dark circles around eyes. And also Anemia specially iron deficiency anemia can also result in dark circles.
- Smoking and Alcohol, late night parties, dehydration are also important factors.
- Hormonal Changes like in Pregnancy or even menstrual imbalances can result in dark circles. Then last but not the least,
- Genetic Predisposition and Family history is another important factor. Remember, If your child is having some degree of dark circles under eyes, this in later part of life can become more prominent.
How are Dark Circles under eyes formed? That is the Mechanism of formation.
Lets look at the First explanation or hypothesis on this:
- We have very tiny and thin blood vessels, rather a network of blood vessels called capillaries under this loose and thin skin around eyes. These capillaries are so fine that the red blood cells are waiting in queue to pass through them. An in this process, due to statis of blood, there is extravasation or leakage into the surrounding area skin tissues. This stasis causes breakdown of haemoglobin into pigments like hemosiderin and biliverdin which contribute to visible pigmentation or the dark circles under your eyes.
- Another theory explaining this is:
There are a number of reasons that cause dark eye circles as discussed already. Most important ones are Stress and Lack of Sleep. So when you are in stress whether emotional stress or from any reason like lack of sleep, our body produces the stress hormone called cortisol. The action of cortisol is it causes constriction of some vessels as well dilatation of some vessels like those in the loose tissues of our body like the tissues underneath the peri occular skin. The lower eyelid skin is one of the thinnest parts in the body and due to this blood vessel dilatation, there is stasis of blood in this region and then there is breakdown of haemoglobin into pigments like hemosiderin and biliverdin which contributes to visible pigmentation or the dark circles under your eyes. The same stasis also explain the baggy eyelids or eyelid bags. These changes are more exaggerated in an ageing skin.
Lets look at the medical treatments and natural or home remedies for under eye dark circles in my next article.