Why do we have dark circles under our eyes and how to get rid of them?

Dark circles are “bags under the eyes” that often reveal fatigue. A phenomenon partly caused by skin thickness of varying size. At around 0.6mm thick on the body, it’s only 0.12mm on the face and even thinner on the lips and around the eyes. Therefore, the skin under the eyes is extremely thin, in this area, which is sometimes bluish or purplish, especially when you are not getting enough sleep. These circles are called dark circles.

Under this very thin skin are two circulatory networks, blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, very dense under the eye. As a reminder, lymph collects the waste accumulated in the body, inside the tissues and drains it to the lymph nodes. The skin under the eye is so thin that it can be translucent, revealing these skin circulation networks.

After a short night, lack of sleep affects blood circulation – the blood vessels expand – and lymphatic circulation. They are less effective. The blood in the veins is loaded with red blood cells, while the lymph does its cleaning job less well. Then bluish or even purplish dark circles appear.

Other factors for the appearance of dark circles

In addition to lack of sleep, blood and lymphatic microcirculation are also affected by tobacco and alcohol consumption and stress.

In an article in the American weekly “Newsweek”, published in October 2022, dermatologist Fatima Fahs lists other causes, especially pathological, of dark circles under the eyes. Among them seasonal allergies. “Congestion in the sinuses leads to even more congestion in the veins under the eyes, causing the area to swell and look puffy,” she explains. A diet that is too high in salt will be responsible for fluid retention under the eyes, which will accentuate this dark circle appearance.

Dark circles can also be caused by anemia (iron deficiency) and thyroid disorders. “Thyroid disease can cause bags under the eyes, as can certain medications due to water retention,” explains the dermatologist. He adds: “Anemia can cause dark areas under the eyes because the body is unable to fully oxygenate the tissues, so the skin appears darker.”

The expert notes that genetic predisposition is sometimes involved, as well as skin aging. Over time, this will soften and the blood vessels will become even more visible. Note that smoking contributes to premature aging of the skin and thus the formation of dark circles under the eyes.

And the brown circles?

What about brown, sometimes yellow or brown dark circles? They are caused by melanocytes, those cells present in the skin that are responsible for the synthesis of melanin and thus the pigmentation of the skin. According to cosmetic surgeon Cédric Kron, two factors can explain them: “On the one hand, the thinness of the skin around the lower eye contour will quickly reveal the presence of excess melanin in the epidermis. On the other hand, the area around the edge of the eye socket is an area particularly exposed to UV radiation and is therefore all the more likely to be colored by melanin (tanning pigment),” we read on her website .

How to get rid of dark circles?

Getting rid of dark circles means identifying the cause in the first place. If it is pathological, medical treatment could alleviate it.

If it is a healthy lifestyle that we must seek – sleep, smoking, diet, etc. – then we will have to act on those levers if possible.

Anti-aging and anti-wrinkle creams can also help treat aging skin and help reduce dark circles under the eyes. Several aesthetic medicine techniques can also improve dark circles under the eyes. Finally, a concealer matched to your skin tone can hide them, if not outright make them disappear

Dark circles under the eyes are a common woe, making us look tired and worn out even when we feel perfectly well-rested. Several factors can contribute to their appearance, and the good news is there are ways to address them!

Causes of Dark Circles:

  • Thinning Skin: As we age, the skin under our eyes naturally thins, making the blood vessels beneath more visible. This shows through as a bluish or purplish tinge.
  • Pigmentation Issues: Increased melanin production, the pigment that determines skin color, can lead to brown or black circles. This can be due to genetics, sun exposure, or certain skin conditions like eczema.
  • Fluid Buildup: Sometimes, fluid retention around the eyes can cause puffiness, creating shadows that appear as dark circles. This can be due to allergies, dehydration, or lack of sleep.
  • Lifestyle Factors: Stress, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and inadequate sleep can all contribute to the appearance of dark circles.

Reducing the Appearance of Dark Circles:

While some factors like genetics are out of our control, there are ways to minimize the appearance of dark circles:

  • Prioritize Sleep: Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your skin plump and hydrated.
  • Limit Alcohol and Caffeine: Excessive intake of these substances can dehydrate you and worsen dark circles.
  • Manage Allergies: If allergies are a culprit, consult your doctor about medication or allergy management strategies.
  • Sun Protection: Always wear sunscreen around your eyes to prevent sun damage that can worsen pigmentation.
  • Cooling Treatments: Apply cold compresses to the under-eye area to reduce puffiness and temporarily constrict blood vessels, making dark circles less noticeable.

Creams and Concealers:

  • Eye Creams: Look for eye creams with ingredients like hyaluronic acid (for hydration), retinol (to stimulate collagen production), or vitamin C (to brighten the skin). However, results may be subtle and take time.
  • Concealers: A good concealer can camouflage dark circles, but choose a shade that matches your skin tone perfectly to avoid cakiness.


  • Consistency is Key: Developing a regular skincare routine and adopting healthy lifestyle habits are crucial for long-term improvement.
  • Seek Professional Help: If dark circles are severe or persistent, consult a dermatologist. They can recommend stronger topical treatments, in-office procedures like fillers or lasers, or address any underlying medical conditions.

By understanding the causes and implementing these tips, you can tackle those pesky dark circles and look your bright-eyed best!

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