Dark circles result when blood collects beneath your eyes, whether because of age, genetics, allergies or a lack of sleep. If undereye bags accompany your dark circles, massaging them can relieve the swelling. Using a massaging motion to apply a cold compress can also lessen discolorations. But rubbing dark circles that are caused by allergies may make them worse. A doctor can help determine the root cause of your dark circles.
As you get older, your skin loses firmness and becomes thinner. This makes the blood vessels under your eyes look more obvious, which leads to dark circles. Your skin's internal structure also weakens with age, and this can cause fluid to collect under and around your eyes, forming undereye bags. Dark circles and undereye bags often appear together. Additionally, allergies and nasal congestion make your blood vessels swell, which can cause puffiness and dark circles to form.
Using the tips of your fingers to massage undereye bags disperses the collected fluid, which helps lessen the puffiness under and around your eyes. Doing this massage with a cold compress or washcloth can also improve the look of your dark circles, says Eric Donnenfeld, M.D., an associate professor of ophthalmology at North Shore University Hospital and Cornell Medical College. He states that the cold temperature temporarily tightens blood vessels and lightens the area under your eyes.
Dark circles and puffiness that are caused by age, genetics and a lack of sleep can benefit from a massage with a cold compress. These types of eye problems lessen when the trapped fluid is flushed out and the blood vessels are constricted. The combination of cold and massage causes the swelling to diminish and discolorations to lighten.
If your dark circles and undereye bags are caused by allergies, rubbing or massaging your eyes can bruise the already swollen vessels and make the darkness worse, says ophthalmologist Robert Mirsky. He recommends using eyedrops designed to relieve allergies or asking your doctor about oral allergy medications.
Dark circles are defined as round areas of pigmentation beneath both eyes. If you have discolorations under only one eye or dark circles that seem to be getting worse, the Mayo Clinic advises that you speak with your doctor to determine whether there are any underlying medical causes.