Dark circles are a common result of fatigue, stress, allergies and even genetics. Sometimes, a vitamin deficiency can even be to blame.
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While there are no foods that can totally get rid of dark under-eye circles, taking certain vitamins and eating foods rich in antioxidants may be able to help reduce their appearance.
Here, learn more causes for these pesky features, vitamins to take and how to get rid of them naturally.
What Causes Dark Circles Under the Eyes?
Dark circles under the eyes are different from bruises caused by injury or redness from infection. There are several different reasons why you could get them.
A poor night's sleep or fatigue is the most common reason you'll sport dark circles the next morning.
Aim for a minimum of 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Try to head to bed around the same time every night to create a routine that helps you relax. If you're having trouble falling or staying asleep, implement some of these tips.
One of the main symptoms of dehydration is a dull, dry face. This can accentuate the look of dark under-eye circles. Signs to know you are dehydrated include feeling thirsty, headaches and not producing a lot of saliva.
Seasonal or Food Allergies
Many people who deal with seasonal or environmental allergies can get dark, puffy circles under their eyes when exposed to irritants. The same is true if you have food allergies — some foods may cause dark circles.
Eczema, a skin condition that causes dry, itchy patches of skin, and contact dermatitis, an allergic reaction that causes a rash, can cause the blood vessels under your eyes to dilate and show through your skin, making the appearance of dark circles stronger, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
The skin under your eyes can be very thin due to genetics. This thin skin can look dark whenever blood vessels in the area flood, typically due to inflammation.
Under-eye bags, which can result in dark circles, also often run in families, according to the Mayo Clinic.
As you age, the tissues around your eyes weaken, causing your under eyes to appear puffy and dark, according to the Mayo Clinic. Puffy eyelids or hollows under your eyes also cast a shadow that can look like dark circles.
Sometimes, dark circles are the result of weight loss, specifically weight loss in your face. While you can't control where you lose weight, you can avoid crash and yo-yo dieting that may take a toll on your skin, causing your face to look sunken.
4 Vitamins for Dark Circles Under the Eyes
While dark circles can be easily hidden with makeup or reduced with home remedies and lifestyle changes (more on that below), there are some vitamins and supplements for dark circles you can take.
1. Vitamin K
This vitamin is anti-inflammatory and helps regulate blood clotting and blood formation, which, when unregulated, could lead to bruising on the face/body, according to the National Institutes of Health. Some foods with vitamin K include collard and turnip greens, broccoli and soybean oil. Vitamin K can be taken orally or applied topically.
Vitamin K Supplements to Try
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is good for dark circles because it helps the body make collagen, a protein used to make skin and blood vessels. It's also an antioxidant known to support immunity and protects cells against free radicals, per Mount Sinai. Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, strawberries, potatoes and red pepper.
Vitamin C Supplements to Try
These are fatty acids that are good for the eyes and can also reduce inflammation, thereby helping to limit the look of puffiness and darkness, per Harvard Health Publishing. Plant oils, such as flaxseed, soybean and canola have omega-3s, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Other sources include salmon, fatty fish, avocado and walnuts. You can also take fish oil capsules for a good source of omega-3.
Omega-3 Supplements to Try
4. Vitamin E
A powerful antioxidant, vitamin E works to protect your body against free radicals that may cause signs of aging, including the thinning and wrinkling of the skin in the under-eye area, per the Linus Pauling Institute.
Good sources of vitamin E include olives, asparagus and avocados. You can also apply vitamin E oil to your face.
Vitamin E Supplements to Try
The Best Foods for Dark Circles Under the Eyes
While there is no one diet for bags under your eyes, there are some foods you can eat that may help reduce the appearance of puffiness and dark circles, per Harvard Health Publishing.
These foods are typically anti-inflammatory, high in antioxidants (compounds that fight free radicals in the body) and good sources of healthy fats.
Some anti-inflammatory foods include, per Harvard Health Publishing:
- Leafy greens (collard greens, spinach and kale)
- Olive oil
- Salmon (or any other fatty fish)
- Nuts and seeds (especially walnuts)
- Citrus fruits
Most of the above foods are high in antioxidants, but there are other antioxidant-rich foods you can try, per the Cleveland Clinic:
- Sweet potatoes
- Bell peppers
Avoid processed and fried foods, as they tend to be higher in preservatives that may contribute to your free-radical load and don't provide much in the way of antioxidants, per Harvard Health Publishing.
6 Ways to Get Rid of Dark Circles Under the Eyes
While many store aisles are lined with well-known, expensive eye and face products, they are only temporary fixes to dark under-eye circles.
Here are some remedies that won't completely get rid of dark circles, but will help reduce their appearance.
1. Stay Hydrated
A dry face is likely due to dehydration, so make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day to keep skin healthy. While you can start with about 8 to 10 cups each day, those assigned female at birth should aim for 11.5 cups and those assigned male at birth should aim for 15.5 cups (through water-rich foods and drinks), according to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
When you are dehydrated, your body retains water, which can cause puffiness under your eyes. Drinking more water will also help your skin stay hydrated, too.
2. Remove Makeup Daily
We know it's not the most fun thing to remove your makeup after the end of a long day, but it's a great way to ensure you're keeping your skin fresh and clean. A nighttime routine with a makeup remover, cleanser and/or toner can be helpful, per the Cleveland Clinic.
Do Cucumbers Help Dark Circles?
If you've ever wondered why spas put cucumber slices over your eyes, there is a good reason. Cucumber has a cooling and soothing soothing effect that can reduce the appearance of dark circles, according to the National Rosacea Society. Try cutting thick slices, placing them in a bowl of water and leaving in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then, place them on your closed eyelids for 10 minutes.
Other methods include cold tea bags or even a bag of frozen peas, which can help blood vessels constrict and make the appearance of dark circles less obvious.
3. Wear Sunscreen
Ideally, sunscreen should be applied every time you go outside, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Look for a good tinted face sunscreen for sensitive skin to place directly under your eyes, in particular, which can help reduce hyperpigmentation and the appearance of dark circles, per Harvard Health Publishing.
4. Get Enough Sleep
If you are having trouble falling or staying asleep at night, try to find a night routine that helps you relax and doze off. A solid 7 to 9 hours minimum can help you look and feel refreshed the next morning, reducing the look of dark circles, per the Mayo Clinic.
5. Quit Smoking
Smoking can have a negative effect on your skin, causing it to dry out and wrinkle at a faster pace than the normal aging process. Smoking can also worsen some skin conditions like psoriasis. Although you can never 100 percent get rid of dark circles, quitting smoking can not only help reduce them, but improve your overall health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
6. Eat Enough Calories
No matter your weight, make sure you're eating enough calories to support your daily functioning. Even if you are healthily reducing calories to lose weight, make sure you are still eating sources of fruits, vegetables and lean protein. This may help reduce the appearance of dark circles that could be due to losing too much weight too quickly.
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- Scripps: "What Are the Best Ways to Remove Dark Circles Under the Eyes?"
- Mayo Clinic: "Age Spots (Liver Spots)"
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- National Institutes of Health: "Omega-3 Fatty Acids"
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- Mayo Clinic: "Water: "How much should you drink every day?"
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- Houston Sinus and Allergy: "Did You Know Allergies Might be The Cause of Those Dark Circles Under Your Eyes?"
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- Mayo Clinic: "Bags Under Eyes"
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- Mount Sinai: "Vitamin C"
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