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Can You Exercise Away Dark Circles Under the Eyes?

author image Van Thompson
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.
Can You Exercise Away Dark Circles Under the Eyes?
Woman putting eye makeup on Photo Credit: Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Dark circles under your eyes can leave you looking tired even when you're ready to tackle a new day. Although the circles tend to get darker with age, you can develop these circles at any age. Exercise is unlikely to yield much improvement, but can boost your circulation and, therefore, may help slightly in amplifying the effects of other treatments.

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The Role of Genetics

If your parents had dark circles, you're more likely to get them. A variety of genetic factors, including circulation, collagen production and skin tone, can increase your likelihood of developing the circles. People with olive skin are particularly likely to develop them, and if you have very fair or very thin skin, blood under your eyes is more likely to be visible. Exercise won't undo these factors.

Blood Vessels and Circulation

As you age, your circulation can deteriorate. In conjunction with age-related skin thinning, this can cause blood under your eyes to pool and become more visible. Exercise can improve circulation and blood flow and may cause less blood to pool under your eyes. Focus on workouts that work your entire body, such as running or cycling. However, these exercises won't reverse thin skin or cure broken blood vessels, so the improvement will be minimal.

Age and Collagen

Collagen is a major source of skin elasticity but can begin to break down as you age. When your skin loses collagen, it becomes thinner and more fragile. This can cause the blood vessels under your eyes to be more visible. Thinning skin also makes your eyes more vulnerable to injuries and means even a minor bump can cause bruising and blood-vessel irritation under your eyes.

Lifestyle Choices

Lifestyle choices such as smoking can cause you to develop under-eye circles. Some people with allergies also experience these circles, particularly if their allergies are untreated. Poor nutrition and dehydration can make the circles look more visible. Cold compresses, sleeping with your head elevated and using a humidifier to avoid congestion can help reduce the appearance of the circles.

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