Eye Matters
September 2, 2014

Understanding causes of dark circles under eyes

Dark circles under the eyes can be a very disturbing phenomenon. Ladies seem to pay more attention to them than men. This is because dark circles can make us look older. Understanding the causes of dark circles can help in finding the right cures:{{more}}

1. Lack of sleep – this is sometimes one of the main causes of dark circles under the eyes.

2. Allergies -skin discolouration caused by allergies is very frequent. One should avoid anything that could cause allergies. Also include gluten allergies, as they also have been known to cause dark circles under one’s eyes.

3. Vitamin deficiency – some studies suggest that vitamin deficiencies such as lack of vitamin B6, Folic acid and B12 can cause dark circles under the eyes. Taking a multivitamin every day may be of some help.

4. Sinus problems and nasal congestion can result in the discolouration under one’s eyes because the veins that drain blood from the eyes to the nose are usually dilated and darkened.

5. Irregularities in the pigmentation of the skin have also been known to cause dark circles. Bear in mind that excessive sun exposure causes an increase in melanin production under the skin and can also darken certain areas.

6. As we age, the skin around the eyes tends to become thinner; this can make the veins and vessels more obvious.

7. Lifestyle choices such as inadequate nutrition, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, caffeinated drinks and lack of exercise have all been known to contribute to under-eye discolouration.

8. Genetics – one has to establish whether under eye dark circles run in the family.


There are many different remedies and recommendations on the market. Some of them work and some don’t. You may want to try them to see which one applies to your situation.

a) Cucumbers have long been used to reduce swelling around the eyes and to tighten the skin around the eyes.

b) Wrap some ice cubes in soft cloth and apply them to your eyes. Cool tea bags may also be used. An ingredient called tannin in the tea bags has been known to reduce swelling and discolouration.

c) Stick a spoon in the freezer and pour water into it. Leave it in the freezer for a short while until the water freezes; place the spoon on the dark circles and leave it there until the ice starts to melt.

d) Get a good night’s rest. This can help improve the appearance of the eyes.

e) Cut down your consumption of alcohol and use supplements.

f) Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

g) Reduce your salt intake. Excess salt can cause the body to retain water and this too can cause puffiness and darken the skin under the eyes.

h) A deficiency of vitamin K has been shown to also increase the probability of dark circles. Skin creams containing vitamin K have been shown to be effective. Many overnight facial creams help to reduce the appearance of puffiness or discolouration.

i) Avoid rubbing the eyes as this irritates the skin around the eyes.

Finally, you may choose to wear sunglasses to protect your skin from melanin changes.

Of course, if the symptoms persist, do not hesitate to call your eye doctor. Your eye doctor may prescribe an eye ointment to reduce discolouration and swelling.

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist
at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us
Send questions to: Beachmont@gmail.com

Tel: 784 456-1210