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Dark under-eye circles: The causes and how to get rid of them

22 MAY 2013

Dark under-eye circles are the second most common skin complaint – preceded only by acne –  according to most dermatologists. It’s not uncommon to wake up after a late night to peer in the mirror only to be welcomed by blue-toned bags underneath the eyes. However, it’s not just a lack of sleep that can cause these pigmentation problems.

Here are some facts behind your late night circles and ways to treat them…

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Cause: Stress
When you are stressed more of your blood is directed to you main organs where your body needs it most rather than to your face which is left looking drained and a bit pastier. The contrast between the rest of your skin and the circles beneath your eyes, can make the darkness appear more noticeable.

Cause: Broken capillaries
The thinnest area of skin around your face is also just underneath the eye. This is also the most sensitive part of your face and the capillaries beneath this thin dermis are often prone to breaking, often through stress or through sun damage. The blood cells which spread out of these spaces tend to gather just underneath the surface of the skin and oxidise and form dark purple hue.

Cause: Genetics
Unfortunately, there are some people who are just more prone to develop dark circles. If you have naturally very pale skin in particular then the darker pigmentation and any broken capilleries are more likely to show through. 

Cause: Iron Deficiencies
Dark rings can be a sign of an iron deficiency such as anaemia. For people with less iron in their systems, haemoglobin, the red pigment which carries oxygen to cells, is more easily broken down and can make the skin below the eye appear dark or bruised.

The Solutions
Dark circles alone may not indicate anaemia but, if you and your doctor have found that you do lack iron you may be prescribed supplement. It’s also a good idea look for extra sources of this mineral naturally. This can include iron-rich food sources such as red meat, spinach, broccoli and pumpkin seeds.

Vitamin C can also effectively reduce the amount of pigmentation in the skin. In addition to upping your intake of orange juice, there are plenty of beauty products on the market packed full of this essential ingredient. Murad’s Essential-C Eye Cream (RRP: £17.50) is particularly good at preventing the eye area from darkening and also contains effective sun protection with broad spectrum SPF 15.

Shield your eyes from unnecessary damage and stress with effective by remembering to wear sunglasses in harsh daylight. Similarly, for those who often find themselves in front of a computer or tend to strain their eyes at work should get their eyes regularly at the opticians to tackle any potential stress on the eyes.

For an on-the-go quick fix, you can also cover up your dark circles with a make-up. We’ve reviewed six of the best concealers on the market, but for those wishing to look more awake choosing illuminating products with light-reflecting particles is your best bet for a bright-eyed look.

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