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Dark Circles Under Your Eyes: Causes, Prevention and Remedies

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Working remotely from home is becoming the new world order and so is working for long hours, sticking to erratic and indefinite work schedules, and dealing with increased work pressure. On top of that, one has to juggle a raft of other responsibilities as well.

All in all, the humdrum work-sleep-work routine isn’t helping our state of mind. The struggle of balancing both professional and personal lives from the confines of our homes is becoming a challenge and costing us more than realize.

Given these circumstances, you might experience elevated stress levels, anxiety, and hypertension. These health conditions manifest in myriad ways, and of the more common symptoms is the appearance of dark circles underneath the eyes.

Causes Of Dark Circles Under Eyes

Under-eye skin is sensitive and delicate. The periorbital region (the area around the eyes) is characterized by a delicately textured skin tissue that has no oil glands, making it extremely susceptible to wrinkles and discoloration. When the tissues and blood vessels located beneath the upper layer of the skin begin to show, they appear baggy, puffy and dull — giving out the impression of a dark patch under the eye.

While not a health issue by itself, dark circles may sometimes be indicative of an underlying health condition that could be severe. 

How is WFH Causing Stress-Induced Dark Circles?

It might seem counterintuitive, but working remotely is causing more fatigue than one would’ve imagined. Employees are today logging in more hours than they usually would have, and this leaves them overworked and overwhelmed. There is a glaring lack of schedule and discipline.

Dark circles are clear indicators of stress and exhaustion – two factors that we’ve come to accept as part of the ‘new normal’. Think about these dark bags of skin as badges that you collect for working longer hours, be it at your job or to ensure the smooth functioning of your home.

Tips To Prevent Dark Circles Under Your Eyes

1. Stay Hydrated

 The most straightforward solutions can be the most effective. Ironically, they are also the ones we are quickest to disregard. While the importance of staying hydrated cannot be emphasized enough, most people neglect their daily water intake.

Dehydration renders several regions of the skin — especially the under-eye area — dull, thus making it prone to dark circles. Try to drink at least 8-12 glasses of water in a day. 

2. Use A Moisturizer

Dermatologists agree that keeping the skin topically hydrated is equally important. The thin, delicate under-eye skin is susceptible to drying, something that can lead to dark circles. Therefore, you must apply a moisturizer to prevent the area from getting parched.

3. Sleep Well

A good night’s sleep is the panacea to many ailments. This holds in the case of dark circles – an issue that is a clear indication of exhaustion.

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Working from home has hurt our sleep schedules. The human body is accustomed to running on a natural clock of its own, one which expects us to use the night’s absence of sunlight and activity to rest.

Sleeping for 7-8 hours a day is essential, and a consistent sleep schedule at night helps the body recuperate faster than sleeping at odd hours.

If on insufficient sleep, the body is forced to focus its blood circulation activity on muscles and other major organs, and ignore skin and other tissues. The poor circulation received by the tissues in the under-eye region causes deoxygenated blood to build up, thus causing dark circles.

4. Apply Sunscreen

With all its virtue, the sun can be harmful if you do not keep your exposure in check. Sun damage can worsen dark circles under the eyes and make them more prominent. That is why you must use a sunscreen with adequate SPF protection (of at least 30) daily.

5. Watch What You Eat

You are what you eat. The veracity of this statement is reflected very clearly on your skin. An excess of salt or alcohol can dehydrate the body, causing the eyes to appear puffed and dark circles even darker.

On the other hand, there are certain nutrients that, when added to our diet, can prevent darkness in the periorbital region. Include plant-based foods — rich in Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and antioxidants — in your diet should you want the under-eye skin to appear bright and healthy.

6. Check Your Vitamin C and Iron Intake

Did you know the under-eye area is indicative of your kidney health? This connection highlights a whole new aspect of dark circles. Studies have shown dark circles to be indicators of an underlying iron-deficiency. Therefore, you must check (and increase, if need be) your iron and vitamin C intake, especially the latter, considering it aids iron absorption in the body.

Remedies To Reduce Dark Circles

1. Apply Cold Compress

Take a few cubes of ice and wrap them in a cloth. Now gently dab this cloth on your under-eye area to reduce any swelling or puffiness. Repeat this process twice or thrice a day for at least 20 minutes for maximum effect. 

2. Elevate Your Head While Sleeping

While sub-par sleep quality is a primary culprit when it comes to dark circles, you should be mindful of your sleeping posture as well. Sleeping with your head elevated can prevent fluid build-up under your eyes, thereby keeping you from waking up with puffy eyes.

3. Home Remedies Right From Your Kitchen

Simple items from the kitchen can be surprisingly effective against dark circles:

  • Tomatoes and cucumbers are natural bleaching agents. Slicing and placing them over baggy under-eyes can work wonders.
  • Another super ingredient is turmeric. Mix 1tbsp curd with two teaspoons of turmeric powder and few drops of lemon juice. Then apply this mixture on the dark circles, leave it for 15 minutes, and rinse.
  • You can even make your own at-home DIY masks. The almond oil-lemon juice mask is a popular home remedy for dark circles. Apply this mixture gently on the skin around your eyes before going to bed and let it work through the night. Rinse with a mild face wash first thing in the morning.
  • Another popular treatment is the castor oil-milk remedy. Blend them well so that the oil thoroughly mixes with the milk. Apply this mixture gently on your under-eye region and let it sit for about an hour before rinsing it off. Repeat this process twice a week for faster results.
  • Aloe Vera gel works wonders for the face and on multiple skin-related issues. Apply the gel underneath your eyes, and leave it through the night. Dermatologists deem aloe vera a magic remedy to treat dark circles.
  • Other common remedies include placing tea bags or mint leaves under your eyes. 
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If home remedies aren’t working for you, don’t fret. You have access to a host of OTC medications and bleaching creams to treat dark circles. Apart from these, prescription skin brighteners can also be used to reduce pigmentation around the under-eye area.

Why dark circles under eyes?

Several factors are responsible for the build of dark circles under the eyes. This includes, oversleeping, excess fatigue, and staying up late after bedtime. Further, dark circles are natural to occur in old age, and some people might also have a genetic predisposition to dark circles under eyes. Added to this, allergies, excessive strains on the eyes (probably due to extra work), and dehydration can also lead to the same condition.

Can stress cause dark circles under eyes?

Stress contributes to building up a dark circle under eyes due to both anatomical and physiological reasons. First, when you take stress, more blood is pumped out, which leaves lesser blood for the face making it look weak. Stress causes more blood to run through the capillaries situated below the eyes. This leads to swelling of the capillaries, and they are more visible than before, causing dark circles.

Are dark circles under eyes permanent?

No, dark circles are not permanent, there are several things that you can do to get rid of them. Start with getting enough sleep, and if you have been dealing with them for a long time, try keeping two pillows under the head. Then to open the dilated capillaries, use cold compression. Another way is to reduce your time under the sun, and if you have to be under it for long hours, use a moisturizer.

How to remove dark circles naturally?

Besides cold compression and cucumber, you can also use rose water, tomatoes, cold tea bags, potatoes, orange juice, cold milk, and Vitamin E oil are effective in treating dark circles. However, always remember that all these things are to be applied or kept on the eyes directly. When that is not possible, pour the said material like orange juice and milk on cotton and then place the cotton on the eyes.

What should we eat to remove dark circles?

Well, cucumber is an all-rounder when it comes to treating dark circles under eyes. Added to this, you can also eat watermelon, blueberries, celery, mulberries, beetroot, goji berries, and spirulina to combat this issue. These food sources contain antioxidants Vitamin C, B1, B16, E, K, Omega-3 acids, Manganese, lutein, and other essential nutrients that aid in the eye’s upkeep’s health and reduce dark circles.

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