What are Dark Circles?
Dark circles are the second most common dermatological complaints. Contrary to the common belief, dark circles are not caused by stress, or all night work, or late night partying.
Factors like lack of sleep or fatigue make the skin pale in color thereby emphasizing the already existing dark circles. Same is the case with hormones which also make the skin pale and highlight the pre-existing dark circles.
They are more apparently visible in people with fair skin or deep-set eyes. The skin under the eyes is very thin and delicate.
The combination of capillaries near the skin’s surface and translucence of the skin make the dark circles more noticeable. A number of natural home remedies for dark circles are beneficial in most of the cases.
Causes and Symptoms of Dark Circles
Hereditary genes can be attributed as the main cause of dark circles. Some of these genes cause weakening of capillaries on the skin around the eyes. These very genes can be held responsible for dark circles. Skin tone and the level of transparency of the skin are also inherited characteristics which intensify the dark circles. Overexposure to sun can also intensify the dark circles. The skin adopts a defensive mechanism against sunlight by increasing the natural melanin levels and bringing them to the surface of the skin.
This increased melanin darkens the dark circles even further. Doctors associate dark circles with allergies, especially in case of children. Some allergies cause dark stains or smudges under the eyes. On the other hand, some allergies cause an itchy feeling around the eyes. Consequently, children rub the eyes making the skin under eyes go dark. Food allergies can also contribute to dark circles. Another important reason of having dark circles is age. The dark circles increase with the age of the person.
The reason is that as the age increases, the skin becomes thinner and thinner. The discoloration due to dark circles is more readily visible on thinner skin. In less frequent cases, dark circles could be caused by dehydration, deficiency of iron or other key nutrients in the diet. Pregnancy and menstruation tend make the skin pale and make the dark circles more apparent.
Heart problems, thyroid problems, liver or kidney diseases lead to fluid retention which in turn causes the dilation of blood vessels under the eyes and make the dark circles look even darker. Along with these diseases, some medicines like birth control pills also increase fluid retention in the body. Excess dietary salt and smoking lead to the same result.
Natural Home Remedies for Dark Circles
The natural home remedies for dark circles are inexpensive and safe but require patience as they do not show noticeable results overnight.
• Placing plain cool teabags (somewhat dry) over closed eyes reduce dark circles. Herbal teabags are not recommended for this purpose. Fresh cool cucumber slices (with the skin still on) /cucumber juice or potato slices can also be used in place of teabags. This is a very common yet effective method used to eliminate dark circles.
• Applying crushed mint leaves for around twenty minutes is another simple treatment for dark circles.
• Applying a moderate amount of pure almond oil and massaging around the eyes gives encouraging results. Remove the oil after 15 minutes with moist cotton wool.
• Applying a paste of pineapple juice in turmeric powder provides relief in most of the cases.
• Applying rose water with cotton cools the eyes and to some extent, removes dark pigmentation under the eyes.
• Drinking cranberry juice twice a day accelerates the process of curing dark circles. A noticeable reduction in the dark rings under the eyes can be observed within the first ten days.
• Drinking a mixture of tomato juice, mint leaves, lemon juice and salt can help solve the problem.
• Mix one teaspoon of tomato juice, a pinch of turmeric, three to four drops of lemon juice and some white flour (just enough to make a paste). Regularly applying this paste for about 15 minutes is by far one of the most popular natural home remedies for dark circles.
Diet for Dark Circles
In order to reduce dark circles, a healthy and balanced diet plays an important role. A diet rich in iron and vital vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K is recommended in this regard. Green leafy vegetables, nuts, soy, raisins, legumes, beans, and other such healthy items should become a vital part of the diet. Vitamin C strengthens the blood walls thereby controlling the ugly dark circles. Grape seed extract and other dietary supplements contain antioxidant pigments that also strengthen blood vessels.
They should be taken under specific medical supervision by people on blood-thinning drugs such as Coumadin and aspirin. Cranberries, black currant blueberries, tea (green and black), bilberries, parsley, onions, and legumes also contain these antioxidant pigments. Drinking plenty of water so as to keep the body hydrated is another important aspect in reducing dark circles caused by dehydration. Salt contains sodium and aids in fluid retention. Hence, a diet comprising less salt prevents the formation dark circles.