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Deficiencies That Cause Dark Under-Eye Circles

by Ashley Johnson

Dark (or darkish) under-eye circles are pretty common in both men and women, and they can make us appear older or more exhausted than we are—and not that we aren’t but, really? Does the world need to know?!

Dark under-eye circles usually occur because of lack of sleep, but there are many other reasons behind this phenomenon, eight of which we will examine in greater detail here.

Dark under-eye circles can have a black, brown, blue, or even purple appearance, depending upon your skin color. Typically, these dark circles are not a cause of concern and you can follow some home remedies and other methods to get rid of them.

What Deficiencies Cause Dark Circles?

Vitamin B12, A, K, D, and E deficiencies are associated with dark circles. An iron deficiency can also lead to this condition.

When your body fails to get the desired amount of iron, it doesn’t produce sufficient hemoglobin responsible for carrying oxygen across your body tissues. If dark circles are caused by iron deficiency, you may also be experiencing an irregular heartbeat, crawling feelings in your legs, tongue swelling or soreness, pale skin, shortness of breath, fatigue, and dizziness.

Sometimes the iron deficiency also causes brittle nails, headaches, weakness, and strange cravings. To recover from these deficiencies, you’ll likely need to eat foods high in vitamins and iron, but always be sure to consult your own doctor if you feel symptoms warrant medical attention.

Common Causes of Dark Under-Eye Circles

There are eight common causes for dark under-eye circles, including the following.

1. Vitamin A, B12, D, E, and K Deficiencies

As detailed above, deficincies in vitamins A, B12, D, E, and K may also cause or contribute to dark under-eye circles.

2. Age

The natural aging process is one of the most common reasons for dark circles because your skin becomes thinner as you grow old. Older adults also lose collagen and fat that maintains the elasticity of their skin. Thus the under-eye blood vessels become darker and more visible.

3. Genetics

Dark under-eye circles can also happen because of one’s family history. In addition, some common medical problems like thyroid disease can also form dark circles under the eyes, and they can disappear or worsen as you cross your childhood period.

4. Fatigue

Not getting enough sleep, extreme fatigue, or even oversleeping can lead to dark circles beneath your eyes. These conditions can make your skin dull and make your blood vessels and dark tissues more visible.

5. Allergies

Eye dryness and allergic reactions can form dark circles. This is because your body naturally releases histamines to deal with harmful bacteria if you’re suffering from an allergic reaction. This chemical can dilate your blood vessels to form dark circles.

6. Eye Strain

Staring at digital displays for a more extended period can cause eye strain. Resultantly, the blood vessels beneath your eye enlarge and make the area darken.

7. Dehydration

Dehydration is yet another common cause of dark circles. It happens when your body doesn’t get the required amount of water, and the skin around your eyes appears dull.

8. Excessive Sun Exposure

Excessive sun exposure increases melanin production, which is responsible for your skin color. Overexposure to the sun can also lead to pigmentation, and resultantly dark circles form around your eyes.

How to Get Rid of Dark Circles

A. Eating a Balanced Diet

Eating food that contains many vitamins and iron can reduce the appearance of dark circles under your eyes. You can eat all types of meat to recover from iron deficiency. However, if you’re a vegetarian, you can eat different fruits and vegetables such as peaches, oranges, apricots, apples, cantaloupe, red peppers, squash, kale spinach, sweet potatoes, and carrots.

These foods also contain different vitamins that also help reduce dark circles. In addition, some other food items such as lentils, tofu, blackstrap molasses, legumes, and quinoa are also good sources of iron and vitamins.

B. Simple Home Remedies

You can follow the simple practices listed below to help avoid dark circles under your eyes.

  • Get enough sleep
  • Apply cucumber slices to your eye
  • Apply a cold compress to your eyes
  • Using antioxidant skincare products
  • Wearing makeup

C. Common Medical Treatments

Treatments are available that may help address dark under-eye circles, about which you should always consult your own doctor or dermatologist.

  • Topical creams
  • Topical vitamin C
  • Chemical peels
  • Laser therapy
  • Surgery
  • Under-eye dermal fillers

How to Prevent Dark Circles Under Eyes

  • Consider wearing UV protection sunglasses to protect your eyes from harsh sun.
  • Reduce stress and get enough sleep to ensure you are well rested.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption and/or stop smoking as these can accelerate the aging process.
  • Exercise regularly and follow a healthy lifestyle to the best of your ability and means.

If you need to get rid of dark under-eye circles immediately, makeup is your best option. Beyond that, the eight common causes of dark under-eye circles listed above, as well as the many treatments provided, should help you deal with the darkness for good.

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