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What Causes Dark Circles Under Eyes?

If you’ve ever gone to work feeling a bit groggy, you’re probably familiar with our topic for today: dark circles. Once you’ve hit a certain...

What Causes Dark Circles Under Eyes?

If you’ve ever gone to work feeling a bit groggy, you’re probably familiar with our topic for today: dark circles. Once you’ve hit a certain age, it may feel like dark circles are unavoidable. 

That’s where NuFACE comes in. Here at NuFACE, education is one of our core values, and we aim to make sure our customers understand exactly what could be causing the skin problem they are targeting before delving into solutions. Additional lifestyle shifts can optimize the results from our line of products — despite the fact that they are incredibly successful on their own!

Allow us to break down the reasons behind your dark circles so you can correct them effectively and efficiently. 

What Are Dark Circles?

Let’s give a quick introduction to dark circles. Despite their pervasiveness in anti-aging ads and wellness blogs, few people actually know what the term defines. Dark circles refer to the section of skin directly underneath your eye when it appears to have darker skin than the rest of your face. Your under-eye skin may look blue, brown, black, or purple — a sharp contrast from your natural pigmentation

How Are Under-Eye Circles Different From Eye Bags?

There is a common misconception that dark circles under your eyes are synonymous with under-eye bags. While they do impact the same section of your face, they are two different problems. Under-eye bags have a hollowed-out appearance, as if the skin has sunken down into a puffy pocket. 

They are often caused by a lack of collagen, which is directly correlated with aging skin or excess sun exposure. As you grow older, the fat in your face also begins to move with gravity to the bottom of your face, which can create these under-eye bags. If you’ve eaten a lot of salty snacks lately, you may also be holding water in your face, exacerbating the bloated and uneven look of puffy eyes. 

Many of the remedies for under-eye bags and dark circles are the same, which is convenient. You can invest in the same products, conserve money and time, and dramatically improve the appearance of your under eyes. 

What Causes Dark Under-Eye Circles?

Now that we’ve talked about the basics, let’s dive into some potential causes of those pesky under-eye circles.

Inadequate Sleep 

A disorganized sleep schedule is one of the easiest dark circle culprits to catch. Sleep deprivation is top of the list for causing the appearance of dark under-eye circles and under-eye bags. A lack of sleep can essentially drain your skin of its natural color, and your blood vessels are more visible when this happens. The color of the vessels will poke through, creating this darkened section of skin. 


A poor diet throughout the day also adds to dark circles. Without nutrients, your skin is far less perky, and your pigmentation suffers — in other words, your natural glow becomes dull. 

Your skin is one of your organs, and you need to treat it with the same level of care as your heart or brain. It needs vitamins, minerals, and an overall well-balanced diet to function properly and look healthy. 

Being Too Rough

The more frequently you rub your eyes, the more likely you are to end up with dark under-eye skin. Even having a heavy hand when applying makeup along the lower eyelids can lead to irritation and dark circles. This is because your blood vessels are sensitive, especially in this thin-skinned, delicate area of your face. When you are rough on your skin, your tiny blood vessels can tear, causing localized discoloration under the skin. 

Natural Aging 

Some people have a family history of dark eye circles, and these come out as they grow older. Factors like failing to use sunscreen or not taking care to protect yourself properly from the sun can accelerate the aging process. Sun damage to the skin is known as photoaging, and it can cause discoloration and excess spots of melanin, as well as dark circles. 

It’s also more natural to see dark circles as you age due to a natural loss of skin elasticity. Skin elasticity is what helps your skin stretch and snap back into place when under stress. As you age, your skin isn’t able to bounce back quite as well, and you may end up with sagging under-eye circles.

Health Conditions

Some medical conditions can also cause your under eyes to change in color. Anemia, also known as iron deficiency, can cause your skin to produce dark circles due to poor oxygen circulation. In other words, your tissues are missing the oxygen they need to maintain an even skin tone. 

If you think you may have a health condition contributing to your dark circles, consult your healthcare provider for guidance and a treatment plan.


Cases of allergies, like contact dermatitis or hay fever, can make your blood vessels expand. When this happens, a darkening effect can take place on your skin — especially if you’ve been rubbing your itchy eyes. 

Allergies and skin conditions can create irritation, which may leave you with even more of a desire to rub or scratch under your eyes. 

How Can You Get Rid of Dark Circles?

Many topical and medical treatments may be able to help minimize the look of your dark under-eye circles. Even the tried and true concealer route can help cover up dark circles. However, if you want a more lasting change, here are our top tips.

Maintain a Healthy and Balanced Lifestyle

Making an effort to get a full seven to eight hours of sleep every night is key for your skin health and overall wellness. Getting enough sleep for a restorative rest and rejuvenated morning is essential for your health, and it can help keep pesky dark circles at bay. 

Bonus points if you stack up your pillows so that your head rests higher — this can help keep puffiness to a minimum and keep away under eye bags.

Home Remedies 

You can also incorporate at-home methods when necessary. For example, holding a cold compress over your under eyes may lessen the appearance of dilated blood vessels and support circulation. You can also use a tea bag (thank you, antioxidants and caffeine) under your eyes to soothe circles and puffiness.

Choose the Right Products

Lock in hydration with moisturizers (preferably those with hyaluronic acid) and eye creams that contain retinol or caffeine. More potent or invasive treatment options like hydroquinone (a skin-lightening product), chemical peels, laser therapy, and filler injections are sometimes resorted to when other methods fail. These are more helpful for targeting under-eye bags and should only be performed by a certified dermatologist. 

Try NuFACE Devices 

In lieu of in-office procedures or over-the-counter products, our microcurrent devices offer a non-invasive, yet still highly effective, alternative. 

Our Trinity Microcurrent Device, which won the Allure 2021 Best of Beauty award, was created to lift, tone, and contour your skin while providing a smoothing effect on known problem areas. 

Our Trinity device is unique in that it allows you to add attachments like the Effective Lip & Eye Attachment, which supports proper circulation and collagen production under the eyes to help reduce the appearance of dark circles. 

We also offer our FIX Line Smoothing Device, which is a smaller product that fits perfectly in the under-eye area. With our FIX device, all it takes is a quick three-minute process to stimulate the muscles in your face and tighten the skin under the eye. In fact, 97% of users notice an instant improvement. 

Out of the Shadows

Dark circles are a common complaint, but they don’t have to be a permanent one. From aging to inadequate sleep, dark circles have a variety of potential culprits. 

However, there are also many possible solutions to this skin concern. Choosing the right skincare products and turning to innovative technology like NuFACE skincare devices can help you nix those pesky dark circles and regain your radiant complexion.


Dark Circles Under The Eyes: Causes & Treatments | Cleveland Clinic

How to Get Rid of Bags Under Your Eyes? | Cleveland Clinic

Dark circles under eyes Causes | Mayo Clinic

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