By Ria Bhatia
Here’s what’s causing (or worsening) racoon eyes
As life happens, the occurrence (and recurrence) of skincare concerns is normal. There’s seldom a way to escape these (unless you have fictional porcelain skin, of course) and so, we’ve got to make peace a.k.a figure our way through them. Acne, tan, sunburns, open pores, blackheads, wrinkles and fine lines are some common skin situations that you cannot elude. One such case is that of dark circles and under eye bags that occur gradually (but we don’t tend to pay heed initially) and no matter what the reason, they seem to become like second skin, under the eyes. It’s not just pigmentation in that particular area, but it’s also the unevenness that it brings to our face. Much to your surprise, it’s actually possible to curtail their augmentation if you identify the causes at early stages and course-correct there and then. Listing down a few common causes of the pesky dark circles.
Lack Of Sleep
Modern life’s ultimate truth – we’re always sleep-deprived. Besides leaving you craving for endless cups of coffee in a day, it’s secretly damaging the fine-boned skin under your eyes. “Blood vessels dilate when you don’t get enough sleep at night. This increases blood flow, and because the skin under your eyes is thinner, the dark tint caused by the increased volume of blood is more visible in your under eye area,” explains Dr Niketa Sonavane, celebrity dermatologist and founder, Ambrosia Aesthetics. “Inadequate sleep may also cause fluid to accumulate beneath your eyes, making them puffy. It’s possible that the dark circles you’re seeing are shadows cast by puffy eyelids,” she adds.
How many times a day does your mother remind you to sip on some H2O? Well, there are more reasons to do so than you think. If you love healthy-looking skin, that’s reason enough to keep hydrated. In case of dehydration, “The skin beneath your eyes becomes dull and your eyes appear sunken. This is because the eyes are so close to the underlying bone. Additionally, the area under the eyes is also extremely prone to dehydration, which can darken the skin and make dark circles more visible,” reveals Dr Niketa.
Well, good or bad, genes are genes. One of the causes that may be resistant to all your efforts, you can’t really do much about them. “You may have inherited allergies that cause inflammation and dilate the vessels under your eyes, resulting in the dark appearance,” cites Dr Niketa. Your skin tone may have an influence too, “Blood vessels may be more visible in people with fairer, thinner skin, especially under the eyes, and can give the area a blue or purple hue,” she adds.
Yep, the biggest enemy of our skin of all times, sun damage is real and doesn’t spare a speck on your face – your pigmented under eyes are a testament. “Sunlight can also cause dark circles under the eyes. Brownish pigments (excess melanin) in the skin of the lower eyelid cause pigmented dark circles,” believes Dr Niketa who, which is why, suggests wearing sunglasses with UV 400 protection and the use of a well-formulated sunscreen are the ideal combination for preventing dark circles, wrinkles, and sagging.
Allergies are real and those who face it (be it any kind and type of allergy) know the repercussions of it! “Sinus congestion causes congestion in the small veins under your eyes. Blood pools under your eyes, causing swollen veins to dilate and darken, resulting in dark circles and puffiness. In addition, when you have allergies, your body produces histamines to combat the allergens. Histamine is what causes your eyes to itch and water. You naturally rub your eyes, which in turn causes inflammation and periorbital pigmentation,” explains Dr Niketa.
Who’s been able to dodge the stress? Literally, no one. “When you are stressed, blood is directed to other parts of your body, except the face, which appears pale. This makes the blood vessels beneath your eyes more visible, eventually giving rise to dark circles,” tells Dr Niketa. Getting into the details, “Cortisol levels raise in stressful periods, which increases the appearance and intensity of puffiness and bags under the eyes. Constant strain on the eyes can also break or leak blood from the fragile capillaries around the eyes,” mentions Dr Niketa.
“Anemia, or a lack of iron, can cause dark eye circles because not enough oxygen reaches the body’s tissues. Any medication that causes blood vessels to dilate can cause darkening of the eye circles,” invokes Dr Niketa.