Then there are seasonal allergies, and nasal congestion, which can contribute to poor circulation to the lower eyelid, leading to dilated veins. “When veins under the eye dilate, they become bigger and darker,” points out dermatologist Dr Dennis Gross. In addition, loss of volume – fat and collagen – under the eyes (which naturally happens as we age), is a big contributor to dark circles, leading to a sunken look and thinner skin, which can magnify their appearance.
In our digital world, we’re also spending long days staring at a screen – whether laptop, phone or television – and that’s doing our eyes some harm, too. The more screen time we rack up, the more likely we are to strain our eyes, which can prompt blood vessels around them to get bigger and create dark shadows.
The best way to ascertain the cause of your dark circles is with a pinch test, according to Dr Gross. “If you pinch the skin and lift it off the surface and it stays brown, this means you have a pigment problem. On the other hand, if the colour looks better when you do this, you likely have an issue with dilated veins.” So, the question on everyone’s minds: how to reduce dark circles? We spoke to the experts to reveal exactly what will – and what won’t – get rid of dark circles for good.
What should we eat to remove dark circles under the eyes?
Any quest to get rid of dark circles should begin with a thorough assessment of your diet, according to Paula Begoun, founder of Paula’s Choice Skincare. “While there aren’t any fast dietary fixes for dark circles, maintaining a nutritious anti-inflammatory diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats can bring about visible skin improvements all over the body – including the eye area,” she says.
There are specific fruits and vegetables that are said to help lift a pesky dark circle (and prevent them from getting worse), too. Take tomatoes, which contain an antioxidant called lycopene which boosts circulation and protects blood vessels – load up on them. Other foods to fill up on include blueberries, watermelon, oranges and beetroot – incorporate plenty of these into your diet.