This story has been updated since it was originally posted on 01/25/2022
Dark circles can be caused by a variety of factors, from natural aging to hereditary reasons to a diet lacking essential nutrients. As it turns out, there are certain foods and beverages that can worsen the appearance of eye bags. If you have dark circles or bags that feel noticeable and you’re wondering if you’re drinking anything that might be making them worse, we can help you get to the bottom of it.
To learn more about the worst beverages that can lead to and worsen these beauty issues, we spoke with experts Dr. Kemunto Mokaya, M.D., Monika Wasserman, M.D., and dermatologist Harland Adkins. They told us you might want to consume less alcohol for the sake of your dark circles.
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Alcohol And Dark Eye Circles
Drinks with high amounts of alcohol can damage your body in numerous ways if consumed excessively, and your under-eye skin is no exception. “Alcohol causes blood vessels to dilate,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Kemunto Mokaya, M.D. “When the veins around the eye area dilate, they are more prominent, and they amplify the darkness of the skin around the eyes.”
Dermatologist Harland Adkins agrees. “Dark eye circles are a natural process of life for most of us, but there are definitely ways you can slow down or reduce them,” says Adkins, who also notes that “people over 50 who want to reduce dark eye circles should avoid drinking alcohol” due to “blood vessels under your eyes dilating when drinking alcohol, and it making the dark circles more prominent.”
It isn’t just the fact that this drink leads to dilated blood vessels that causes dark circles, though. Wasserman says alcohol can also dehydrate you, which can definitely worsen the issue. “The diuretic effects of alcohol can cause body dehydration resulting in soft, flabby skin with prominent dark bags,” she explains.
Mokaya adds that due to alcohol interfering with sleep (hangovers, daytime sleepiness, etc.), it can “reduce the quality of your sleep” and “exacerbate the appearance of dark eye circles.” Wasserman concurs: “Drinking can interfere with quality REM and restorative sleep,” she says. “This induces fatigue in the body characterized by extra projecting dark bags or circles under the eye.” Yikes!
Ultimately, the darkness of your under-eyes won’t be fixed by consuming alcoholic beverages, and could even be worsened by them. For people over 50, the skin under your eyes is very delicate and in need of vital nutrients like Vitamin K or Vitamin C.
Reduce Appearance Of Dark Circles
Dark undereye circles can certainly be a pain to deal with. So, in addition to limiting your alcohol intake, what else can you do to reduce their appearance? Casey Kestina, MD offered us some advice.
This may be obvious, but the first thing to prioritize is a good night’s sleep. “Lack of sleep can cause your eyes to look tired,” Kestina points out. She recommends getting at least seven hours of sleep each night to combat this issue.
Additionally, Kestina stresses the importance of wearing SPF every day. “Sunscreen is a key part of preventing eye bags and circles,” she says, noting that this is a vital skincare step “even if you are only going outside for a short time.”
Hydration is another essential factor. Just as avoiding alcohol to prevent dehydration is important to keep your eyes looking bright and beautiful, drinking enough water is crucial. “Drink plenty of water every day to keep your eyes looking their best,” Kestina instructs.
She offers one more word of advice on the subject: “Finally, keep your face clean,” she says. “Make sure to wash your face morning and night with warm water and soap.” Kestina explains that regular cleansing will help remove any oils and debris that can lead to stubborn undereye circles.