Eye bags can develop over time for a number of reasons, from them being hereditary to them showing signs of other underlying conditions, like fatigue. If you’re experiencing the latter, it’s important to note that your diet can improve your skin, and while hydrating regularly and using products recommended by a dermatologist, what you consume can also impact your dark under-eyes. We checked in with skin health experts to ask if there is a popular beverage anyone with dark eye circles should avoid and the answer was a resounding, collective ‘yes.’ Read on for tips from Melissa Gilbert, London-based aesthetician at Fantastic Services, Janet Coleman, dermatologist and skincare expert at TheConsumerMag and Dr. Jose Mier, Founder of Heliotherapy Research Institute and health expert.
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How Energy Drinks Can Worsen (And Cause) Dark Eye Circles
Energy drinks are popular beverages that contain heavy amounts of caffeine, which is an ingredient known to stimulate the brain and keep you awake, Gilbert says. She notes that while there are some benefits to consuming caffeine (in moderation), if it’s over-consumed, there are also many long and short-term negative effects, and a person can “easily exceed their recommended daily intake” of one cup of caffeine a day with “a can of energy drink.”
“One of the negative effects of caffeine in energy drinks is the worsening of dark eye circles,” Gilbert says. “Many people have them because the blood vessels in their eyelids can be seen, which is either because they have more capillaries or they are thicker and larger. Because the skin in the eyelids is the thinnest in the body, they are more visible than other areas,” she continues.
Energy drinks can worsen dark eye circles because the caffeine in them is a stimulant— it’s not only causing you to sleep less, but also has dehydrating properties, which contribute to the appearance of dark eye circles, she says. “This ingredient makes the blood vessels under your eyes expand and become more prominent, making any darkness look even more obvious,” says Gilbert. “Because of its dehydrating properties, caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands to produce more cortisol, a hormone that can cause fluid retention in your body and also leave you with puffy eyes.” Not only does this make dark eye circles worse, but the condition can become cyclical, meaning that it will continue to happen repeatedly.
Another drawback of energy drinks, Mier says, is that high consumption of them can often “also cause eyelid spasms and dry the inner area” of the eyes. Mier also says that energy drinks are often linked to dehydration since they “force the brain to stay alert,” leading to poor sleep and puffy eyes, and “thin under-eye areas are prone to hyperpigmentation and itchiness.”
Coleman agrees and says that caffeine often found in energy drinks inhibits the body’s ability to remove fluid from tissues, and fluid builds up in tissues under the eyes— causing them to swell. “The caffeine also constricts the blood vessels in that area, which increases blood flow and even more swelling,” she says, stressing that while some people may not be affected by caffeine, others are particularly sensitive to it. “The best way to avoid dark eye circles is to drink a lot of water during the day and get adequate sleep,” she says. Coleman advises that dark eye circles can be remedied with a “good-quality moisturizer containing SPF 30 or greater,” and that a moisturizer with antioxidants such as CoQ10 will also help to prevent lines and wrinkles around the eyes.