You’ve tossed and turned all night, and when you finally drag yourself out of the bed in the morning, you’re met with a not-so-pleasant picture in front of the mirror: puffy, dark circles under your eyes. Sometimes, the tissue under your eyes will swell with fluid, making them seem puffy, too.

Most of us have noticed dark circles under our eyes after a bad night’s sleep. But why do they show up, and what can you do about them?

As this video from the SciShow YouTube channel explains, what you’re seeing is actually the result of the thin layer of skin below your eyes showing the tiny blood vessels and the blood they contain more clearly, than elsewhere on your face, approximately 75% thinner to put a number on that! Since your eyelid skin is so sensitive, rubbing your eyes excessively—like when you wake up zonked, during allergy season or using irritating skincare products on your face — can make it even darker.

Additionally, the natural pigmentation of your skin, or the amount of melanin in the skin in that area, is a factor as well. So genetics can play a huge part, and there may not be a way for you to get rid of them entirely. That said, there are some things that can make them much worse. So here’s our top tips to banish the dark circles… and guess what, there’s not a cucumber or teabag in sight!


If you don’t get enough sleep or you are always stressed out, your body produces more cortisol, a hormone, in an effort to keep you awake and functioning. Over time, this will dilate your blood vessels, as we’ve already mentioned, dark circles are largely caused by us seeing our own blood vessels / blood through our skin.

So it stands to reason that when those blood vessels are engorged, they’d be easier to see, even in people who may have been blessed with thicker skin below their eyes. There are numerous ways to reduce stress, which can bring more benefits than just reducing dark circles — yoga, exercise or even a hot cup of tea…. Yeah, I know what I did there!


Yes, we’ve all been there, looking at that large pack of crisps and wondering how you’d get four portions out of it when you are already left with the last few remnants, then deciding to just finish it off because there’s no point leaving just a few crisps being right? Aside from the astonishing number of calories; snacks and processed food can contain a lot of salt, which can result in the body retaining more fluid than usual. This can place increased pressure on the skin and blood vessels around the eyes which can force blood vessels closer to the surface of the skin, making dark circles appear more prominent.

Having a healthy, balanced diet full of veggies & fruits like errm… like cucumbers, while avoiding alcohol and processed foods, will do more than just trim your waistline. It will support healthy skin, strengthen blood vessels and lead to a better complexion. You really can eat for better skin.


You may think heading outside could brighten up your skin, but not if you let your delicate under eye area get too exposed. Eyelid skin is the thinnest in the body, so sun damage shows up quickly in this area by breaking the vital collagen down, losing its elasticity and ability to regenerate and as a result, it becomes thinner.

Couple that with the increase in melanin content. The skin in this region can pigment more than the surrounding skin because it’s more sensitive, too much sun exposure can cause more long-term dark circles.

All that said you might just be genetically predisposed to get dark circles. Whether it’s down to your bone structure causing shadows, increased melanin production or just thinner skin. So, whether by passing on their genes to you or for not letting you sleep in after a gaming all-nighter when you’re young, it’s all your parent’s fault!

The science in skincare is our ongoing series helping consumers better understand the science in skincare. We translate the science into a format that is much easier to read, bust the myths and give you a clear, transparent and honest assessment so you can make an informed choice of what goes onto your skin.

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By |2018-12-20T00:24:50+00:00December 20th, 2018|Skincare Science, Skincare Tips|0 Comments

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