Causes of Dark Circles

Brittany Kline
By: Senior LetsTalkBeauty Editor  |  Brittany Kline

Dark circles around the eyes are a particularly embarrassing affliction, because it’s hard to cover up, and let’s face it: no one wants to look like a raccoon. There are many different reasons for dark circles around the eyes, which we’ve outlined here.

They Run in the Family

One primary cause for dark circles below the eyes is genetics. Just like the color of your hair and eyes, you’re predisposed to get dark circles if they run in your family. This is especially true for those that have fair skin or with eyes that are deeply set. The genes that give you your circles below your eyes are the same genes that cause the capillaries under the delicate skin that surrounds your eyes to be weakened.

Other Causes for Dark Circles

Heredity isn’t the sole cause of those dark circles. There are other factors that can bring about those dark under-eye circles. Some of these causes are:

Sun exposure

Dark circles below the eyes can result from too much sun exposure. No matter what skin tone you have, high levels of UV light from the sun can stimulate melanin production, increasing pigmentation. When this happens, those dark circles below the eyes are exacerbated and look darker.


Although fatigue alone doesn’t actually cause dark circles, it can make them appear worse. When people suffer from a loss of sleep, their skin appears pale. Pale skin emphasizes the dark circles under your eyes. Fatigue can also be brought on by menstruation and pregnancy. Because of this, dark circles are often associated with hormonal changes. But again, the problem isn’t with hormones, just with the change in skin tone; even illness can alter the appearance of your skin and cause dark circles to look worse.


Another cause for dark circles is allergies. Even in children, dark circles below the eyes are a symptom of allergy problems. Allergies can cause itchy eyes, which may ultimately lead to aggravated dark circles. As pollen fills the air, it brings on sneezing, coughing and eye-rubbing. Any condition in which you have to rub or scratch the skin near your eyes can darken that skin. Those who suffer from hay fever may also notice “smudges” below the eyes from reactions to histamine. There are also food allergies that can aggravate dark circles below the eyes.


With the aging process, facial skin becomes thinner and dark circles below the eyes become more apparent. Some people may also develop excessive skin folds below the eyes through the aging process. Excessive skin folds may increase the discoloration of dark circles as well


If you’re lacking a well-balanced diet, especially if nutrients such as Vitamin K or Iron are inadequate, this can also contribute to dark circles. Eating more healthy foods may reduce the visibility of dark circles under the eyes.

How Can You Treat Your Dark Circles?

The easiest way to treat dark circles under your eyes is with a proven dark circle treatment cream. To find out more about these products, including which ones our reviewers ranked the highest, click here.

Brittany Kline
Senior LetsTalkBeauty Editor
We sent Brittany to venture across the world in search of discovering basically the world's best products and then bringing those back to you. She has documented all her research so you can receive the most vital information and latest innovations in beauty.

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