While there are several different factors that can contribute to those racoon eyes, most medical experts are in agreement that the top cause is from insufficient sleep, and yes, logging a solid 8 hrs sleep on a nightly basis can be just what the doctor ordered!

While using eye cream for dark circles helps minimize the tired puffy look, understanding and dealing with the cause is important.

It may seem counterintuitive, but those with darker complexions are more prone to having dark circles under their eyes than someone with lighter skin tone, due to the higher amount of melanin in their skin.

Interestingly, the skin under the eyes is not actually darkened when a person has under eye circles. It is due to one or both of the following conditions that give the illusion of darkness below the eyes:

  1. Puffiness under the eyes can give off shadows that make the under-eye area appear darker
  2. Thinning skin under the eyes makes the blood vessels more prominent which then causes the area to look darker 

Beyond lack of sleep, there are at least five other common causes for dark circles under the eyes. The good news is that most of these have rather easy at-home treatments to help reduce the dark cirles or eliminate them entirely.

    • Genetics - When this condition runs in the family, then even your children may already have darker circles under their eyes at a fairly young age. Unfortunately, simply due to the genes they inherited, it may also worsen with age.
    • Aging - Added to the list of other “joys” of growing older is thinning skin. Aging skin loses collagen and moisture—particularly in sensitive areas  under eye. There are some medical treatments that can help but they may not be for everyone. Introducing healthy habits like daily hydration and collagen rich foods could be just enough to slow down the onset of dark circles.
  • Allergies - If you suffer from seasonal or other types of allergies that cause itching, swollen eyes that you're constantly rubbing, that alone can be creating irritation and the appearance of shadows under the eyes. If you’ve determined that allergies are at play, an over the counter antihistamine such as Benadryl or Zyrtec could prove to be helpful.
  • Alcohol consumption - When consumed in larger quantities, alcohol can cause the skin to dehydrate and it can also impair sleep, both of which are primary causes for unwanted dark circles. Reducing or eliminating alcohol intake will definitely help improve the situation.
  • Anemia - Iron deficiencies cause a lack of red blood cells, which affects the amount of oxygen carried throughout the body, especially under the eyes. A healthy diet full of iron-rich foods, and an iron supplement can help give the body the boost it needs.

  • Most people will see improvement when focusing on improving their sleep quality, along with one or more of the natural at-home remedies recommended. If you don’t see the results you are looking for, then talk with your doctor to help determine the underlying cause and medical treatment options available.