It is quite often we come across people with Dark Circles under the Eyes. This is normally attributed to either working excessively or staying up late at night and not getting sufficient sleep. This may be true to some degree but there are various other medical situations under which an individual can get Dark Circles under the Eyes. Thus, it becomes a tricky question as to what is causing Dark Circles under the Eyes. This article gives a brief overview of what may be going on with your eyes that may be causing Dark Circles under the Eyes.

Why Do We Get Dark Circles Under Our Eye?

Why Do We Get Dark Circles Under Our Eye?

Dark Circles Under Eye Caused Due to Thin Layer of Skin Under the Eye:

The first and simplest reason for having Dark Circles under the Eyes is that the layer of the skin under the eyes is extremely thin and hence they show the blood vessels underneath the skin more clearly than the other parts of the body. When light falls on the skin surface under the eye, it gets reflected back off the blood vessels and the blood giving it a dark brown or black color.

This can be explained by an example that the veins that we are able to see in our arms sometimes seem to have a bluish tinge to it but this does not mean that the blood flowing through these veins changes its color to blue. Instead it means that the veins only let blue light to pass through it and hence it appears to be blue. Same is the case with the eyes which reflects back brown or black color when light falls on it and it looks like the individual has Dark Circles under the Eyes.

Age as a Factor for Having Dark Circles Under the Eye:

The second reason behind having Dark Circles under the Eyes is age. As we grow older the skin starts to lose its elasticity and its ability to regenerate quickly. Thus the layer of the skin starts to become thinner and thinner. Thus it is common to see Dark Circles under the Eyes in elderly people.

Dark Circle Under the Eye Caused Due to Periorbital Hyperpigmentation:

Periorbital hyperpigmentation is a condition which tends to produce dark circles under the eyes. This condition arises out of more melanin being produced under the eyes than elsewhere in the body and thus the skin under the eyes become darker and it looks as if the individual has dark circles under the eyes. This is mostly seen in people who naturally are dark skinned.

Dark Circle Under the Eye Caused Due to Injury:

Another condition causing Dark Circles under the Eyes is injury to the blood vessels under the eye. At times, the blood vessels around the eyes get injured or damaged due to any reason. This results in blood leaking out from the vessels resulting in Dark Circles under the Eyes. This is a relatively benign condition and is completely harmless. It can be treated easily with medications and lifestyle changes

Periorbital Puffiness Can Cause Dark Circle Under the Eye

Periorbital puffiness is yet another reason for an individual to have Dark Circles under the Eyes. This is usually caused by excess fluid buildup around the eyes. It may be due to allergy, illness, or excess salt consumption because of which more fluid is retained in the body putting excess pressure on the skin and blood vessels around the eyes forcing the blood vessels to come closer towards the surface of the skin under the eyes and thus causing Dark Circles under the Eyes.

Dark Circle Under the Eye Caused Due to Stress and Fatigue:

Sometimes stress and excess fatigue may also cause Dark Circles under the Eyes. When the body is low on energy, the production of cortisol is significantly increased in the body which facilitates energy production and helps the individual to stay awake.

Cortisol Can Cause Dark Circle Under the Eye

Cortisol tends to increase the volume of blood in the body and the blood vessels have to accommodate the increased blood. This is also for the blood vessels under the eye. This causes the blood vessels to bulge out and come more closer to the skin surface and due to reflection of light it appears as if the individual has Dark Circles under the Eyes.

In summary, it is not just the lack of sleep or overwork that causes Dark Circles under the Eyes but there is more of science involved along with certain medical conditions which may result in an individual having Dark Circles under the Eyes.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: May 8, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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