When you spot those pesky dark circles under your eyes, is your lack of sleep the first thing you blame? While getting a decent amount of shut eye is incredibly important, being tired isn’t the only reason your skin appears red, purple, and even a little blue. These are seven other things that could be keeping the area under your eyes from looking their best and brightest.
1. Your parents passed on bad genes
That’s right — your parents could be to blame for your dark circles. “There are hereditary conditions that run in families that can lead to darkness under the eyes,” explains New York City dermatologist Dr. Bruce Katz, Director of the Juva Skin & Laser Center in New York. “This is very common in people with Mediterranean backgrounds.” The good news: if it’s pigmentation, there are specific lasers dermatologists can use that can help you get rid of it.
2. Eczema could be leading you to rub
While the eczema itself may not lead to the dark circles, the constant rubbing and itching most certainly can. “Excessive rubbing can lead to increased swelling, inflammation, and broken blood vessels in the eye area, which can give the skin a dark, almost bruised appearance,” says dermatologist Dr. David E. Bank, Director at The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mt. Kisco, NY.
3. Allergies can make you itchy
Skin conditions like eczema aren’t the only health concern that can cause your under eye woes. “Allergies often trigger histamines in the body which cause blood vessels to dilate,” explains Dr. Bank. “Since the skin on our eyelid and under eye area is some of the thinnest in the body, it may cause those swollen blood vessels to appear darker than the rest of the face.” Long story short: Take care of those allergies ASAP, then your derm can treat the pigmentation.
4. Your makeup could be irritating you
It seems counterintuitive — makeup is supposed to cover up those dark circles, right? But if you’re using a product, whether it’s a mascara, eyeshadow, or even concealer, that bugs your skin, it could be leading to worsened circles. “Some people develop allergic reactions to makeup, and they get circles from the irritation, rubbing, and scratching,” warns Dr. Katz. If you notice your eyes are looking a little rough after using that trendy new eyeliner, perhaps steer clear.
5. Your bone structure could be to blame
Surprisingly, your circles could have nothing to do with your actual skin — it could simply be the way your face is shaped. “When people have deep tear troughs under their eyes, the shadowing and indentation can cause the appearance of darkness, but it’s not actually from pigment or veins,” says Dr. Katz. If this is your personal dilemma, Dr. Katz says fillers from a certified pro can even out the eye area.
6. Veins can give you a blue tint
If your eye areas look particularly blue, it could simply be your blood vessels. “Blue veins under your eyes look dark, too, so it makes the eyelids and under eyes appear to have dark circles, but really it’s just the veins under the skin,” explains Dr. Katz. Try using one of these concealers to cover ’em up.
7. You’re not protecting your skin from the sun
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 in the form of dilating and increased blood flow,” says Dr. Bank. “As a result, you can see a dark glow or color through the transparency of the skin.” Just another reason to wear SPF!