In a world where time is money and we can sleep when we’re dead!, stress and fatigue are just a part of the hustle. If you’re running a little ragged these days, then you might notice new dark circles under your eyes. Or, more frustratingly, they may be popping up even if you have excellent sleeping habits.
Dark circles and the eye bags that come with them aren’t usually a cause for alarm– medically. However, they usually are a dead giveaway that you aren’t getting enough rest.
Is catching up on your sleep enough on its own to make those dark circles and bags go away? Let’s explore.
Dark Circles And Eye Bags - What’s The Difference?
The skin under your eyes is some of the most delicate skin on your body and is highly susceptible to sun exposure, external force, dehydration, and changes to your skin over time as you age.
This sensitivity is why many people get dark circles as they age or start to see wrinkles around their eyes before they do anywhere else.
Unlike most of your skin, the skin under your eyes has only a very thin layer of subcutaneous tissue, which helps your skin retain moisture and maintain its elasticity. This is why it’s so easy for dark circles and eye bags to show up seemingly overnight.
Dark eye circles occur when the skin beneath your eyes becomes dull and pale, which makes the dark tissues and blood vessels beneath your skin more visible.
On the other hand, eye bags happen when fluid builds up in the skin underneath your eyes and causes the area to swell. Sometimes this can actually be prominent enough to cast shadows on your under-eye area, contributing even further to the appearance of dark circles.
What Causes Dark Circles And Eye Bags?
Dark circles and eye bags tend to go hand in hand and often stem from the same circumstances.
Fatigue From Undersleeping or Oversleeping:
Fatigue is the factor most commonly associated with the appearance of new circles and could result from something as simple as staying up a few hours past your bedtime.
But oversleeping can, paradoxically, also make you feel fatigued by throwing your body off balance. In either case, that feeling of exhaustion causes stress on your body’s systems. In this state your body will prioritize blood circulation to your major organs rather than your skin. That reduced circulation can make your skin paler and cause the deoxygenated blood in the vessels beneath your eyes to be more visible.
Similarly, lack of sleep can also cause fluid to build up underneath your eyes, which can cast shadows underneath your eyes and enhance the appearance of any dark circles you might already have.
Catching back up on your sleep is the best way to reverse the effects of all that fatigue. More importantly, you should prioritize getting restful sleep.
Try to avoid screen time before bed - the exposure to the blue light from your phone can suppress your body’s production of the chemicals that regulate your sleep cycles - and get yourself some room-darkening curtains so that the light outside your window doesn’t affect your sleeping patterns.
Hydration is important for all of your body’s systems, including your skin. Without sufficient water, your skin can get dry, tight, and flaky, and you may notice your complexion growing dull or uneven. This is especially true for the skin under your eyes because it doesn’t have the same fatty tissue layer as most of your skin.
When this skin gets too dry it can appear dull and sunken, causing dark circles to appear. Sometimes this happens just because you aren’t drinking enough water; other times, the sensitive skin beneath your eyes simply isn’t retaining the moisture it needs.
If you suspect you aren’t drinking enough water already, these dark circles could be one more indicator that you need to be more deliberate about your intake. (Experts recommend that men drink about 120 ounces of water per day.)
You could also supplement your water intake with a product formulated specifically to help your skin retain moisture. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which will help your skin to lock in its natural moisture throughout the day, and antioxidant compounds like Pycnogenol to brighten up that skin. If your dark circles are accompanied by eye bags, caffeine can help to reduce that puffiness.
Sometimes dark circles are caused by damage to the tiny capillaries beneath your eyes, which, like your skin, are more fragile here than in other parts of your body. You can break these little blood vessels when you rub your eyes, causing small amounts of blood to seep out into the surrounding skin.
This pooled blood under your skin can appear as dark circles under your eyes, in the same way that bruises appear elsewhere on your body. Try to avoid rubbing your eyes or using much pressure when applying a moisturizer or eye cream in this area.
Sometimes dark circles and eye bags pop up for reasons totally outside of your control. Aging is one of the biggest factors–the sensitive skin under your eyes only gets more sensitive as we get older– but conditions such as anemia, eczema, or even allergies could play a role here as well.
The most important things you can do to combat dark circles and eye bags are to take care of your skin and take care of your body.
Work an under-eye product into your daily arsenal of skincare products, prioritizing products with natural ingredients that deliver moisture and can soothe irritation. And make sure that you leave ample time for a full night’s sleep in your daily routine.