Dark circles under your eyes: What causes them?

content provided by mayoclinic.com

Dark circles under your eyes: What causes them?

Question

What causes dark circles under eyes? What can you do about them?

Stephanie
Wisconsin

Answer

Almost everyone gets dark circles under their eyes from time to time. Dark circles under eyes usually are temporary and not a medical concern.

You may be surprised to learn that fatigue usually isn't the cause of dark circles. Instead, the most common cause is nasal congestion. When your nose is congested, veins that usually drain from your eyes into your nose become widened (dilated) and darker.

Another cause of undereye circles is eyelid swelling during sleep. When you lie down, gravity can cause fluid to collect in your lower eyelids. This swelling may create the appearance of shadows below your eyes. In addition, dark circles can result from chronic skin conditions, such as atopic eczema. Dark circles can also run in families.

Over-the-counter products may help diminish dark circles under eyes. Look for skin creams that contain vitamin C or K, alpha hydroxy acid and kinetin. Treatment for chronic and severe undereye circles is directed at the underlying cause, if known, and may include bleaching agents and laser therapy.

Last Updated: 01/05/2007
© 1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Terms and conditions of use

 

Bookmark and Share   E-Mail Page   Printer Friendly Version