What food allergies cause dark circles under the eyes
Even though dark circles are regarded as a cosmetic concern with no serious health implications, certain medical conditions can aggravate this problem.
- Allergy: People often get darkness under their eyes in the wake of an allergic reaction. When an allergen enters your system, the body views it as a foreign threat.
Your immune system then goes on the defensive by triggering an inflammatory response via the release of potent chemicals such as histamine.
This response leads to swelling and dilation of the little blood vessels, particularly in the under-eye area.
As the blood vessels expand, they carry more blood and become congested.
The pooling of blood under the skin becomes apparent as dark circles on the surface.
Such dark circles are more common in cases of nasal allergies, such as allergic rhinitis, which leads to congestion in the entire sinus area, often referred to as allergic shiners.
- Anemia: Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen to body tissues.
Anemia occurs when your body does not own enough hemoglobin or has an abnormally low red blood cell (RBC) count to sustain a healthy oxygen supply from the lungs to the diverse parts of the body.
In most cases, the lack of RBCs is due to insufficient iron stores in the body.
Because iron is a crucial element for the production of RBCs, its deficiency can significantly hamper the flow of oxygen to the bodys organs.
This can make your skin appear paler than usual. The discoloration under the eyes tends to stand out even more against pale skin, which is why anemia can make dark circles more prominent.
Menstruation and pregnancy can also make your skin appear more washed out than normal and consequently highlight the darkness around the eyes.
- Dermatitis: Both atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis are associated with inflammation of the skin, which tends to be more pronounced in the sensitive area under the eyes.
The inflammation is often followed by the deposition of excessive melanin in certain spots, most notably the thin under-eye skin.
This can contribute to the occurrence or exacerbation of hyperpigmented rings around the eyes.
What Are Dark Circles?
Everyone tends to get dark circles under the eyes from time to time. Dark circles are unlikely to affect your general health but they can impact your overall appearance.
A dark shadow encircling your eyes can make you glance tired, sleep deprived, depressed, or hungover.
The skin around your eyes is much thinner than the skin on the relax of your body, as it contains little to no subcutaneous tissue.
The lack of subcutaneous padding makes the skin not only extremely fragile but also relatively translucent. This means that the blood vessels underneath the skin are easily visible on the surface.
It is for this reason that you own to be especially careful and tender when handling the delicate area around your eyes.
In most cases, resting your eyes along with some self-care measures should suffice to fade the pigmentation.
However, some people may develop stubborn rings around their eyes, which are too intensely pigmented to be camouflaged by makeup.
This beauty concern affects both sexes but is increasingly common in females.
Even though dark circles are not limited to any specific age group or skin color, they may be more prevalent in some than others.
Diagnosing Dark Circles
Dark circles can result from a number of diverse factors. Hence, reaching a correct diagnosis requires a thorough medical investigation.
The doctor will start by reviewing your personal, medical, and family histories before proceeding to a physical examination. He/she will glance at your dark circles under a “Wood’s lamp,” which emits ultraviolet light to assess the depth of pigmentation.
Causes of Dark Circles
Dark circles around the eyes commonly happen due to the following:
Facial bone structure
Dark circles are more common in people with deep-set facial bones.
This helpful of bone structure is generally characterized by a hollow depression under the eyes. The depressed area appears darker than the surrounding skin due to the shadow cast by the protruding brow bone.
Dark circles can also be a side effect of medications that make your blood vessels dilate and carry an increased quantity of blood. Because the skin under the eyes is fairly thin and translucent, the enhanced blood flow appears as a purple-blue tint on the surface, taking the shape of dark circles.
Collagen and elastin are structural proteins that serve as the building blocks of your skin.
Collagen and elastin production gradually declines with increasing age, which can make your skin less elastic over time.
The skin around your eyes is thinner than the skin covering the relax of the body. This makes it especially vulnerable to the ill effects of skin aging. It is for this reason that wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of premature aging are most visible around the eyes.
The skin only gets thinner as one gets older. As a result, the blood vessels that lie under it become more prominent in the form of dark circles.
In most cases, the appearance of dark circles has a genetic component.
If dark circles run in your family, you are inherently prone to get them as well. People who inherit this trait may develop dark circles from early childhood and generally discover it harder to treat them.
Hereditary dark circles are not caused by any of the standard curable factors. This makes them resistant to most treatments.
Some people may experience worsening of the dark circles with advancing age. Others may get rid of them naturally after a while.
People tend to get dark circles when their minds and body are not well rested.
The blood vessels that lie under the wafer-thin under-eye skin tend to be more conspicuous against pale, dull skin and appear in the shape of dark circles around the eyes.
Multiple factors can make your skin lose its natural healthy color, which include increased stress, weakness, and lack of sleep. (1)
Rubbing your eyes can damage or rupture the underlying blood vessels. This, in turn, causes blood to leak out and pool in the under-eye area, which can be seen as a dark purplish hue on the surface.
When your body fails to get sufficient water on a regular basis, it starts extracting fluid from the cells and storing it in the skin and tissues to meet its hydration needs.
Thus, as counterintuitive as it may sound, dehydration is one of the most common causes of edema or water retention.
Other factors that can disrupt the fluid balance inside your body include excessive salt and alcohol intake, which can leave your body dehydrated and can trigger water retention.
The pooling of water inside your under-eye skin makes the area appear swollen and pushes the underlying blood vessels closer to the surface, which imparts a dark purplish-blue hue under the lid.
Dark circles can also be the result of hyperpigmentation under the eyes, often due to excessive sun exposure.
The increased accumulation of melanin around the eyelid can make the skin in that area darker than the surrounding skin, leading to the formation of hyperpigmented rings around the eyes.
Because these dark circles are caused by a change in pigmentation, they tend to be more stubborn than those caused by temporary factors, as it can take some time for the skin discoloration to fade.
People with Asian or African ancestry are more prone to such changes in skin color.
If the darkness under your eyes does not vanish when you press on it, it is most likely caused by excessive melanin.
An unhealthy lifestyle can also contribute to the appearance of dark circles. The primary culprits include improper diet, harmful habits such as smoking, and eye strain due to excessive exposure to LED screens. (2)
Treatment for Dark Circles
The treatment for your dark circles depends upon their severity and the underlying cause. Multiple interventions can be used to address the pigmentation around your eyes, but each treatment may not work for every types of dark circles.
Blepharopigmentation is a minimally invasive medical procedure that involves tattooing along the lower eyelid to define its margin and smoothen out the hyperpigmentation in that area.
Hyaluronic acid gel soft tissue fillers
If your dark circles are the result of irregularly shaped lower eyelids, hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers may be used to flesh out the under-eye hollows. (3)(4)
Both invasive and noninvasive lasers own been used to improve under-eye darkening. The type of laser depends on the underlying issue with the skin.
Q-switched laser targets pigmentation, radiofrequency helps with collagen production and skin tightening, and intense pulsed light (IPL) can improve mild pigmentation secondary to sun damage.
Ablative laser resurfacing is a more powerful invasive laser that can improve skin pigmentation, stimulate collagen production, and soften fine lines.
This laser has the ability to target multiple factors contributing to under-eye circles.
Concealers and cosmeceuticals
Dark circles are generally nothing to get worked up about as they resolve on their own after a few days of restful sleep.
In the meantime, you can use makeup to camouflage the dark shadows under your eyes.
Choosing the correct shade of foundation or concealer is extremely significant to cover the discoloration and even out your skin tone, or else it will draw more attention to the problem area.
If your dark circles own a purplish-blue hue, a yellow-based concealer works best to cover the pigmentation.
People with brown-tinted dark circles are advised to use orange-based or peach-based concealers.
Additionally, you must always use a shade lighter than your original skin tone when concealing dark circles to brighten the under-eye area.
This method of color correction is the least invasive way to reduce the appearance of dark circles.
A number of over-the-counter products may assist lighten skin discoloration while improving collagen synthesis, two factors that can minimize the appearance of dark circles.
Retinoids are among the most widely used topical agents that purpose to enhance the structural quality and appearance of the skin.
They are essentially vitamin A derivatives that seep into the skin to promote collagen production and reduce melanin production.
Thus, the proper use of retinoids can make your skin smoother and more elastic over time while evening out any pigmented patches.
Other skin-enhancing compounds that can be used to address under-eye hyperpigmentation include hydroquinone, azelaic acid, kojic acid, arbutin, vitamin C, vitamin K, and haloxyl.
These compounds can only assist decrease the visibility of dark circles when applied in the correct dosage. Overuse of such skin products can lead to irritation and other side effects.
Some individuals use Preparation H (hemorrhoid cream/ointment), but this medication mainly addresses under-eye swelling rather than pigmentation.
Chemical peeling is a clinical procedure that may assist lighten the dark circles caused by surface-level hyperpigmentation.
Given that the skin covering the lower lids is extremely thin, only a mild exfoliant such as glycolic acid is used to prevent potential skin damage.
A chemical peel can be used as a standalone treatment for dark circles or in conjunction with other topical bleaching agents.
Blepharoplasty involves cutting into the lower eyelid area to scoop out the excess fat deposits, muscle, and skin that may be casting a shadow under your eyes. (4)
Even though this surgery is one of the more invasive measures, it is also one of the most effective ways to correct the contour irregularities that contribute to baggy eyelids and dark circles.
Eye Bags, Puffy Eyes, and Dark Circles: Not Really the Same!
The skin covering the body is held firmly in put with the support of a subcutaneous layer of fat.
But the under-eye skin is naturally slack and thin because it has extremely little subcutaneous fat to support it.
Moreover, the minimal fat that is present also wears away as one gets older.
It is extremely common for people to get puffy eyes due to oversleeping, sleep deprivation, sleeping on the stomach, alcohol abuse, high salt intake, excessive crying, and other factors that can cause fluid retention in the front of the face, particularly around the eyes.
Dehydration also plays a significant role in the onset of edema or water retention inside the body.
Moreover, seasonal allergies can also trigger an inflammatory response in the body, which can make the wafer-thin skin around the eyes swell up.
Although typical puffiness around the eyes generally subsides after a short while, some people may develop bags under their eyes due to age-related skin sagging.
The elasticity of the skin diminishes as one gets older.
This loss of elasticity is particularly noticeable in the delicate area around the eyes where the skin is already fairly frail and loose.
As the supportive tissues and muscles around the eyes become weaker over time, they fail to hold the subcutaneous fat in the upper eye. The fat then shifts under the lid. The under-eye deposits of fat are colloquially referred to as eye bags.
Dark circles are sometimes used interchangeably with puffy eyes or eye bags, but these conditions are not entirely the same.
Dark circles may or may not appear with puffy eyelids.
The swelling in the lower lid due to fluid retention or skin sagging often casts a shadow, which may seem love a dark circle but is not in the genuine sense of the word.
Genuine dark circles are generally the result of any of the causes discussed below.