Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What causes dark circles under the eyes?"
I've had dark circles under my eyes since I can remember. What causes this? Any way to make it go away?
Dark circles occur under the eyes because the skin under the eyes is thinner than in other parts of the body, which allows the veins under the skin to show through. Since the veins contain dark blood, this means that the skin here appears darker. There is no perfect way to get rid of the circles, since they are not really a true medical problem. However, there are some general pointers. The first, and most important step, is to protect the skin from sun damage. As the skin ages, it gets even thinner, making the circles worse. Wearing sun screen and avoiding being in direct sunlight for long periods of time can prevent accelerated aging of the skin and keep the circles from getting worse over time. Second, you should make certain that you don't have any medical conditions which cause swelling under and around the eyes, as this will make the dark circles appear worse. The most common condition in this category is nasal allergies. Please see your doctor, especially if you have congestion, sneezing, cough, or other symptoms of allergies. Effective treatment of these allergy symptoms can often have a pronounced effect on the way the dark circles appear.
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