What Causes Dark Under Eye Shadows (Zombie Eyes)?


If you can honestly say you never wake up with dark puffy shadows under your eyes that make it appear as though you were out partying all night (even when you weren’t), consider yourself very fortunate.  The rest of us have this bothersome issue to deal with from time to time, some more than others.  Those big dark shadows (periorbital circles) are hard to hide and can make us look unhealthy or worse yet, they can make us look much older than we are.

Why Do I Have Dark Shadows Under My Eyes?

Periobital dark circles occur because the skin under our eyes is thinner than anywhere else on our bodies.  Blood passing through veins is much more visible in areas where the skin is very thin, causing it to have a dark appearance.  If you leave the house with those dark circles under your eyes, people are likely to assume you are recovering from a late night.  While this may or may not be the case, there are several other common reasons you may suffer from this frustrating issue.

Lack of Sleep –  Fatigue can cause paleness of the skin, which in turn causes blood passing through veins just beneath the skin to be more visible and appear darker.

Lifestyle –  Excessive smoking is thought to be a common cause of dark under eye circles.  Also, people who drink too much coffee or use certain drugs are more likely to experience this issue, mainly because they have difficulty getting enough quality sleep.

Allergies –  You may notice more prominent dark circles under your eyes if you are suffering from a cold or allergies.  This is partly because of difficulty sleeping when you don’t feel well.  Compounding the issue is the fact that nasal congestion/ swelling dilates the blood vessels around your eyes, causing them to be much more visible than under normal circumstances.

Age –  In addition to our skin becoming thinner and more translucent as we age, it also contains less Collagen.  This combination makes the appearance of under eye shadows much more prominent.

Heredity –  If your parents have many of the traits common in people that suffer from periobital dark circles, so may you.  The issue can start during childhood and progress with age.

Crying –  Crying and/ or rubbing your eyes can lead to swelling and dilation of the blood vessels, causing an increased appearance of dark circles.

Diet –  A diet lacking a proper balance of nutrients can increase the appearance of dark under eye shadows in several ways.  Proper nutrition affects the health and color of our skin.  A healthy diet increases the likelihood of our skin getting sufficient, healthy levels of oxygen and nutrients.  All of this is important because blood flowing beneath the skin will be much more visible when that skin is pale and anemic looking.

How Do I Get Rid of Dark Under Eye Shadows?

The best treatment for dark under eye circles ultimately depends on their cause.  The best treatment for one situation may not necessarily be effective for another.  For example, if the primary cause is lack of sleep, the answer is simple … make an effort to get more sleep.  But don’t mistake more hours for more sleep.  In some cases, lack of sleep is not related to what time you go to bed.  For example, even if you allow ample time for sleep you may not be getting quality sleep due to drinking too many caffeinated beverages, etc.

If the skin under your eyes is becoming thinner due to age or some other factor, consider trying a skincare product that boosts collagen production.  Other options include concealers and topical products specifically designed to temporarily diminish the visibility of dark under eye shadows.

For more advice or for information on products that can help improve the appearance of dark under eye circles, visit us online at www.hansonskincare.com or give us a call at (800)771-2215.