Dark under-eye circles are a common problem plenty of adults face. You might try changing your sleep schedule, adjusting your diet or loading up on over-the-counter beauty products, but the truth is that dark circles under eyes can be genetic.

According to New York City cosmetic dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank, the skin under our eyes is some of the thinnest on our bodies, and darkness and puffiness around the area can be inherited. Increased pigmentation in the area is a possible culprit, but just because you have your DNA to thank for your dark circles, reducing their severity and restoring a refreshed appearance isn’t totally out of your hands.

Three Ways to Lighten Dark Circles Under Eyes

The best way to treat your under-eye circles is to weed out the underlying cause. Even if it’s genetic, there are plenty of home remedies to treat dark circles under eyes. Here are three that we recommend.

Use a Retinoid Cream

Expensive laser treatments and cosmetic procedures are often advertised as the best treatments for under-eye darkness, but you can try some more affordable options to save cash.

If the skin under your eyes is very thin, the application of retinol can improve the appearance. Retinol is a pure molecule found in Vitamin A; retinoids are the primary component of most anti-aging beauty creams and cosmetic products.

As we age, the retinol in our bodies decreases, which contributes to wrinkles and fine lines.

Retinoid creams help stimulate collagen production. Patricia Ceballos, a dermatologist in New Rochelle, New York, says, “Retinoids help rebuild dermal collagen and thereby contribute to vascular support in the area and the recovery of skin volume and firmness.”

Don’t immediately start slathering on the retinol cream, though. For optimal results, doctors say you should develop a schedule that regulates your application and builds up the amount you use over time.

Buy Better Bedding

If you wake up in the morning with dark, puffy bags under your eyes, you may not be sleeping with enough support.

Consider investing in a fluffy pillow that keeps your head slightly elevated while you sleep; this prevents fluid from pooling under the eyes overnight and can reduce the appearance of darkness and puffiness in the morning.

You should also make sure that you frequently wash your bed linens; some people only change their sheets but leave out their comforter and pillowcases, and this can create a buildup of dust mites, dead skin and other allergens that irritate the eyes and leave you with dark pigmentation and puffiness.

If you suspect allergies are the culprit behind your tired appearance, consider buying some hypoallergenic pillows. If you know allergies are to blame, then talk to your doctor about taking an antihistamine like Zyrtec.

Cut Back on Salt

We all know our diets impact our health and appearance in more ways than we even want to acknowledge. A lot of things can happen when you eat too much salt, including fluid retention, bloating and puffiness under the eyes.

Under-eye bags leave us looking worn-out and run-down even after a full night’s sleep.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends adults limit their sodium intake to 1,5000 mg per day or three-quarters of a teaspoon. There are lots of ways to consume less salt; if you find that most of your sodium intake comes from junk food, switch to some healthier protein snacks that will keep you full and help curb cravings.

Other Diet Suggestions to Reduce Dark Circles Under Eyes

If you want to lighten up the dark bags beneath your eyes, cut back on alcohol. Drinking too much causes dehydration, which leads to water retention. Your body holds on to fluids when it’s dehydrated, so you’re more likely to find bags under your eyes and dark circles forming if you don’t drink enough water or have a diet that dries your body out.

dark circles under eyes

Stick to 8 ounces of water eight times per day. This is the baseline amount of water you should consume every day, but you should adjust your intake if you workout and sweat more.

Also, be sure to consume lots of fruits and veggies packed with Vitamin C. Just like our parents tried to tell us, it really does pay to eat your Brussels sprouts!

Dark Circles Under Eyes Aren’t the End of the World

If your under-eye circles are ruining your self-esteem, don’t worry. There are lots of inexpensive concealers and creams you can get at the drug store to reduce their appearance and feel more confident. Primers and concealers with a yellow tint can help cancel out darkness and lighten your under-eye region.

Before you run out and buy everything you can to cover your face, make sure you’re practicing body positivity. It’s not always easy to love the skin we’re in, but our imperfect bodies are ours to love and nurture.

It’s perfectly natural to want to improve little things about our appearance, but when we love our bodies, we can operate from a place of love rather than hate and make better changes that feel like an improvement, not a necessity.


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