7 Shocking Things It Means If You Have Dark Circles Under Your Eyes

Waking up with dark circles under your eyes isn't, for most people at least, the highlight of your day, but applying a bit of coverup or other makeup can oftentimes minimize their appearance. You might recognize that the dark circles under your eyes tend to pop a bit more when you haven't gotten enough sleep, but there are also some shocking things it means about your health if you have dark circles under your eyes that go beyond getting too little or too much sleep at night.

If you have dark circles underneath your eyes, their appearance can potentially give you some hints about your health. Generally speaking, dark circles under someone's eyes don't necessarily mean that there's anything serious about which you need to be concerned — they just can give you information that you otherwise might not have — but there are a few diagnoses and other conditions related to dark under-eye circles that are a bit more concerning. Of course, just because you've noticed that the dark circles under your eyes are more prevalent lately doesn't mean that you definitely have a potentially serious diagnosis and that's important to remember, but if you're concerned about your under-eye circles and have additional symptoms that might match some of these conditions, raising your concerns with your doctor or dermatologist might help alleviate some of your fears and help you address the problem sooner.

From time spent in the sun to workplace side effects, liquids intake, and more, there are a number of different things that your under-eye circles could be telling you about your health that go beyond fatigue and exhaustion and it could be useful to know more about them.

1You're Dealing With Eye Strain

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Eye strain isn't an uncommon thing, particularly as people spend more and more time looking at screens. Healthline reported that experiencing eye strain can actually result in blood vessels near your eyes bulging a bit, causing a darker coloring under your eyes.

2It's Just Your Genes

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If you look in the mirror and notice that you seem to have darker circles underneath your eyes, it could actually be something that has nothing to do with your behaviors or even a particular health condition — it might just be your genetic makeup. Today I Found Out noted that people who have thinner skin underneath their eyes due to their genetic makeup are more likely to have darker under-eye circles because their blood vessels show through a bit more.

3You've Gotten Too Much Sun

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This doesn't have anything to do with getting a sunburn, but if you spend a lot of time out in sun, you might notice that your under-eye circles are darker. The aforementioned article from Healthline noted that getting a lot of sunshine can encourage your skin to produce more melanin, which, in turn, can make the skin beneath your eyes appear darker.

4You Have Hay Fever

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Seasonal allergies are no joke, but you might not have realized that they can affect the appearance of the skin below your eyes. Mayo Clinic noted that allergies and hay fever are both potential causes of darker under-eye circles. Chatting with your doctor about your concerns, whether about your allergy symptoms or under-eye circles specifically, can help you formulate a plan for feeling much better as soon as possible.

5You're Dehydrated

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If you're not getting enough fluids in your diet, that too could exacerbate the dark circles under your eyes. In an interview with StyleCaster, Dr. S. Manjula Jegasothy, an aesthetic dermatologist, said that dehydration causes the skin under your eyes to look thinner (rather than plumped), but that upping your intake of fluids can help counteract that and hydrate your skin, softening the appearance of dark circles.

6You Have A Condition That Causes You To Retain Water

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Certain chronic conditions can cause you to retain water, which can also potentially impact how the skin under your eyes looks. Reader's Digest reported that some heart, kidney, and thyroid issues can cause water retention, which encourages blood to gather under the eyes, making under-eye circles appear darker. In an interview with Reader's Digest for the same article, Dr. Mahmoud Khattab, MD, said that hormone changes and certain medications can also cause fluid retention.

7You Have A Form Of Dermatitis

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There are several forms of dermatitis that can also impact the appearance of the circles under your eyes. Eczema and contact dermatitis can both cause the circles under your eyes to be darker, as the previously-mentioned article from Mayo Clinic noted.

Though your under-eye circles usually aren't anything about which you need to be overly concerned, having an idea of what your eyes might be telling you — and talking to your doctor to determine what the true cause might be — is pretty important.