For some people, dark circles under the eyes are a source of annoyance. Layering them with concealer every morning can be a time suck, especially when you're still half asleep. Thankfully, there are a few weird things you can do to prevent dark circles before they form. For many people, a few lifestyle tweaks or some new eye cream might be all it takes to brighten those under eye areas for good.
Before diving in, it's helpful to understand how dark circles are formed in the first place. "There are numerous causes for under eye circles, but the biggest culprits are lack of sleep (or fatigue), natural aging, dehydration, sun exposure, or just genetics," as Dr. Sheel Desai Solomon, a board-certified dermatologist in Durham, North Carolina, tells Romper. For many people, some simple lifestyle changes can do a lot to prevent these circles. If they are genetic, though, you may need to try a few extra strategies.
That said, under eye circles are not necessarily a bad thing. Not all skin types or shades are even that affected by them, and not everybody with under eye circles wants to get rid of them. Really, there's a lot to be said for embracing your dark circles, as explained in Bustle, because sometimes you're just too busy living life to get that beauty sleep. But if you'd rather prevent dark circles from forming in the first place, here are a few simple ways to brighten your under eye area.
1. Use A Frozen Spoon
Because dark circles are sometimes caused by puffy eyelids (especially when you're just waking up in the morning), sometimes a little cold can do the trick. "Applying a cold compress in the morning will help reduce swelling and the appearance of dark under eye circles," says Dr. Solomon. "Keep a spoon in the freezer to press over the eyelids or use an ice cube with a soft cloth will do the trick." As far as beauty tips are concerned, this is a pretty simple, low-tech hack.
2. Get Enough Sleep (But Not Too Much)
Although this may sound like a no-brainer, there does appear to be a big connection between sleep and the appearance of dark circles in some individuals. "What surprises some people is even oversleeping could cause dark under eye circles, while sleep deprivation could make your skin pale and dull, thus forming dark tissue under the eyes," says Dr. Solomon. It looks like hitting that sweet spot of just enough sleep is key. With a little trial and error, it's possible to figure out how much sleep you actually need each night, as explained in Romper. Going to sleep 15 minutes earlier each night, and keeping a sleep diary, are a couple ways to figure out the right amount of shut-eye you need.
3. Take Allergy Meds
For some people, seasonal allergies are the cause of under eye circles. "They trigger the release of histamines in the body, which in turn inflame blood vessels and cause swelling," said dermatologist Ranella Hirsch in Health. Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine can help manage the allergy symptoms, and hopefully the circles as well.
4. Practice Sun Safety
Exposure to the sun can also affect the appearance of dark circles. "Protecting your skin from the sun is also essential in preventing dark circles from appearing in the first place," says Dr. Solomon. "Too much sun can cause your skin to produce more melanin, which creates a more colored pigment underneath your eyes as well as the rest of your face." She recommends using a face sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every day, as well as wearing sunglasses.
5. Apply Brightening Cream
Managing your sleep may be the easiest way to prevent under eye circles for plenty of people, but it may not work for everyone. "However, if you’re someone who is genetically predisposed to having dark under eye circles, applying a topical brightening cream daily can help in the prevention," says Dr. Solomon. Check out the best eye creams for dark circles from Elite Daily, including the cult fave Ole Henriksen banana bright eye crème.
6. Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes
Even little habits that you may not even notice can affect the dark areas under eyes. "When you rub your eyes, the skin may become slightly thicker and darker, it is part of the skin’s defense system," said Dr. Shari Lipner, dermatologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, in HuffPost. It can be a tough habit to break, but try to avoid rubbing your eyes excessively.
7. Drink Water
Hey, every beauty or health related article has to mention water at least once. "Dark under eye circles can be a sign of dehydration, leading your skin to appear darker and more hollow, especially near the eye bone area," says Dr. Solomon. She recommends using a hydration calculator to figure out how much water you need every day. The hydration calculator from Hydration For Health can give you a better sense of your water drinking needs.
8. Watch Alcohol Consumption
Throwing back a few drinks at happy hour might deepen dark circles. "Some individuals are extremely sensitive to alcohol and the histamine release [or inflammation] that it can cause," said dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman in Buzzfeed. That inflammation may increase the appearance of dark circles.
9. Get Hyaluronic Acid Gel Injections
For people who are OK with needles, there's another option available. "If you're willing to go the injectable route, a small layer of expertly applied hyaluronic acid gel is all you need to lift the delicate skin up and away from the blood vessels under your eyes," says Dr. Solomon. "Though you'll look a little red and bruised for a day or two, pretty soon your eye area will appear noticeably brighter."
By adjusting your sleep habits, addressing allergies, or even pressing a cold spoon to your eyelids, there are plenty of weird ways to help prevent under eye circles. And if all else fails, you can always embrace your circles or invest in a effective under-eye concealer.