At the risk of stating the obvious, the importance of sleep when it comes to dark circles is worth repeating. Not getting a solid night’s slumber prevents the body from eliminating excess fluid, which then gathers in the tissue under the eyes. This results in a dull, pale complexion as the blood is most visible in the transparent skin underneath our eyes, resulting in those discoloured rings.
Those late nights and early mornings might not be the only cause to blame for your dark circles. Water consumption is vital to keeping the skin looking plump and youthful. Dehydration can increase the fragility of the skin, which leads to the blood vessels under the eye becoming more pronounced.
As cliché as it might sound, when it comes down to your skin, you are what you eat. Some of the foods we regularly consume can induce inflammation and fluid retention. Sodium is the prime offender as excess salt can result in the body retaining water due to an imbalance of salt concentration. This is accompanied by swelling under the eyes and the formation of dark circles.
During allergy season, your eyes can often cop a beating. Congestion in the sinuses enlarges the blood vessels and thus causes a darkening of the area. As therapeutic it might be, any condition which causes rubbing of the eyes or scratching of the skin underneath can result in broken capillaries, rendering the area looking darker and bruised. Moral of the story: don’t rub your eyes!
It goes without saying that stress affects our bodies in a multitude of ways. When you're experiencing stress for prolonged periods of time excess blood is directed to your main organs. Stress can cause the capillaries around the eyes to spill blood as blood thins out under the skin and manifests as a dark purple hue.
Dark circles can be indicative of an ostensible absence of iron. Sufficient iron is required to manufacture hemoglobin, the protein which distributes oxygen within the bloodstream. Such deficiencies can result in inadequate oxygenation of the tissue and thus causing the skin to appear dark or bruised.
If you're already getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, and steering clear of salty foods, it's likely that those unwanted dark rings could be engrained in your DNA. Under eye circles can also be attributed to darker skin pigmentation, meaning that individuals with darker skin tones are more likely to develop dark circles due to the higher level of melanin in their skin.