Q. What Causes Dark Circles Under Eyes?
A. Dark circles under eyes can be attributed to several factors and are very common regardless of skin type and ethnicity. The discoloration may be caused by shadowing into a deep trough, increased melanin pigment in the skin, or close proximity to deeper structures such as blue blood vessels, and muscle.
It’s important to note that skin under the eyes is 8 times thinner than skin anywhere on the body being only .5 mm thick. It still has three primary layers – epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous fat. Packed into these thin layers are pigment producing melanocytes, blood vessels, nerves, fat, connective tissue, collagen, elastin, follicles and glands. The normal aging process can be visually amplified in the under eye area. Collagen, elastin and volume degradation, result in crepey, drooping, hollow extra thin skin. Chronic UV exposure also amplifies this change.
Genetic pigment production and storage remains a mystery for early onset dark circles under eyes. Metabolic effects of lack of sleep and smoking can cause chronic irritation and darkening. Allergies, inflammation, and chronic rubbing also leave skin damaged, and discolored. Bone density loss and deep facial fat loss can change the ocular structure giving pronounced eye troughs and deep hollowing casting a shadow effect.