Why do I have undereye circles?

Often undereye circles have nothing to do with getting enough sleep. Here's how to get rid of them.

Why do I have undereye circles?
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Dark circles may indicate an allergy to certain foods or airborne substances. Most researchers think dark circles result from chronically rubbing your eyes in response to allergic itchiness. Your hands break small blood vessels, which creates the dark color.

If you have a history of respiratory allergies, your dark circles are likely triggered by airborne allergens. If you don't have this history, ask yourself some questions: Are the circles worse in the spring or summer pollen season? Do they appear in the winter, when molds and yeasts tend to be prominent? Do they emerge after you clean your house and stir up dust? Are they more prominent after you play with your pets? If you answer yes to any of these questions, you probably do have a respiratory allergy.

Avoid the suspected allergen (pollen, molds, yeasts, dust, or pet dander) as much as possible and stop rubbing your eyes. (The hue will return to normal when you stop rubbing your eyes.)

If respiratory allergies don't seem to be your problem, you may have an allergy or sensitivity to a common food like milk, corn, wheat, sugar, eggs, chocolate, peanuts, or citrus fruits. To identify an offender, banish all forms of these foods from your diet for 10 to 14 days. Then reintroduce them one at a time every four to five days, noting whether you rub your eyes and if the circles reappear.

If you don't have allergies, random rubbing of your eyes could cause dark circles if you have especially permeable blood vessels, which is likely if your body tends to bruise with little trauma. You can easily treat this condition by taking 150 to 300 mg of proanthocyanidins (antioxidants from grape seed or pine bark) each day and 100 mg of the herb horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum). After six months, cut the doses in half. If your circles don't return, stay at these lower doses. If they do, switch back to the higher doses You will probably need to take these supplements indefinitely.