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What are under eye dark circles


Many people suffer with dark circles under the eyes, though few people understand what they are or what causes them. There are many things can cause the dark eye circle to form. One of the major causes is capillaries that leak blood out into the surrounding skin. Because capillaries are so tiny, it can sometimes be hard for blood to flow through them the way that they do in other blood vessels.

When blood cells try to move through the capillaries, occasionally the blood spills out, and the body then begins to break down its components, which results in the bluish-black eye circles that form that are so visible through the thin under-eye skin. In many ways, dark circles under eyes are similar in appearance to bruises. Though both bruises and dark circles are formed in the same way, dark circles do not occur as a result of exterior injury to the blood vessels. Besides leaking blood vessels, there are other factors in the development of dark under eye circles.

People that experience allergies to certain foods, or who have trouble digesting dairy products, may be more prone to developing dark circles under the eyes. Certain diseases contribute to this condition as well. These conditions include cardiovascular conditions, kidney malfunction or disease, and chemical toxicity. Frequently, one of the culprits behind the proliferation of dark circles around eyes is aging.

When people age, they naturally experience a thinning of the skin on various areas of the body. One of the areas that they experience this phenomenon is in the eye area. As a result of this skin thinning, the face overall looks less fresh and full and may have a tired look. The thinned areas of skin under the eye also reveal more of the dark circles than may have been visible when the patient was younger.

While aging is a major factor in these dark circles, some people also have a genetic predisposition to develop them, and may have them even when they are very young. Typically people who have family members with dark under eye circles will experience them as well.


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Simon Ourian, M.D.