Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Dark circles under the eyes are a common complaint of both men and women, although they can occasionally be seen in children. As people age, the skin becomes thinner and collagen is lost, sometimes enhancing the appearance of blood vessels beneath the eyes and making the area appear darker. Dark circles under the eyes are not necessarily a sign of tiredness, but stress and fatigue seem to worsen the facial appearance of many people, including their tendency to develop dark circles.
Conditions like fluid imbalance or local swelling that lead to puffy or swollen eyelids can cause shadows that make the area under the eyes appear darker. Trauma (a "black eye") can cause darkening of the entire eye area. Some people notice that dark circles under the eyes tend to run in families, as well.
In most cases, dark circles under the eyes are not a sign of a serious medical condition.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Cosmetic Procedures: Botox, Laser, Peels Before and After Photos
See before and after photos of the latest in nonsurgical cosmetic procedures for the face such as Botox, laser and peel...
Out-of-Control Allergy Symptoms: Treatment Relief in Pictures
Learn 10 signs your allergies are out of control. See these surprising allergy symptoms and find out how to get relief for...
Sinus Infection (Sinusitis) Symptoms & Treatment
Sinus infection (sinusitis) symptoms can include headaches, a sore throat, and toothaches. Chronic sinusitis may be caused by...
Causes of Dark Circles Under the Eyes
An allergy refers to a misguided reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. ...
Asthma in Children
Asthma in children manifests with symptoms such as coughing and wheezing. Rates of asthma in children are increasing. Asthma in...
Dehydration is the excessive loss of body water. There are a number of causes of dehydration including heat exposure, prolonged...
Drug addiction is a chronic disease that causes drug-seeking behavior and drug use despite negative consequences to the user and...
Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that usually afflicts children under 5 years of age. The cancer forms in the adrenal glands,...
Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)
Sinus infection (sinusitis) is caused by allergies, infection, and chemicals or other irritants of sinuses. Signs and symptoms...
Smoking (How to Quit Smoking)
Smoking is an addiction. More than 430,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. from smoking related illnesses. Secondhand smoke or...
Stress occurs when forces from the outside world impinge on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life. However,...
Other Causes of Dark Circles Under the Eyes
- Excessive Rubbing of the Eye Area
- Fluid Retention
- Nasal Congestion
- Sun Exposure
Examples of Medications for Dark Circles Under the Eyes
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Skin Care & Conditions Newsletter