There's more than one cause of dark undereye circles. Excess pigmentation or visible blood vessels can both cast a darkness around your eyes. Eye puffiness or hollow eye sockets can also create shadows around the area. No matter how you get your dark circles, they can make you look tired or older than you are. Once you've determined the culprit of your dark circles, you can focus on treatments to help lighten up and brighten your eyes.
Apply sunscreen daily -- rain or shine. Sun exposure can exacerbate dark pigmentation around your eyes.
Apply an eye cream with vitamin C or licorice to help brighten and lighten skin around the eye. Pat the cream on gently with your ring finger, since rubbing can damage delicate eye skin and make discoloration worse.
Pat on a peach-toned concealer with a touch of luminous shimmer. The peach will offset pigmentation circles, and the shimmer will reflect light and make your eyes look brighter.
Visible Blood Vessels
Pat on an eye cream with caffeine and vitamin C as active ingredients. The caffeine helps constrict blood vessels to make them less obvious under the skin. Vitamin C improves collagen production, which plumps skin and helps hide imperfection. Apply the cream gently without rubbing under your eyes. Rubbing can break tiny blood vessels.
Sleep slightly upright with two to three pillows under your head. The blood that normally accumulates around your eyes -- creating dark circles -- will drain from your face more easily.
Eat an ounce of dark chocolate daily and add several servings of foods with omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and walnuts, to your diet every week. Dark chocolate and omega-3 foods can improve blood flow and make undereye blood vessels less noticeable.
Dab a yellow-based concealer over your eye cream. Undereye circles from blood vessels tend to look bluish, so a yellow concealer will help neutralize them.
Pop an antihistamine if your puffiness is a symptom of allergies. Apply eye drops to reduce any accompanying redness or eye irritation.
Drink plenty of water and reduce your sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams or less daily. Taking in too much salt and not enough fluids causes your body to retain water, creating puffiness in your skin. Eight 8-ounce glasses is a general recommendation for water intake, but it varies slightly depending on your size and activity. Clear to pale yellow urine indicates your body is well-hydrated.
Sleep upright on two or three pillows to help drain excess fluid that may cause puffiness. Like blood under your eyes, fluid from allergies or water retention can pool under the eyes, causing a shadow underneath the puffiness.
Apply a cool wet washcloth to your eyes and gently press to shrink puffiness. Pat your skin dry before you apply eye cream or eye makeup.
Swipe on an illuminating, slightly shimmery concealer right in the shadow beneath your eye puffiness. The shimmer reflects light, hiding any lingering shadows.
Like puffy-eye sufferers, those with hollow undereyes should drink plenty of water. Even mild dehydration can cause dry, pale skin and hollows under your eyes.
Apply a rich, humectant eye cream with collagen or hyaluronic acid as an main ingredient. Humectants help draw water and retain moisture in the skin. Collagen and hyaluronic acid plump up skin, making hollows less noticeable.
Apply a shimmery peach eye concealer over the hollow area, concentrating on the inner corners and edges of the hollowness. As with pigmentation and shadows from puffiness, the shimmer reflects light and makes the area look lighter and brighter.
Gently press on the darkness around your eye. If it doesn't go away with pressure, you likely have excess pigmentation. If it turns white, blood vessels could be your culprit.
For persistent undereye darkness, consider talking with your dermatologist. He or she can recommend prescription creams, injections or laser pigmentation removal.
Immediately remove any eye product that causes itching, burning or redness.
Thoroughly discuss any invasive treatments with your dermatologist to familiarize yourself with the risks, healing time and expected results.
Lindsey Robinson Sanchez, from Bessemer, Ala., has written for the "Troy Messenger," "The Alabama Baptist" and "The Gainesville Times," where her work was featured on the AP wire. She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida. She writes style, beauty, fitness, travel and culture.