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Keeping your skin supple and clear goes a long way toward helping you look your fresh and healthy best, but dark under-eye circles can cast a shadow on even the brightest smile. Aside from serious treatments such as laser bleaching or injecting fat under the skin, there's not a lot you can do to permanently erase them. Fortunately, there are certain things you can do both nutritionally and topically to keep them from dimming your light.

What Causes Under-Eye Circles

According to Columbia University's advice site Go Ask Alice, the skin just beneath your eyes is among the thinnest on your body, which makes veins and fluids in the skin more clearly visible. Under-eye dark circles are basically caused by four things: aging, allergies, heredity and sleep.

When you age, your skin not only loses elasticity, it becomes thinner. This may make the veins and fluids beneath your skin even easier to see than when you were younger. Allergies cause nasal congestion, which makes the veins that flow into your nose dilate, or open wider, making the blood in them more visible.

Heredity dictates how thin the skin under your eyes is and, therefore, how visible the veins and fluids in that area are. Sleeping causes dark circles, because gravity encourages fluid to settle beneath your eyes. No amount of supplements for under-eye bags will correct your genes, but you can try sleeping on two pillows to raise your head and keep fluids from pooling under your eyes.

Most Effective Topical Treatments

Because the dark circles under your eyes are caused by the veins and fluids beneath your skin, it really isn't possible to make them completely vanish. According to Go Ask Alice!, one way to lessen their appearance is to try a topical cream containing both vitamin K and retinol. Vitamin K is known to shrink blood vessels, while retinol supports the collagen that keeps your skin supple and full.

Vitamin E used as a topical cream may also help support skin health, as does vitamin C. Grape seed extract for dark circles under the eyes is popular, but there's no evidence that these cures work better than anything else. Other topical treatments include cool compresses, dampened chamomile tea bags or cucumbers placed over your closed eyes for 10 to 15 minutes to reduce swelling.

Best Vitamin For Under-Eye Circles

While there are no magical elixirs or tablets for dark circles under eyes, there are nutritional steps you can take to help lessen their appearance. Staying hydrated is important, and so is avoiding alcohol. Being dehydrated can cause skin to sag, while alcohol can cause you to retain fluids, making your eye area puffy.

Naturopathic doctor, Natasha Turner, writing for Chatelaine, suggests taking extra vitamin K, which encourages healthy circulation. Vitamin B12 and iron are also good, because they both support your red blood cells in carrying oxygen to every part of your body.

Vitamin K, which can be found in leafy green vegetables, is also recommended by Today. Almonds are high in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant which can help your cells keep from breaking down due to stress and exposure to environmental toxins. None of these vitamins will remove dark circles, but the healthier you are, the healthier you'll look.