Dark circles under your eyes can be caused by genetic factors, lack of sleep, consuming too much alcohol, nasal congestion and medical issues. Dark circles can make you appear tired or older than you are. Treat dark under-eye circles quickly so you can appear more refreshed and wide awake.
Take a nasal decongestant if your dark circles are allergy-related. A decongestant can help reduce inflammation in the nasal cavity that causes the blood vessels under the eyes to become darkened. If you sneeze, or have a runny nose, itchy eyes or other allergy-like symptoms, this medication can relieve your allergy symptoms and your under-eye circles.
If the area under your eyes is puffy and darkened, this could indicate you are retaining too much sodium. To quickly relieve this problem, flush water through your body to in turn flush the sodium out. Drinking a glass or two of water as soon as you observe the circles improves under-eye circle appearance.
Your under-eye circles appear dark because the blood vessels have dilated and are closer to the skin. To shrink them, apply a cold compress to the area. The blood vessels will react to the cool temperature and shrink. Try sliced, chilled cucumbers; moistened tea bags; a washcloth dipped in cold water or milk; or a gel eye mask. All can be applied to the skin for 10 minutes to generate fast results.
Because dark circles can be from genetic factors and aging, you may not notice immediate improvement in the blood vessels. For this reason, you can also try using makeup to conceal your under-eye circles. Apply a foundation primer and then dot a concealer under the eyes. Remember to dab, don't wipe or rub, the concealer on. Set the concealer with a loose powder for a look that brightens your face and reduces unwanted circles.
Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.