Beauty | Getting to the eye of dark circles

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The eyes of a tired woman staring back at you in the mirror is not the look you want. And a full night’s sleep is often not enough to erase those dark circles.

We are often too quick to attribute a lack of sleep to those striking dark circles under our eyes when there could be another reason at play.

Genetics is often the primary reason. If you inherit fair or thin skin under the eyes, it is more obvious when blood pools there. And this is often because of slower circulation from lack of sleep. This accumulation causes fragile capillaries to stretch and leak.

Age is another big factor. Our skin loses collagen and thins as we age, so veins show more prominently. All of those years exposed to the sun also speeds up this process by breaking down collagen and mottling skin colour.

Seasonal allergies can also be attributed to such dark circles. To determine why your own circles happen, gently stretch the skin under your eyes. If that area becomes darker, the circles are probably due to genetics or aging. If the colour does not change, UV rays or allergies are probably the cause.

If the circles are a result of vascular issues, add extra pillows at night to stop blood from building up under your eyes. Apply a cold compress to your eyes for five minutes in the morning to constrict the blood vessels. Eye creams (with caffeine) also have the same effect.

Eye creams with green tea or grape seed oil help strengthen capillary walls. Other alternatives also include Arnica-based creams which are considered to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Tweaking your diet can have a positive impact too on preventing such circles. Flavanol-rich dark chocolate (an ounce a day) and foods full of omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon, walnuts) may improve blood flow.

If thin skin is an issue, use a collagen-building cream. And if you need a quick fix, apply eye cream and let it dry for a few minutes. Pat on a creamy concealer that matches your skin tone. Top with a layer of loose powder, which helps prevent makeup from caking in creases.