Dark circles under the eyes

By naturopath Margaret Jasinska

Have you ever wondered what causes dark circles under the eyes? It’s a common question we receive. Several things may contribute to this condition, and there’s usually something you can do to reduce the intensity.

No matter the causes, if you have dark circles under your eyes, they will be worse when you are tired or sleep deprived. So trying to get enough rest and sleep is the first strategy. Alcohol and cigarettes are known to also make the condition worse.

There is a genetic component to dark circles. They can run in families, and some cultures are more prone than others.

The skin under your eyes is thin and delicate, therefore blood vessels underneath can appear more prominent, hence creating a dark hue. As you age, collagen, elastin and fat levels in your face decline, and this can make darkness under your eyes more prominent. You can reduce the speed at which this happens by ensuring you have a healthy diet with abundant fresh vegetables, raw vegetable juices and a sufficient level of antioxidants like selenium, vitamin C, zinc, silica, MSM and biotin which are building blocks of collagen and are all found in Collagen Food powder.

The following factors can promote dark undereye circles

Liver dysfunction

This can range from general sluggishness to fatty liver. Our patients regularly comment that the skin under their eyes looks clearer and brighter after they’ve worked on improving liver health.

Poor kidney function

Kidneys do not necessarily have to have any major problem to cause dark circles. It is normal for kidney function to decline as we age. Diabetes, high blood pressure, infections and autoimmune disease are the most common causes of kidney injury. Kidney stones are also incredibly common. Make sure you drink plenty of water each day, so that your urine is a faint yellow colour.


This is especially common with wheat or dairy allergies. It is best to work out what you are allergic to and eliminate it as much as possible. Children often get very dark circles under their eyes due to allergy or food sensitivity. Removing the offending food can bring a dramatic improvement.

Sinus infections

Chronic sinusitis increases inflammation and swelling in the area and can make dark circles worse. Most of your immune system resides in your gut, therefore we always work on improving gut health in patients with chronic sinusitis.

Long term stress and insufficient sleep

Stress can make you become exhausted, regardless of the amount of sleep you have. It is important to find relaxing ways to unwind and destress. It is also critical to recognise the signals of increasing anxiety and tension, and address them before they become overwhelming. Magnesium helps to relieve the symptoms of stress and also improves sleep quality. Insufficient sleep, or poor sleep quality will aggravate almost any health problem you suffer from. For more information about sleeping problems make sure you read Dr Cabot’s book “Tired of not Sleeping”.