Can Vitamin C Lighten Dark Circles Under Your Eyes?
On a list of most common top facial concerns, dark circles is often the winner. There’s just something about having the rest of your face on point and still being unable to cover the dark circles that strikes a certain nerve.
If you’ve tried every product out there and nothing seems to be making a difference, consider giving vitamin C a shot!
MiamiMD has all of the facts about this potential miracle product, so you can decide whether it is right for you.
What Causes Dark Circles?
A little bit of information can go a long way when it comes to being able to help reduce the significance of your under eye circles.
First of all, dark circles are generally the result of one of two dermatological conditions: either a thinning of the skin in that area that allows the blood vessels (known as periorbital veins) underneath it to be seen more easily, or under eye puffiness that draws more attention to the area.
Either of those conditions can be the result of one of the following issues:
- Sleep deprivation – Humans need at least seven hours of sleep every night, according to the Center for Disease Control. When you don’t get the recommended amount of sleep, your skin (among other things) can definitely take a hit. Fatigue can lead to skin that is worn and pale, which makes dark under eye circles stand out even more. It’s a common misconception that sleep deprivation “causes” under eye circles. It doesn’t, but it does make them far more visible.
- Age – As we age, our skin naturally slows down its production of collagen. This is especially true for the under eye area, which is already naturally thin. In addition to being thin, aging can also cause extra swelling and puffiness in that area. While that process can’t be reversed, it can be slowed down or treated.
- Allergies – One very common issue that leads to dark under eye circles is allergies. This doesn’t pertain just to skin allergies, but allergies overall. When your body experiences an allergic reaction of any type, its natural response is to release histamines as an attempted antidote. Unfortunately, this also can cause significant redness and itching in the eyes, which leads people to want to rub them. The more you rub your eyes, the thinner the under eye skin gets, leading to an increase in the appearance of dark circles.
- Genetics – While the hope is that your dark under eye circles are the result of a treatable dermatological condition, in some cases it comes down to simple genetics. Some people naturally produce less collagen, and others are more genetically prone to issues like hyperpigmentation.
- Anemia – Anemia, or iron deficiency, is the result of a lack of red blood cells. In many cases, this is due to not getting enough iron in the diet. Without enough red blood cells, the body is unable to carry oxygen to all of the areas that need it, resulting not only in dark under eye circles but also fatigue, pale skin, and dizziness.
- Smoking and/or drinking – Both smoking and drinking can be dehydrated, both inside and out. Alcohol can also cause the small capillaries under the eyes to dilate more, adding to the appearance of dark circles. It can also cause you to lose sleep, exacerbating the problem.
Dark Circle Colors
There are two different colors that are commonly seen when it comes to under eye circles — blue and brown.
Blue dark circles occur on a scale between dark blue and more purple in color. Much of the time, bluer dark circles can be related to puffiness or excess fluid in the under eye area, and are often seen in people with more pale skin. They are commonly referred to as vascular dark circles, although they are more likely related to the muscle that is responsible for closing the eyelids.
Brown dark circles are more likely to be the result of pigmentation, which is generally genetic in nature. They may darken with additional sun exposure, and are more commonly seen in olive or darker skinned people. They are known as pigmented type IV dark circles.
The key for distinguishing between the two, in addition to the difference in color, is to look for puffiness. If there is swelling along with the dark circles, they are vascular. If not, they are more likely to be pigmented type IV.
Can Vitamin C Help?
Vitamin C is known as an antioxidant, one that helps to protect the skin from the oxidative damage that free radicals so often cause. Those free radicals are responsible for many different issues that can affect the skin — collagen loss and hyperpigmentation most specifically.
One of its other benefits is that it can work to even and brighten complexion. The main way that it does that is by inhibiting an enzyme known as tyrosine that is often the trigger chemical that tells the body to produce more melanin. Darker pigment can draw attention to areas that you’d rather hide, so being able to reduce the melanin production in skin that is prone to hyperpigmentation can help naturally brighten the appearance of the skin overall.
In addition, vitamin C works to help thicken the skin in the under eye area when applied topically. It does this by being able to stimulate the production of collagen, which is a top factor in making the skin in the under eye area look thin and darker. With more collagen, there is a larger “fat pad” in the area, which is a barrier between the periorbital veins and the skin. In this way, vitamin C can also help all over the face, creating a smoother, more even appearance with fewer visible fine lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin C is often seen as the “holy grail” of skincare products, providing far more benefits in a single product than many other products do combined. Just make sure that you use the right formulatulation and start out slowly so that you can see the best benefit without any sensitivity or irritation.
What Else Can I Do For My Under Eye Circles?
Besides adding vitamin C into your skincare routine, there are other ways that you can keep from doing further damage to the under eye area and promote healing.
While you can’t reverse dark circles, you can minimize other factors surrounding them that ultimately lead to a reduction in the appearance of those circles:
- Be gentle when removing your makeup – It can be tempting to use harsh chemicals and a firm hand when removing your eye makeup at the end of the night. However, the action of rubbing your eyes can lead to a thinning of the skin in the under eye area. Use a gentle formula meant specifically for makeup removal, and rub as little as possible. If your eye makeup is stubborn, hold a cotton ball or pad with makeup remover on your eye for 10 seconds, then gently rub it off.
- Prevent sun exposure – Much like the rest of the face, sun exposure can lead to damage to the skin around the under eye area. With too much sun exposure also comes a risk of hyperpigmentation, worsening dark circles. Always wear sunscreen when you leave the house, and make sure to wear sunglasses to more completely protect your delicate under eye area from harm. This tip is all year round, not only during the summer months.
- Sleep with your head elevated – When you sleep with your head elevated, even slightly, it can help the lymph fluid to drain more easily away from areas it likes to pool, like the under eye area. This is also good for the rest of your face as well, leading to less overall puffiness.
- Try the cold spoon trick – Heat makes things expand, and cold makes them contract. Because part of dark circles is the ability to be able to see the veins under the eyes more easily, helping to shrink them can at least temporarily reduce their appearance. Just put a spoon in the fridge, then hold it to the under eye area for a minute or two before you go out. It can make a serious difference, although it won’t last all night.
In the quest to conquer dark under eye circles, make sure to include vitamin C in your skincare products. It has proven abilities to help fight off the effects of aging and, when combined with other skincare products and lifestyle changes, can make a huge difference.
MiamiMD wants to help you help yourself, and we hope that you include us on your journey to healthier, firmer, more youthful skin.
Looking for a little more oomph than what vitamin C provides alone? Check out MiamiMD’s Intensive Eye Repair Serum to boost collagen production to brighten and nourish those under eye dark circles!