SEP 18, 2016 11:47 AM PDT

Why Cold Remedies Work to Get Rid of Dark Circles

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Some people have the unfortunate luck of dark circles underneath their eyes all the time - regardless of the amount of sleep they get. For other people, the dark circles tend to creep in if they get too tired or didn't get enough rest. What causes these distinctive marks and how can we get rid of them?

At its most basic, dark circles are no more than the color of the blood vessels peeking through the thin layer of skin that's underneath our eyes. The bluish-greenish color that we see is because the skin only lets blue to violet wavelengths pass through.

In some people, their skin produce extra melanin pigment in the skin underneath their eyes. For these people, dark circles are a genetic predisposition that's not likely to resolve with sleep or rest. In others, not having enough sleep or rest causes dilation of the blood vessels, which make these marks more noticeable. Allergies are also notorious for the discoloration of the skin, and for also causing those unattractive eye-bags.

If dilation of the blood vessels worsens the appearance of dark circles, constricting the blood vessels should have the opposite effect. This is why most remedies that involve something cooling, such as cold cumber slices, appear to work. It's not anything special from the cucumber - it's the cold temperature that constricts the veins, which temporarily makes the discoloration less noticeable.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
MAY 14, 2020
Earth & The Environment
NASA's ICESat-2 Mission Reports Changes in Arctic Ice Thickness
MAY 14, 2020
NASA's ICESat-2 Mission Reports Changes in Arctic Ice Thickness
Arctic sea ice is vital to Earth's climate system, and recent decades have seen troubling declines in sea ice due to ...
MAY 17, 2020
Plants & Animals
Male Garter Snakes Trick Others to Improve Own Mating Success
MAY 17, 2020
Male Garter Snakes Trick Others to Improve Own Mating Success
After spending several months in hibernation during the winter, male garter snakes emerge from the underground where the ...
MAY 22, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Mount St. Helens: 40 Years of Recovery
MAY 22, 2020
Mount St. Helens: 40 Years of Recovery
This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption in southwestern Washington. According to ...
MAY 25, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Virgin Orbit Wants to Launch Space Rockets From 747 Jets
MAY 25, 2020
Virgin Orbit Wants to Launch Space Rockets From 747 Jets
Entities from all around the world, be it companies or government space agencies, are continuously innovating in an atte ...
MAY 27, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Unfavorable Weather Delays SpaceX's Historic Crewed American Launch
MAY 27, 2020
Unfavorable Weather Delays SpaceX's Historic Crewed American Launch
After officially receiving the green light from NASA to move forward with the first crewed space launch from American so ...
JUN 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Astrophysicists Find Evidence of Nearby Planet that May Sustain Life
JUN 26, 2020
Astrophysicists Find Evidence of Nearby Planet that May Sustain Life
Researchers have found that a nearby red dwarf star, known as Gliese 887, may host three planets, one of which could sus ...
Loading Comments...