The Anatomy of Dark Under-Eye Circles (and How to Fix Them)


Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

Dark circles and puffiness are skin ailments so annoying (and common) that I could write an entire memoir about my time spent worrying about them. Whenever I look in the mirror and notice those bluish-purple bags, I can't help but scream Why me? to no one in particular and try to cover them up with every product in my arsenal. (FYI: Here's how one of our editors permanently removed her under-eye bags.)

After a lifetime of this behaviour, I decided to start asking experts instead of whoever can overhear me in my bathroom each morning (sorry, neighbours). I reached out to the pros at Onomie, a company that creates clinically validated skincare formulas to treat, brighten, and protect your under-eyes. Amy Fan, Onomie's general manager, gave a detailed rundown of the issues associated with dark circles.

First, she broke down what they actually are: "There are two types of dark circles. The first is under-eye circles with a bluish tinge, which are actually pools of blood underneath your eyes. The skin right below your eyes is very thin and delicate, and when blood pools, it shows right through." She continues, "The second is under-eye circles with a brown tint. This is usually caused by hyperpigmentation, which is partly genetic and can be exacerbated with sun exposure."

Below, find a guide to every possible cause (and solution) for your under-eye circles, plus check out our tutorial for how to conceal them.

Next up, why the cat-eye trend is winter's most versatile.