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by Janet Martin

You've probably heard it all before - from your friend, lover, mother-in-law or even your next-door neighbor. Staying up late at night and stress can cause dark circles under the eyes. However, the truth may surprise you.

While fatigue and burning the midnight candle can contribute to the condition, dark circles under the eyes are often the result of nasal congestion, according to Mayo Clinic dermatologist Dr. Lawrence Gibson.

"You may be surprised to learn that fatigue usually isn't the cause of dark circles. Instead, the most common cause is nasal congestion. When your nose is congested, veins that usually drain from your eyes into your nose become widened (dilated) and darker," Gibson explained.

Eyelid swelling during sleep is another common cause. When you lie down, fluid collects in your lower eyelids because of gravity. As the eyelids swell, this may create the appearance of shadows or dark circles below your eyes.

Other possible causes are chronic skin conditions such as atopic eczema (also called atopic dermatitis), a disease characterized by red, flaky, and itchy skin, and fluid retention due to excessive salt intake, too much smoking, and heart, kidney or liver disease. The condition may also be a sign of dehydration or iron deficiency anemia.

But don't panic! In most cases, the condition is temporary and not a serious medical problem. It tends to run in families so if one of your parents have it, chances are so will you. As blood passes through tiny capillaries close to the surface of the eyes, it becomes more noticeable in fair skinned people, contributing to dark circles.

The problem becomes worse with aging since the skin under the eyes becomes thinner, making the blood vessels or dark circles more visible. If you love the outdoors and spend a lot of time under the sun, you may also develop dark circles below the eyes because the harmful rays of the sun can weaken the skin.

To get rid of those dark circles, here are some tips from Dr. Mark Van Wormer, a board certified diplomat of the American Board of Anti - Aging Medicine:

"Place cotton pads soaked in eye soothing fluid in the refrigerator. On the morning you wake up with puffy eyes or in the evening when you must go out after a long hard day's work but those dark circles are jumping out at you in the mirror, do the following:

* Start by removing all eye makeup. * Lie down with feet up. * Place the cool soaked pads over eyes. * Rest 10 minutes while listening to soft, soothing music.

"Ten minutes later, your puffiness will be gone and you will look rested," he said.

Some people swear by Eyevive, an eye cream for men and women that strengthens tiny vessels around the eyes to reduce the formation of dark circles, fine lines, wrinkles, and puffiness.

This breakthrough formula contains special ingredients enhanced with green tea extract, aloe and Pro-Vitamin B5 to give you a fresher and more vibrant look. For more information, visit

About the Author

Janet Martin is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premier online news magazine.




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