We've all been there: it's been a long night and you didn't get to sleep until the early hours.
You hit the sack at around 2am, and wake up to your usual 6:30am alarm. Time to shower, shave and check your face in the mirror.
That's when you see it.
Your gaze is drawn immediately to the under eye region. You recoil in disgust, ready to scream out, “Look at those bags!”
But here's the thing: are they bags or dark circles?
And if you don’t know exactly what they are, how are you going to figure out how to treat them in order to restore your face to its once-rested, youthful state?
Calm down, take a deep, cleansing breath, and pause the screaming. We're here to help you figure out the difference between dark circles versus eye bags - and show you how to remove dark circles under the eyes.
What are dark circles under the eyes?
You don’t have to be a braccoon puppet to have dark circles under your eyes. Dark circles are when the Nasojugal groove, the flat shiny bit of skin extending down and outward from the inner corners of your eyes - which is also known as the tear trough, for those of you needing a simpler way of saying it - appears significantly darker than the skin around it.
The skin there is quite delicate and translucent. It is also full of tiny small blood vessels that are close to the surface, which are the culprits behind the darker tone in most people.
That's why it's best to use a specific product for the under-eye area, such as our under eye cream for men.
Some folks naturally have darker circles than others; that’s mainly due to genetics. People with fair skin and less fat under their eyes can tend to have darker under eye circles, as can people with darker skin who may just have more pigment in that area (causing the dark circles to seem a bit more pronounced).
What are eye bags?
Eye bags are when the orbital fat pad has started to sag its way downward under the eye, creating that baggy look we all hate. This orbital fat herniation can be further aggravated by a natural increased skin laxity and decrease in collagen - both of which comes with age.
Of course, you can blame mum and dad for this one, too, as very prominent eye bags are often caused by genetics, too.
If you’re still struggling to figure out whether you’re dealing with dark circles or eye bags, try this quick pinch test: Gently lift the skin under the eyes and see if the darker coloring goes away.
If it does, you’re probably dealing with bags and swelling versus true under eye circles.
What causes dark circles and eye bags?
If genetics were the only thing causing these two conditions, we wouldn’t be talking about them - because we’re problem solvers, and you can’t change your genes.
For starters lack of sleep is a major aggravator of both dark eye circles and eye bags. Not being well rested is linked to venous congestion - where fluid and blood pool from those little tiny blood vessels - which is why your dark circles look even darker when you’re tired.
This fluid accumulation can also make the under eye area quite puffy, causing the bags to appear even bigger.
Puffiness under the eyes can aggravate either one of these conditions. Puffiness can come from allergies, bad diet, sinus issues, and too much booze. Excess salt in your diet, in particular, is notorious for causing fluid retention and promoting dehydration.
When the body is dehydrated, the brain sends the signal that it better hold on to every drop of water. That’s why your face looks swollen and gross after a long night out with your buddies - eating salty takeaway at four o’clock in the morning.
How to remove dark circles and eye bags
Here are a few suggestions to help remove dark circles under the eyes and reduce puffiness.
First, it should be clear by now that you’ve got to get a good night’s sleep. If puffiness is a problem, try sleeping with an extra pillow or two, which will elevate your head and allow the fluids to drain a bit better.
Staying hydrated and exercising regularly will improve your circulation and force your body to let go of the excess fluid that’s making you puff up.
Of course, we’ve also got products to help. Antioxidants like vitamin C are very good at reducing the appearance of under eye circles.
And what do you know, we just happen to have a vitamin c face serum for making your whole face look more youthful. Our silky, luxurious under eye serum is made with a cooling formula that instantly soothes to reduce puffiness, redness, and the darkness of your under eye area.
It also contains ubiquinone - an enzyme that protects against free radicals - to shield your delicate under eye skin from environmental damage and, as a result, reduce puffiness. Plus, ubiquinone naturally strengthens blood vessels, which helps to avoid blood from pooling - the primary cause of the darkness of those pesky under eye circles.