Here's Why Proper Circulation Is Key To Your Under-Eyes Looking Their Best

If you're haunted by dark circles and bags under your eyes every time you look in the mirror, it can be easy to get frustrated. Despite using eye cream and staying hydrated, your under-eyes might still look lackluster — and there could be reasons for that other than your sleep and skincare routines. Pigmentation, poor circulation, and collagen degradation can all be culprits.

In particular, poor circulation in the under-eye area can lead to fluid build-up, eventually causing that dreaded puffiness. If you experience chronic swelling, AARP notes that you may even also experience discoloration under your eyes from your blood leaking into this area of your skin. The swelling is even more accentuated by the structural changes that your face goes through as you age. "Not only do our eyes hollow out more, but the fat pad that sits around the eye and cushions it pushes out," dermatologist Dr. Rachel Nazarian told AARP. "That puffiness highlights the hollowness that sits directly below it."

If you aren't interested in solutions that may require a doctor's visit, such as fillers, there are still other ways you can reduce the appearance of your dark under-eye circles — especially if poor circulation is to blame. As it turns out, you might already have the tools you need in your kitchen.

At-home remedies for under-eye circles

If you believe that poor circulation is worsening your under-eye circles, you may want to head to your kitchen. One option you have is to rummage through your refrigerator for a cold cucumber. Cut off two slices and place them over your eyes — per Cleveland Clinic, the water and vitamin C content of the cucumbers can help reduce swelling and improve circulation in the area.

Another option you can try is caffeinated tea. According to Cleveland Clinic, the combined caffeine and antioxidants of the tea applied to your skin can also help circulation in that area. No need to brew the tea — simply run two bags under cold water and place them under your eyes.

For a more hands-on approach, you might want to consider a massage. Healthline notes that some people believe that lymph node drainage can help alleviate under-eye bags. "Using your hands, a ceramic spoon, a gua sha tool, or a jade roller, you can loosen any fluid buildup manually to help with lymphatic drainage," board-certified dermatologist Dr. Anar Mikailov told MindBodyGreen. "It works by manually moving the fluid toward your lymph nodes and improving circulation." As the fluid buildup dissipates, your eyebags will become less accentuated, leaving the area looking brighter and more refreshed. 

How to improve blood circulation under your eyes

A longer-term way you can improve your circulation and potentially reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles is to increase how much you sleep. "Dark circles can be accentuated by lack of sleep because of the dilated blood vessels, and that is why we need our Z's!" oculoplastic surgeon Maryam Zamani told Insider. By making it a point to get more sleep, you can enhance blood flow to your under-eye area and ensure that it's getting the restorative nutrients it needs to look its best.

If you're looking for more immediate — though also more temporary — results, you might want to try cold compression. This can be done by either placing a cold compress onto your lower eyelids or chilling spoons in your refrigerator; Eyedolatry recommends placing the spoons on the puffy areas and applying a bit of pressure for similar results.

Of course, if you begin to notice that any under-eye discoloration or swelling is getting worse, or if it's specific to one eye, contact your doctor. They may be able to provide you with more insight into a treatment that works best for your specific situation.