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The dark circles known as dark rings or shadows are formed due to various reasons like ageing, mental or physical stress, dry skin, lack of sleep, sedentary lifestyle, hormonal changes, heredity factors, nutritional deficiencies, etc. According to dermatologists, dehydration and anaemia can also be the cause of dark circles.

The dark circles make people look tired, older, sick, dull and exhausted although it is not a serious skin problem. You can get rid of your dark circles by a regular skin and health care programme to brighten the under-eye darkness.  It takes time to cure and requires great discipline. Do not expect magic to happen overnight.

Nutrition
This area requires special care and therefore, along with external treatment, it is advisable to take various other aspects into consideration in order to establish the cause and bring about the necessary changes. A nutritious diet with adequate Vitamins, like A, C, K and E and iron can help to minimise dark circles. In fact, the deficiency of iron has been found to be a common cause of dark circles. Iron deficiency leads to poor oxygenation of the blood.

A balanced diet is very important, which includes fresh fruits, salads, sprouts, unprocessed cereals, yoghurt, skimmed milk, cottage cheese (paneer), lentils, beans, leafy green vegetables, egg and fish. Have different varieties of fruits.

Fresh fruits prevent dehydration. Drink eight to 10 glasses of water daily. Have the juice of a lemon in a glass of water, first thing in the morning. Fruit juices must be diluted with water. Consult your doctor before making changes in your diet. Also, ask your doctor about vitamin and mineral supplements.

Exercise
Include deep breathing exercises, like Pranayama, in your exercise schedule. This helps to counteract stress and also oxygenates the body. Adequate sleep and relaxation are also important.

After makeup
Include the area around eyes in daily skin care. Extremely gentle movements and a light touch are essential. Use a cleansing gel to remove makeup, using moist cotton wool. Then apply under-eye cream and remove with moist cotton wool after 10 minutes. The cream should not be left on at night. Normal masks should not be applied under the eyes. Very light-textured creams or serums should be used around eyes.

Almond oil
Daily apply pure almond oil sparingly around eyes and massage it lightly on the skin, using only the ring finger, for one minute under each eye. Massage in one direction only. Leave on for 15 minutes and wipe off gently with moist cotton wool.

Sunscreen
Before going out in the sun, apply a sunscreen lotion sparingly under the eyes. Add a drop of water to it before applying, to give a lighter coverage.

Washing
Eye fatigue can be relieved with washing. Splash the eyes with water and it feels good immediately. In fact, contrast washing is good for the eyes. Wash with warm water and follow this with cold water washing. This improves blood circulation to the eyes and relieves congestion.

Cucumber juice
Cucumber juice is a common remedy. It should be applied daily around eyes and washed off with plain water after 15 minutes. Mixing potato juice with cucumber juice in equal quantities helps if there is puffiness along with dark circles. Follow the same procedure. Dark circles can also be treated by mixing cucumber juice with lemon juice in equal quantities. Apply daily and wash off with water after 15 minutes. Tomato juice is also said to lighten skin colour.

Cotton pads
Along with external care and a healthy lifestyle, take time off for relaxation, using eye pads. Take cotton wool and make two thick square pads. They can be soaked in cucumber juice or rose water. Lie down, close your eyes and put the soaked pads on them. Keep them on for about 15 minutes. Used tea bags can also be used as eye pads. Applying a compress of iced water or cold milk directly over closed lids for 15 to 20 minutes also helps.