The Complete Guide to Undereye Circles + Puffiness

The Complete Guide to Undereye Circles + Puffiness

Published by Marissa Masterson on Oct 22nd 2021

Under eye Circles and Puffiness are one of the toughest beauty issues to address because there are so many factors which may contribute to this problem area. Darkness, Bags, Puffiness, Crows feet and Dullness are among the complaints I hear from women who are desperate to look bright eyed and bushy tailed. I'm one of those women, and despite knowing all the holistic variables at play, I still struggle! It comes down to lifestyle changes, medical issues and heritage - not products.

Most women want to know, what is the holy grail skin product for eyes. It's my firm belief that there is no such product. Products are a bandaid and do not help us solve the root issue. Yes, products can help assist by improving skin health, but we need to go deeper. Let's take a look at the common issues that cause undesirable undereyes...


Dark circles are often a heredity trait. The skin around our eyes is the most fragile, delicate and thinnest skin on our bodies. The bluish tint of blood vessels can be seen through the skin, more pronounced in some of us. If one of your parents tends to have dark circles, there might be a chance yours are hereditary. 

People of Latin, African, Indian or other indigenous decent, may also see more under eye darkness. These are genetic groups which are more melanin-rich and have a predisposition to darkness due to more pigmented skin.

Adrenal Fatigue

Stress and sleep deprivation can contribute to adrenal fatigue which shows it self with dark circles. Getting more sleep, reducing stress as much as possible and adding adaptogenic foods such as Ashwagandha to your diet can help give relief to your adrenal glands. I personally add ashwagandha and adtapogenic mushrooms to my morning coffee. These adaptogens help the body manage all types of stress so you can feel rejuvenated. 

Check out our article, Natural Measures for your Best Beauty Sleep


When you are dehydrated, your body responds by retaining water, leading to puffiness, and under-eye

bags. The daily recommended amount is half your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 150, you would ideallyy want to drink 75oz of water throughout each day. I personally notice this as a huge factor for my own circles. I could get 8 hours of sleep and wake up with circles if I haven't had enough water.

Thyroid Conditions

Hypothyroidism may cause the appearance of darkened circles under the eyes. The Thyroid is a Master glad which can affect the function of all other hormones. Stressed liver, blood production and energy production can be a result of hypothyroid, all of which may lead to under eye darkness.


Vitamin K deficiency or a lack of antioxidants in the diet could be the cause of dark circles and puffiness. Vitamin K plays a roll in blood clotting and regulating blood calcium levels. Iron deficiency is another common culprit... an iron deficiency may point to anemia, which can be treated with the help of a medical professional. Low iron leads to low supply of oxygenated blood to the eye area skin. 

This is a great excuse to fortify your diet with plentiful dark leafy greens, which are packed with iron and vitamin K1(phylloquinone).  Vitamin K1 is the main type of dietary vitamin K and is found it plants. Dark Greens also contain iron which is vital for hemoglobin production. A steak here or there couldn't hurt either, or at least a good quality iron supplement such as "Blood Builder". I've always had slightly low iron and almost required a blood transfusion when I had my son via cesarian. The first thing I did, despite being mostly plant-based, was order a burger from the hospital cafeteria, lol.

Kidney Issues

Dark circles are considered a sign of kidney weakness in Chinese Medicine. Overworked and exhausted Kidneys coupled with lack of rest could be the culprit. In Chinese Medicine, the kidney network governs our hormonal system and affects the pigment melanin. It's thought that unhealthy and depleted kidneys produce pigment deposits under the skin around the eyes. 

Conditions such as type 2 diabetes can overwork the kidneys. Other things that can stress your kidneys are too much protein, salt, smoking, alcohol, dehydration, pain medication, steroids, long term heartburn drugs, strep throat, too many antibiotics and excess sugar. A well-rounded diet with moderation of the things above is a good way to keep your kidneys healthy.

Low on Electrolyte Balancing Foods

You could benefit from adding more Celery, Asparagus, Banana and Collard Greens to your diet. 

"They balance important electrolytes such as potassium—it controls fluid levels in the body to lessen the puffiness around your eyes, which exacerbates the dark circles—while adding healthy fiber and essential beauty nutrients that help alleviate this specific issue," - Kimberly Snyder

Poor Circulation

If we have poor circulation, capillaries around our eyes, just below the surface of that thin skin may contain oxygen-depleted blood. Healthy oxygenated blood vessels will appear red, but without healthy circulation will turn bluish as the blood becomes spent. Those vessels create the appearance of dark circles. This can also lead to leaky capillaries which prompts our enzymes to start the decomposition of hemoglobin, discoloring the skin surrounding the capillaries with it's bluish hue.


Allergies can cause itchy eyes and sinus congestion, leading to irritation that causes discoloration and puffiness. If your eyes are constantly puffy or irritated, it might be worth looking into what allergies you could have, whether seasonal or environmental.


As we get older, our skin loses collagen, fatty tissue and becomes thinner and more translucent. Because our skin is already so thin around the eyes, we may notice darker circles as we age. Skin also tends to get dryer and more crepey which doesn't help with the appearance of plumpness or suppleness.


Alcohol distrupts your normal sleep rhythms and can make you restless throughout the night. Poor quality sleep often leads to dark circles under your eyes. Alcohol also dilates blood vessels, making them appear more pronounced and even leads to broke capillaries. As mentioned earlier, those broken capillaries can cause a bluish hue in the skin.

Alcohol also contributes to poor circulation, water retention, dehydration, vitamin & mineral depletion, and negatively affects overall health— and that of course includes our appearance


Cigarettes make your skin lackluster and dull - the smoke contains carbon monoxide which deprives your skin of oxygen. The nicotine actually restricts blood vessels, restricting blood flow and in turn, reducing ocygen and nutrients to skin cells. Smoking also dispatches free radicals into your body, creating damage to your cells and breaking down the collagen & elastin we need to keep skin appearing youthful. The chemical called acetaldehyde in cigarette smoke actually breaks down the connective tissue that keeps skin from sagging. No wonder smoking causes a haggard appearance and under eye issues.

Sleeping on your face

I'm guilty of this sometimes, sleeping hard with my face mashed into the pillow. Propping your face up and away from the pillow or sleeping on your back keeps fluids from pooling in your face and causing puffiness. My esthetician friend Shannon of Glow Skin Care told me about this amazing beauty pillow which I'm adding to my Christmas list. 

Other Positive Measures for Bright and Puff-free Eyes

Vitamin C 

Vitamin C is a powerhouse for brightening the skin, including our eye area. I prefer to add vitamin C to my diet rather than opting for the fad of vitamin C serums(which by the way, need to be super potent to have any effect). Incorporate high Vitamin C foods like berries, citrus, pineapple, peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, kale, kiwi and papayas.

Lymphatic Drainage or Lymphatic Support

Movement is my preferred method to support my lymphatic system(the body's detoxification system). Some good old cardiovascular movement each day will not only keep your skin glowing and increase oxygenated blood to your cells, but also keep lymph moving.

Manual Lymphatic Stimulation with a Crystal Roller or Gua Sha Tool and the correct technique can help to gently move fluids, toxins and lymph out & away to the lymph nodes for elimination. Facial Cupping is also a wonderful way to make space between tissues and muscles for optimal flow of fluids.


Lymphagogues, or herbs that promote lymph flow might be an option for you if you don't have any contraindications. I like to apply a blend of lymphagogue herbs topically to key lymph nodes to support healthy flow of lymph. Topical products like our Flow & Glow Liniment Roll-on or our Cucumber Matcha Eye Roller contain herbs like goldenseal and cleavers which support this system, as well as gentle lymph stimulating essential oils. It's important to only use these if you are feeling well and do not have any contraindications such as outlined here.

Topical Support

In my professional opinion, you just can't solve your under eye problems with topical products alone. It's important to identify your pain point from the issues listed above so you can solve the root of the problem. That being said, you can get your skin as healthy as possible so that it looks and feels amazing and bounce back from the root issue. We recommend using only very light non-comedogenic oils and ingredients on the fragile eye area, which is prone to clogging.

These are my favorite products for healthy eye area. Click to learn more about them:

Bonus! Brow Lift Video

Wilder North cannot be held responsible for any actions made, implied or expressed by anyone as a result of this guidance.

The above statements are for educational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are in no way intended to heal, prevent or treat any illness. Please consult your doctor if you are seeking medical advice.

The above content is the result of my own knowledge and research gleamed from the following resources, to whom we have no association:


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