Health & Wellness

What Deficiency Causes Dark Circles? Precautions Treatments, And Home Remedies

Are dark circles always a sign of sleep deprivation?

Written by Anshita Singh

On May 10, 2023 – 14 minutes read

Dark Circles Causes, Treatments, and Home Remedies Featured image

Wonder what deficiency causes dark circles? You might pull off that outfit like a diva and enter a room with all the charm, but while looking at the mirror, dark circles can sometimes dwindle confidence. That feeling can take a toll on your mind. There are many ways to deal with dark circles and generally, I would suggest you accept and have confidence in anything that does not fall under beauty standards. But in the case of dark circles, the most important thing to consider is if there is an underlying health symptom. 

When we think about dark circles, the most common cause that pops into our mind is “the lack of sleep”. However, there is more than one cause for dark circles, and in this blog, we are going to explore all of them. Also, you’ll learn how to deal with dark circles and get rid of them naturally and through treatments. 

But first things first, let’s see if dark circles indicate any sign of illness that we must be aware of:

What Deficiency Causes Dark Circles? Are Dark Circles Under Eyes A Sign Of Illness?

Stress and fatigue are often referred to as the common causes of dark circles. Also, as we age, our skin becomes thinner and the blood vessels start to show up translucently, giving an illusion of darker under eyes. Lack of a good diet is another cause of dark circles as certain deficiency causes dark circles.

What Deficiency Causes Dark Circles? Are Dark Circles Under Eyes A Sign Of Illness?

However, dark circles can take a serious turn on your health, as a symptom of some disease. Yes! Dark circles are considered a symptom of some major diseases that you must be aware of:

1. Kidney Failure 

A kidney is responsible for clearing the toxins from our bodies. When the kidney weakens, it can lead to the accumulation of toxins in our bodies leading to puffiness and dark under the eyes. Also, Kidney failure causes anemia which can result in a pale complexion and dark circles under the eyes.

2. Liver Disease 

Liver impairment is another cause of dark circles, or say if you have dark circles you might need to see a Hepatologist. Patients with Liver edema (1)often experience dark circles. Statistically, around 20% of patients with Liver disease have dark circles. 

3. Irregular Menstruation

In women before raising the question of what deficiency causes dark circles, People who suffer from irregular menstruation might see dark circles under their eyes. This is some scientific talk but let’s try and break it down. Irregular menstruation or dysmenorrhea(2) are caused by blocked qi. Qi is a vital energy that circulates through the body all the time. Lack of blood circulation can lead to dark circles. Uterine bleeding is another cause of dark circles. 

4. Chronic Stomach Disease

An impaired digestive system and poor absorption functions can lead to an inflamed stomach. This can worsen the effect of dark pigment under the eyes. According to Vimec Healthcare System, “People with neurasthenia(3) and visceral diseases are also very likely to appear dark circles under the eyes.” 

The aforementioned are the possible causes of dark circles, but these are in the extremes. Dark circles are not always an indication of illness but it’s always better to be aware of any underlying health issue. 

Let’s now discuss the causes of dark circles:

What Deficiency Causes Dark Circles? Main Causes

Apart from the severe health issues, there are some root causes of dark circles. Let’s see what they are:

1. What Deficiency Causes Dark Circles? Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency is the major cause of dark circles. According to a study, Anaemia is the cause of under-eye shadows in 50% of people with dark circles. Iron deficiency leads to reduced oxygenation and blood flow under the eyes, thus resulting in a dark appearance.

2. Lack Of Sleep 

We all know that dark circles are mainly caused by a lack of sleep. But have you ever wondered why? Well, when we sleep the body does its job and repairs our skin and other tissues. When we do not sleep enough our tissues do not get repaired effectively resulting in dark tissues and visible darkness of blood vessels. 

What Deficiency Causes Dark Circles? Main Causes

3. Genes 

I mean, what can we do about this one? If you have dark circles, there are chances that you might have inherited them. However, the dark circles might get intense as you grow up and slowly disappear. 

4. Aging 

Aging is a factual concept that freaks out a lot of people because of the inevitable effects it has on their skin and health. When you age your skin starts getting thinner and it starts losing collagen. Due to the lack of collagen, the blood vessels under the eyes seem more apparent. This could be the best time to take collagen to improve your skin.

5. What Deficiency Causes Dark Circles? Allergies 

Dark circles are a possible after-effect of allergies. When your body faces an allergy, it produces histamines as a stimulus to harmful pathogens. This may cause your blood vessels to dilate and look more apparent under your eyes. Allergies can also lead to itchiness, puffiness, and redness under your eyes. 

What Deficiency Causes Dark Circles? Major Vitamin Deficiencies To Be Addressed

The major vitamin deficiencies that can be the root cause of dark circles are vitamins E, D, K vitamin, A, and B12. And as mentioned above, iron deficiency is another reason for under-eye shadows. 

Let’s discuss how this vitamin deficiency leads to dark circles in detail: 

1. Vitamin K

Do you know what vitamins they put in skin care products? That’s right! Vitamin K. Deficiency of Vitamin K makes the blood vessels around your eyes weak leading to a darker complexion. So what do you gotta do? Eat leafy vegetables that you avoid all the time. Broccoli, cabbage, fish, meat, and eggs are good sources of Vitamin K.

2. What Deficiency Causes Dark Circles? Vitamin E

Vitamin E is responsible for making your skin radiant. But you cannot apply everything to your skin to make it better. If you wanna go from within and get rid of dark circles, eat foods that are rich in Vitamin E such as germ oil, sunflower oil, peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, broccoli, and you know such vegetables.

3. Vitamin C

How many products have you seen that feature Vitamin C? A lot, right? Vitamin C maintains collagen around your eyes, so it is extremely important that your body has enough Vitamin C to strengthen your blood vessels and makes your eyes and around eyes skin look bright. Good sources of Vitamin C are cauliflower, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, lemon, citrus fruits, etc

4. What Deficiency Causes Dark Circles? Vitamin A

If you’re looking for an anti-aging effect to get rid of your dark circles, it has to be Vitamin A. This vitamin counter wrinkles, boost collagen, and enhance your skin tone and texture. Where can you find Vitamin A? Cod liver oil, butter, papaya, watermelon, apricot, mango, etc are some good sources. 

What Deficiency Causes Dark Circles? What Vitamins Should be Included?

Now you know what deficiency causes dark circles, let’s look at the essential vitamins you should consume in order to deal with dark circles under your eyes. 

1. Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps in good blood circulation under the eyes. You can use under-eye creams that feature vitamin K for treating under eyes shadow. But do not forget a diet rich in Vitamin K. 

Sources of Vitamin K: Green leafy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, strawberries, kiwi, and avocado.

2. Vitamin C

Vitamin C has antioxidant properties which makes it a great ingredient for health and beauty care products. This antioxidant serum boosts collagen and makes the skin around your eyes pumped and tighter. Vitamin C serum can be a good option for treating under the eyes here. But if you don’t use it properly, vitamin C might not work.

Sources of Vitamin C: Grapes, lemon, oranges, kiwis, strawberries, and broccoli. 

3. Vitamin E And A

A combination of Vitamin E and vitamin A is powerful for treating under-eye dark circles. Vitamin E has healing properties and Vitamin A helps to improve skin texture and increase collagen production. 

Sources of Vitamin E: Almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, avocado, and wheat germ oil.

Sources of Vitamin A: carrots, sweet potatoes, liver, kale, spinach, and pumpkin.

More supplements to deal with under eyes shadows: 

  1. Iron: Red meat, poultry, seafood, beans, lentils, tofu, spinach, and fortified cereals.
  2. B12: Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products, as well as fortified breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast.

What Deficiency Causes Dark Circles? Foods That Cause Dark Circles Under The Eyes

Now you know what deficiency causes dark circles, and what meals to have to get rid of it. So, let’s discuss the foods and drinks to avoid so as to deal with under-eye shadows.

1. Caffeine

You’ve got to make a deal, coffee or lighter under your eyes. See we all know the deal about coffee, it keeps us awake. This sleeplessness caused by coffee can disturb your sleep cycle resulting in a darker under-the-eyes shadow. Also, coffee causes dehydration that worsens dark circles. 

2. High Salt

I mean there are more than one reasons to avoid excessive salt. Highly salted food not only spikes blood pressure and increases the risk of heart disease, but it also leads to fluid retention under your eyes and causes puffiness. Also, always check labels on packaged food and try avoiding foods with high salinity. 

3. High Sugar

Heads up, sweet tooths, If you have dark circles, you gotta cut on your sugar. Excessive sugar contributes to dehydration, insulin resistance, and fluid resistance around your eyes. All these are the causes of dark circles. 

What Deficiency Causes Dark Circles? How To Get Rid Of Dark Circles Naturally?

Your skincare regime can be 11 steps long and still not give you the effect you need. Reason? You’re not nourishing your body from within. No matter how much you chase that HD glow from make-up or glass-like glow from that Korean serum; the glow from within comes from two things: Nourishing natural ingredients and confidence. 

So, what are some natural ways you can adopt to get rid of your dark circles? Let’s see 

1. Almond Oil

Almond oil is a great source of Vitamin E. This oil has antioxidant properties and it reduces inflammation, reviving your skin under the eyes and giving it that improved skin tone. 

How to use: Apply almond oil under your eyes and gently massage it into the skin. Let the oil treat your skin overnight. 

2. Cucumber

You must have seen poster models with face packs and cucumber slices in their eyes. Cucumber has some really effective antioxidants along with vitamin C and vitamin K that help you get rid of dark circles. 

How to use: Cut cucumber slices and keep both your eyes closed. Continue the process for 20 minutes by replacing cucumber slices every 3 minutes. 

3. Rose Water

Rose water has calming properties that soothe your under-eyes and revive the skin. The antioxidants in rose water strengthen and regenerates skin cells 

How to use: Soak cotton pads in rose water and place it on your eyelids for 15 minutes. Repeat the process twice daily for a few weeks to see the results. 

4. Tea Bags

Tea leaves in the tea bag have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to constrict blood vessels and make the skin appear lighter in complexion. 

How to use: Soak tea bags ( green tea, chamomile tea, or black tea) in water and refrigerate them overnight. In the morning, apply the tea bags gently on your eyelids and under your eyes. 

5. Tomatoes

Tomato is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. Besides, it has natural bleaching properties that lighten the skin. The antioxidants in tomatoes help in lightening the pigmentation. Vitamins A, B, and C and minerals such as sulfur, potassium, calcium, and iron help in countering dark circles. 

How to use: Extract tomato juice and apply it on your eyelids and around the eyes. Leave it for 20 minutes and rinse. Repeat the process twice a day for a few weeks to see the results. 

Treatments For Dark Circles

Now it seems like you have the answer to the question what deficiency causes dark circles? If you’re tired of DIYing home remedies and having bland diets for lighter under eyes but still don’t see any results, then you might wanna go for cosmetic treatments. 

Fortunately, there are a few common cosmetic treatments that can help you with getting rid of dark circles permanently. Let’s have a look at them:

1. Nonablative Lasers

Nonablative lasers use heat energy to stimulate collagen under your eyes and tighten the skin that is targeted. This treatment improves the skin without damaging the surface of the skin. The heat energy in this treatment reduces the visibility of blood vessels and makes the skin look lighter in complexion. 

The major laser-based treatments under this category are intense pulsed light devices, Q-switched lasers, and pulsed dye lasers.

2. Dermal Fillers 

Dark circles might appear because of skin thinning under the eyes and volume loss. In the treatment of dermal fillers, a natural compound that consists of hyaluronic acid is injected under your eyes preventing blood vessels from appearing and creating lighter complexion under the eyes. 

 However, note that dermal fillers are a temporary solution and the results from this treatment show up to 6 to 9 months only. Also, dark circles that appear from pigment changes might not show effective results from dermal fillers.

Treatments For Dark Circles

3. Fat Transfers 

This is a more expensive alternative to Dermal fillers. In this process, fat from your own body is used to be transferred under your eyes. But why would you pay extra for this alternative? Because transfers are permanent but fillers are temporary. Also, the former looks more natural than the latter. 

4. Ablative Laser Treatment 

In the previous processes, the skin under the eyes encountered filling. In the ablative laser treatment, the skin is removed instead. This process removes the surface layer of the skin. So this means the removal of deteriorated skin tissues and the regeneration of new cells. 

So, if the dark circles are caused by pigmentation, ablative laser treatment might work effectively here. This process also boosts collagen, tightens skin, and reduces wrinkles. 

5. Chemical Peels 

Chemical peels happen in various types. This process deeply exfoliates the targeted skin and makes it look enhanced. Dark circles are often caused by sun exposure and pigmentary disorders. Chemical peels work well on these causes of dark circles. 

However, note that patients often report harmful side effects of this method. As we discussed above, if the cause of dark circles is any severe disease like kidney or liver disease, then chemical peels must not be practiced on the person with the disease. Also, people with abnormal scarring are also advised to ignore this method of treating dark circles.


What Deficiency Causes Dark Circles?

1. What vitamin are you lacking if you have dark circles?

If you have dark circles you might be lacking vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, and vitamin K. 

2. Can low B12 cause dark circles under the eyes?

Yes! Vitamin B12 is important for the production and health of red blood cells. Lack of B12 can cause anemia which can cause the skin under the eye to appear dull and pigmented. 

3. What should I eat to prevent dark circles?

To prevent dark circles, you should eat foods that are rich in iron, vitamins K, C, E, A, and B12.

4. Can blood deficiency cause dark circles?

Yes, Blood deficiency or anemia(4) is a condition where the body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen, which can lead to pale skin and slightly blue under-eyes. 

5. What are the 3 stages of iron deficiency?

The three stages of iron deficiency are Iron depletion (Beginning of iron stores depletion), Iron-deficient erythropoiesis (Continuous iron depletion and lower production of red blood cells), and Iron deficiency anemia (Severe depletion of iron stores and very low levels of red blood cells).

6. Are dark circles related to the liver?

Yes, the Liver disease might be a cause of dark circles. The liver is responsible for detoxifying of blood and toxins from the body. When the liver isn’t working well, it can lead to the accumulation of toxins in the body which can further cause dark circles under the eyes. 

The Final Verdict On What Deficiency Causes Dark Circles?

Dark circles can be irritating and might undermine your confidence. But an even more important aspect to consider about dark circles is that they might be a symptom of some severe diseases like kidney or liver failure. Even though in most cases a lack of sleep and a lack of proper diet are the causes of dark circles, it is important to be aware of any underlying disease. 

In case of less-severe causes like sun exposure, improper diet and lack of vitamins, and lack of sleep; there are a number of ways one can get rid of dark circles. A diet rich in vitamins E, A, K, C, and iron is a must. Foods like broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, citrus fruits, red meat, etc are all good sources of vitamins and minerals needed for good under-eye health. DIY eye masks with natural ingredients are another good way of treating under eyes with dark circles. 

Lastly, you can opt for cosmetic treatments like laser treatments and derma filler can help get rid of dark circles completely — permanently or temporarily. 

  1. National library of medicine.(2005).Edema in liver disease. Available at:
  2. National library of medicine.(2021).Dysmenorrhea. Available at:
  3. National library of medicine.(2019).Neurasthenia: Modern Malady or Historical Relic?. Available at:
  4. National library of medicine.(2020).Anaemia: A disease or symptom. Available at:

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Anshitha sigh

As a seasoned critic, a style icon, and a compassionate relationship advisor, Anshita has carved a distinctive niche in the world of entertainment and personal development.

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