How to Get Rid of Dark Circles

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"You look tired." It's probably my least favorite thing to hear. Regardless of whether the comment is coming from a place of concern, in my mind I always translate it to mean I look hideous. Chalk it up to being a night owl, but I never look truly awake until around noon. I blame the puffy, blue-tinged circles that seem to make my eyes recede an inch into my head. And during winter, my sallow, dry complexion makes my dark circles all the more obvious.

Whether you're perpetually sleep-deprived, genetically "gifted" with them, or spend your nights watching cryfest marathons, we've all had to deal with puffy, dark under eye circles. In fact, when we asked our Total Beauty Facebook followers what beauty question they want answered, "What can I do about my dark circles?" was the No. 1 reply. Identifying dark circles under your eyes is easy -- you see them staring back at you in all their purple, puffy glory every morning. But finding the right combination of treatments to fix this beauty woe is much less transparent.

Dermatologist Debra Jaliman, author of "Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist," says that dark circles affect people of all ages. "Dark under eye circles can make even young people look old and tired," says Dr. Jaliman.

Why the Raccoon Eyes?
Those with perpetual under eye circles probably inherited them from their parents (thanks, mom and dad). Because the skin underneath the eye is so thin, it's transparent enough for the underlying blood vessels to show through.

It can also be caused by excess melanin (pigment) production in the area, which is hereditary. Age is another factor that contributes to dark circles. Over time, under-eye pads thin, creating a hollow, which casts a shadow under the eyes. "Many women have dark circles because the eyelid skin is so thin to begin with and it thins even more as we age," says Dr. Jaliman. She also notes that environmental factors (hello, cold, dry weather) and daily habits can contribute to that pair of bags your face is lugging around.

Wanna know what you can do about your extra baggage? We consulted Jaliman to find out how you can minimize your dark circles -- by altering your lifestyle and your makeup application.

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