Those Dark Circles Under Your Eyes: The Value of Vitamin K

October 31st, 2009 by Tonya Zavasta

Dark Eye CircleDear Tonya…
All my life I’ve had nasty, dark circles around my eyes. And now, some fine lines that crinkle like crows’ feet whenever I laugh or smile. It’s hard to conceal them using makeup, since I have uneven skin tone and it all looks fake. This makes it very hard for me to look attractive. It hurts, and some days I dare not look at myself in the mirror.

What Causes those Dark Circles?

This is one the most common beauty questions I’m asked about. There are many causes for this condition, but most have in common the issue of improper nutrient absorption. Dark or gray circles under the eyes can result from allergies, dehydration, Vitamin B12 or K deficiencies, anemia, and even the aging process in general. Sometimes the fat cells that create the padding under our eyes diminish as we age or after we lose weight, lending a dark, hollow look to the under-eye area as blood vessels become more visible.

Poor Circulation, Carbon Deposits, Insufficient Sleep

If circulation is poor, blood vessels and weakened capillaries show up more easily in the eye area. This too tends to give a purplish discoloration—which is actually a form of bruising. Dark circles are sometimes actually carbon deposits, resulting from the body’s inability to digest protein completely—often the consequence of a lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Even insufficient sleep will contribute to dark eye circles because it stresses the adrenal glands, which impairs vitamin B6 absorption, in turn further stressing the adrenals. An already compromised nutrient absorption brings extra stress to your body.

There are some causes and aggravating factors which are hard or almost impossible to treat, even hard to identify or distinguish. People with darker complexions sometimes have even more problems with dark circles, due to the extra melanin in their skin. Heredity plays a role. Sometimes, as is often the case in the nutritional and medical sciences, we simply can’t identify a cause at all.

Swollen Blood Vessels

But lets not get overwhelmed and discouraged! Generally speaking, swollen blood vessels are the culprit. These vessels may swell for varied reasons, among them allergies, sleeplessness, dehydration, or injury. Where allergy is the issue, your choices are: Treat the allergy, or avoid the allergen. Sleep. Drink plenty of water. Give your body the time it needs to heal.

Go for Raw Foods

Shopping BasketFirst and foremost, a raw foods diet with lots of vegetable juicing for enhanced hydration and nutrient absorption is highly recommended. Be sure to include foods high in antioxidants, which help heal and repair cell damage, and Vitamin K, which aids in blood coagulation and circulation. Foods that are appropriate for this include strawberries, broccoli, cabbage, spinach and carrots. Dark, leafy greens are beneficial as well.

Vitamin K to the Rescue

Vitamin K, also called phytonadione, has been found to benefit the under-eye area when used topically. Researchers believe that the dark circles, which resemble bruises from blood leaking out under the fine skin, are helped by Vitamin K’s blood-clotting effects.

Therefore, you want to add a little Vitamin K to your facial cream and apply nightly. This will help to strengthen capillary walls and minimize the appearance of tiny blood vessels in the delicate under-eye area. Vitamin K aids with strengthening weak capillaries and with blood coagulation. How quickly you see improvement will depend upon many things, such as your skin type, pH balance and heredity. But with persistence and a balanced raw food diet, you should definitely see improvements.

Consider Castor Oil

Castor oil is known for its ability to penetrate deep into the skin, leaving it looking supple and fresh. It works by attracting moisture to the skin and retaining it there. Rub in a small amount of castor oil around your eyes before bed. It will be absorbed by morning and will help protect from eye bags and dark circles. Since you will be applying it in this sensitive area, be sure you are using a certified organic castor oil.

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