So you were searching for how to get rid of blue under eye circles or blue veins, and maybe you found my original post on this, or my one about purple under-eye circles, and you are wondering if there’s any new developments? Or maybe you were looking for something about how to get rid of the dark circles under your eyes without using makeup?
This post has been a LONG time coming but I am going to discuss how to get rid of blue under eye circles and dark circles and show you how I did it. Because things have changed since I wrote my first or even second post on this topic.
I have learned so much more about this topic than I ever thought I could, and I have found out that blue under-eye circles are part of a broader set of skincare issues. Maybe you’ve heard of them.
Redness in your face. Prone to breakouts for no apparent reason. Abdominal pains that come and go. Fatigue. Feeling the cold more than other people and getting coughs that never. Ever. Let. Go. There’s also evidence now that this same set of symptoms is connected to depression.
My original post still stands, but I was looking at several different causes of blue under-eye circles and I wasn’t seeing the bigger picture. What is causing the causes of blue and purple under eyes? There are two causes, which actually feed into one another and these also cause redness and acne.
Inflammation and stress exhaustion syndrome.
You may have heard of them.
All the things I recommended to do to fix blue under-eye circles are great at minimising them for most people on a daily basis. However, when you stop treating them, they come back within a week or two. You look tired out again. And all those related symptoms never go away, either.
To get rid of blue circles under eyes completely, to permanently get rid of dark circles under your eyes, and to ditch those other symptoms, you need to reduce inflammation. That doesn’t mean taking anti-inflammatories. In fact, ibuprofen and diclofenac are really bad for you if you have underlying inflammation, because your body reacts to them by working harder to be inflamed.
The blue circles and blue veins you can see under your eyes are inflamed blood vessels that are pushing against the thin skin beneath your eyes.
These can both be solved. You need to make major changes to your life. In this article, I will look at inflammation and I’ll write a separate one about stress exhaustion syndrome.
What causes inflammation?
Inflammation is your body’s response to an injury (real or not). It helps to heal injuries and release infection-fighting antibodies. This by itself is not a bad thing (it’s pretty good, actually).
Inflammation is there to protect you from injuries and support your body while it heals. So when does it become a problem?
Inflammation is intended to be a short-term response to a threat. When it lingers, it is called chronic inflammation. Some researchers now believe this to be the root cause of many illnesses, particularly the ones that have become a big deal over the past 30 years. Asthma. Allergies. Even cancer! Acute inflammation has clear signs, redness and swelling somewhere on your body.
Chronic inflammation is internal, you wouldn’t necessarily see outward signs that you would link to an injury. The skin on your face is thinner than elsewhere, and redness on your face, especially red patches, and blue circles under your eyes, are surefire signs of chronic inflammation.
When inflammation goes on for longer than it needed to, it causes “bystander damage” to the surrounding tissues near the site of injury. This means the inflammation starts to damage your body. [reference]
How does inflammation end (aka how can I get rid of these blue circles and other symptoms)?
In the body, inflammation ends when certain biological pathways are activated:
– The production and release of interleukin 10 [reference]
– Upregulation of anti-inflammatory markers such as the interleukin 1 receptor agonist or the soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor (yes, unresolved inflammation causes tumors) [reference].
– When your body produces and releases Transforming Growth Factor beta, which creates new epithelial cells after injury [reference].
– Cleavage of chemokines (a breakdown in specific proteins activated by certain mineral deficiencies)[reference]
– Production of anti-inflammatory specialised proresolving mediators such as resolvins, neuroprotectins and lipoxin (if you struggle to follow directions or read a map then your body might not be producing enough of these [reference]) [reference]
But what does all that mean in plain English?
When your body goes into overdrive trying to fight off outside invaders, you get sick with chronic illnesses. You get tired because your body is putting so much energy into fighting off threats. Eventually, you can get cancer or tumors because the biological defences are so worn down there’s nothing left in reserve. Those dark circles aren’t the most serious effect of chronic inflammation, that’s for sure.
What are these threats that your body is responding to?
This is the most controversial question about inflammation. There are two schools of thought: The commonly accepted one and the newest one. The common wisdom tells us that chronic inflammation has no cause but that if you eat certain foods you can heal from it. These foods give your body the fuel to overcome inflammation. The thing about this theory is that it maintains the status quo. All you have to do is change your diet, they say, and you can heal from inflammation.
But people are still getting sick. People are still getting dark circles under their eyes and constant fatigue and insomnia and depression and asthma and allergies.
What is going on?
Enter the second theory. This one says, it’s our modern way of life that’s causing the inflammation. The flame retardant chemicals that cover every fabric item in your home evaporate and get into your body. The microparticles of pollution from car engines and dust clouds from the desert fill your lungs. The water you drink contains microplastics that get inside every tissue in your body. The additives in foods and drinks, cosmetics, even our water, can cause deeper long-term damage stemming from chronic inflammation.
The science is starting to show this to be true.
If inflammation is the cause, to get rid of your dark circles or blue under eye circles or veins, you have three options:
Medium-term fixes such as matrixyl cream or allergy tablets. I went through all of these in my original article on blue circles.
Long term changes to your diet such as in The Inflammation Diet.
Transforming your entire life, incorporating changes to your diet, your exercise routine, fitting your home with an air purifier and so on so your dark circles are permanently gone.
Let’s look at the long term changes in more depth.
Changing your diet to get rid of dark circles and blue circles under your eyes, which are markers of inflammation:
The inflammation diet is a life-changing diet with a lot of evidence behind it. There are lots of different books on it written from many perspectives, and I’ve read so many while learning to heal myself. Here are my top 3 anti-inflammation diet books:
The Inflammation Spectrum: Find Your Food Triggers and Reset Your System by Dr. Will Cole with Eve Adamson
Why I like this book: It focuses on you as an individual, helping you find your specific problem foods so you can tailor-make your own dietary cure.
The Complete Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Beginners: A No-Stress Meal Plan With Easy Recipes to Heal the Immune System by Dorothy Calimeris and Lulu Cook RDN.
Why I like this book: It is super-easy to follow if you don’t have time to go in-depth into your food triggers, yet, eliminating the most common inflammatory foods to give you meal plans and recipes anyone can make!
The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book, Second Edition by Jessica Black N.D.
Why I like this book: Written by a doctor of naturopathy, this book looks at diet from a holistic viewpoint, sharing insights that come from outside the “standard” medical model to help you understand how you and your family can heal from inflammation.
Changes to your home:
The biggest difference to my life came when we bought an air purifier. I was living in China at the time and the air quality is variable, sometimes there is pollution or desert dust which get into the apartment and cause breathing problems. America also has pollution and desert dust, although not to the same extent (except LA).
New research shows methane, not carbon dioxide, is the biggest threat to our environment, and methane is found in high concentrations in modern intensive farming areas.
When I was pregnant in China, I had such bad breathing issues but I didn’t go to a doctor about it because our nearest western hospital was two hours away. Months after we left China, although my exhaustion had improved, I was still struggling to breathe, and in Northern Ireland I was spirometry tested and re-diagnosed with asthma despite being free of it for 13 years by that point.
Not only that, I was given very strong inhalers and was one daily dose away from having to shield during the big lockdown earlier this year. I used to climb mountains, so obviously the change in my ability to breathe (and move) came as a shock.
Getting an air purifier will benefit you and your family and I highly recommend it if you can afford it. We had one in addition to the usual air conditioning unit (which doesn’t purify the air). My only regret is we would have benefited more from having two purifiers; one for each main room of our apartment.
We spend so much of our lives trying to eat right, get enough exercise, drink enough water and sleep better, and it’s very easy to overlook the most fundamental thing we all need to sustain life: Clean, pure air.
Best for larger rooms: Honeywell HPA300 True HEPA air purifier. This one filters out more allergens than cheaper models and its throughput is more air per minute, meaning it’s good for large rooms. The downside is the bigger motor will be a little louder than a less powerful model.
Best for those people on a budget: Medify Air MA-14-B1 air purifier. This is $99.99 and is the best sub-$100 air purifier I’ve seen. They also do a half-size one on the same Amazon page for $49.99. These models rate high for being very quiet which is perfect for in the bedroom, where you should spend at least 1/3 of your life.
Honorable mention: Germ Guardian True HEPA Filter air purifier. This has so many features and is a complete steal at $89.99! I stayed with someone who had one of these last year and with my asthma, I could feel instantly that the air was easier to breathe and my chest was less tight. I felt refreshed after being there for a few hours. This has UV light to kill bacteria, a HEPA filter to catch allergens, and an activated charcoal filter to neutralize odors.
Changes to your lifestyle:
Our modern lifestyle is one of comfort and ease, and our stresses tend to be cerebral not physical, but our bodies and minds aren’t designed to live in this type of way. They need movement. Surprise. Hard physical work. Good sleep. Plenty of water.
There aren’t many books devoted to this aspect of chronic inflammation, and those that exist are usually crazy expensive.
Body on Fire by Monica Aggarwal is a good reference book on the main changes to reduce chronic inflammation, as agreed by most in modern medicine. It focuses on the effects of good and bad diet, exercise routines, sleep habits and hydration levels.
In my opinion, there’s a lot more to be said about this aspect which isn’t being talked about in the mainstream.
To conclude, the blue and dark circles under your eyes could be caused by chronic inflammation, and you can address the root causes by changing your diet, lifestyle and environment. Improvements to your diet will normally resolve the vitamin K and iron deficiencies at the same time if these are part of the problem.