There’s nothing worse than being told you look tired when you’re not (but thanks for that insightful observation!)—and many times those dark under-eye bags are to blame.

According to dermatology experts, sleep is definitely a top culprit. If you're getting a sufficient amount of sleep and still see those telltale signs of fatigue under your eyes, it could be allergies or congestion, which prevent the blood from draining in that area. (Excess blood shows more easily through the thin and delicate eye-area skin.)

Dr. Michael Reilly, a facial, plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Georgetown University Medical Center, tells the New York Times to cover up with cosmetics for an instant improvement. But if you have a bit more time, there are other ways to improve the appearance of dark circles and puffiness.

First, do note that under-eye circles are a very difficult condition to treat or reverse, according to Dr. Lisa Donofrio, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Yale University School of Medicine.

With that said, you can try cold compresses and cold tea bags. The cooler temperature helps reduce swelling, while tannic acid in the tea bags helps constrict blood vessels under the eyes. You can also try a topical retinoid (a form of vitamin A), as it's known to renew skin and make it thicker.

In rarer cases, the circles may be caused from leaky blood vessels that show through the thin skin around the eyes (try a topical brightening or vitamin cream for that) or extra fat deposits in the lower eyelid, which may require a surgical procedure.

If dark eye circles are plaguing you, see a dermatologist to establish the cause, who can then determine the best course of treatment. Do you have any tricks for avoiding ‘tired eye’ comments? 



New York Times: "Ask Well: Fighting Bags Under the Eyes"