Dark Circles in Pregnancy: Causes & Natural Treatment

Dark Circles During Pregnancy – Causes and Remedies

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sanjana Sainani (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

Pregnant women often receive compliments on their radiant complexion, known as the “pregnancy glow.” However, their bodies experience a multitude of transformations, both internally and externally. One of these changes is the manifestation of dark circles under the eyes. The prevalence of dark circles under the eyes during pregnancy is a well-recognized phenomenon. While dark circles often indicate sleep deprivation, stress, and other factors, pregnant women may experience them due to hormonal fluctuations and the increased demands of pregnancy on their bodies. Although these changes may be concerning, it’s important to note that there are effective strategies to minimize the appearance of dark circles during pregnancy. Continue reading to learn more about these approaches.

Can You Get Dark Circles During Pregnancy?

Yes, there are chances that you can get dark circles when you are pregnant. Medically, the condition is also referred to as melasma, which can also be described as the pregnancy mask. Dark circles usually occur when the melanin in the skin starts accumulating around the eyes.

Let’s take a look at what causes dark circles in pregnant women.

What Causes Dark Circles During Pregnancy?

Although pigmentation is one of the prime reasons for dark circles, there are a bunch of other causes too that lead to dark circles.

1. Hormone-Induced Blood Vessel Dilation

A pregnant woman’s body constantly undergoes hormonal changes/fluctuations. These fluctuations could affect the blood vessels, and cause them to dilate to accommodate more blood. The skin under the eyes is very delicate and thinner than the skin on the other parts of the face. The dilated blood vessels under the eyes give a darker undertone which we commonly call dark circles.

2. Lack of Exercise

Exercise helps provides enough oxygen to the body. A healthy person’s blood is usually bright red in colour. This is because the blood carries oxygen in substantial quantities. When oxygen synthesis is reduced due to lack of exercise, the colour of the blood becomes bluish-black, which results in dark areas on the skin.

3. Insufficient Sleep

Sleep deprivation or insufficient sleep is a major cause of dark circles since it does not give enough time for the skin to recover and rebuild itself. This leads to stress on the eyes as well and results in dark circles under eyes when pregnant.

Insufficient Sleep

4. Retention of Fluid

Fluid retention is a common problem observed in many pregnant women. Although it directly may not result in dark circles, this definitely is a precursor for inflammation, which could lead to the accumulation of blood in affected areas. If the area under the eyes is inflammed, it will lead to the appearance of dark circles.

5. Nutritional Deficiencies

Inadequate intake of essential nutrients during pregnancy can contribute to dark circles. Ensuring a balanced diet is crucial.

6. Genetics

Genetic factors can play a role in the development of dark circles. If you have a family history of under-eye circles, you may be more prone to them during pregnancy.

Usually, just rest and a good diet can take care of dark circles. However, serious inflammations may require medical attention. Should you rush to a doctor the second you notice dark circles during pregnancy? Not really. You may try some of these useful tips to take care of those dark circles at home.

Home Remedies to Remove Dark Circles in Pregnancy

During pregnancy, dark circles can be a common concern. They can be caused by various factors, as mentioned earlier. While it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for severe or persistent issues, here are some home remedies that may help in curing dark circles in pregnant women:

1. Cold Compress

Using a cold compress can help reduce puffiness and soothe the under-eye area, as it constricts blood vessels. You can use a cold cloth or chilled cucumber slices and place them on your closed eyes for a few minutes. You can also use fresh milk cream and apply it under the eyes for quick results. Placing cold tea bags under your eyes can be effective, too.

2. Adequate Sleep

Getting enough rest is crucial during pregnancy. Ensure you have a comfortable sleeping environment and maintain a consistent sleep schedule to reduce fatigue and dark circles. Meditate and practise relaxation exercises to reduce stress and sleep better.

3. Natural Ingredients

You can apply raw almond oil under the eyes and let it stay overnight. Another remedy is to crush mint leaves, extract its juice and mix it with tomato juice. Apply it all over your face, including under the eye. Wash it after 5 to 6 minutes. Cucumber or raw potato slices can also keep your eyes cool and improve blood circulation around them. An effective remedy is to apply raw almond oil under the eyes and let it stay. overnight.

4. Caffeine Eye Cream

Applying a caffeine-infused eye cream can help reduce puffiness and improve blood circulation in the under-eye area, which may lessen the appearance of dark circles. 

5. Rose Water

Premium quality rose water is known to work wonders. Soak some cotton in rose water, squeeze out the excess water and keep the cotton on your eyes. You may also take a short 10-minute nap till the rose water works its magic.

6. Nutrient-Rich Diet

Eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins, especially vitamins C, K, and E, can help improve skin health and reduce the appearance of dark circles. Avoid drinking aerated drinks during pregnancy. Consult with your healthcare provider to ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs during pregnancy.

Along with these home remedies, you may also try some of this simple massage to improve blood circulation under your eyes.

Massage to Lighten Dark Circles

As mentioned earlier, dark circles are caused by obstruction of blood flow under the eyes. This simple massage can help you get some oxygen-rich blood flowing to the area around your eyes and lighten the appearance of dark circles. Here’s what you need to do –

  • You may apply an eye cream or a moisturiser before you start the massage.
  • Using your index and middle finger, gently tap the area around your eyes.
  • Begin under the inner corner of the eyes. With both your hands, gently tap as you move your fingers outwards, stopping at the outer corner of the eyes.
  • Repeat this 3 to 5 times.
  • Then, from the top of your eyebrows, tap as you move till the end of your brows.
  • Repeat this step 3 to 5 times.
  • Now, begin tapping again from the top of your eyebrows till the end of the eyebrows. Continue massaging till the inner corner of the eyes, forming a circle.
  • Repeat this for another 3 to 5 times

Remember not to pull the skin under the eyes at any point and massage the area with slow and gentle taps only.

Some of you may find this information too much to handle and may wonder if there are ways to prevent dark circles during pregnancy. Well, there are a few ways to prevent dark circles, but their appearance depends on your tendency to develop them. Nonetheless, you may try some of these tips to prevent them and seek medical attention if required.

Homemade Face Packs to Cure Dark Circles While Pregnant

During pregnancy, dealing with dark circles is a common concern. Homemade face packs can be a natural and gentle way to help reduce the appearance of dark circles. Here are a few effective homemade face packs to address this issue:

1. Aloe Vera Gel and Lemon Juice Face Pack

How to Make the Mask

  • Mix fresh aloe vera gel with a few drops of lemon juice.

How to Apply

  1. Apply the mixture to the under-eye area.
  2. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Rinse with cold water.
  4. Use this pack 2-3 times a week for best results.

2. Almond Oil and Honey Face Pack

How to Make the Mask

  • Mix a few drops of almond oil with a teaspoon of honey.

How to Apply

  1. Apply the mixture to the under-eye area before going to bed.
  2. Leave it on overnight.
  3. Gently rinse it off in the morning.
  4. Use this pack daily for noticeable improvements.

3. Turmeric and Yogurt Face Pack

How to Make the Mask

  • Combine a pinch of turmeric with a tablespoon of plain yogurt.

How to Apply

  1. Apply the paste to the under-eye circles.
  2. Allow it to sit for 20 minutes.
  3. Rinse with lukewarm water.
  4. Use this face pack 2-3 times a week.

How to Prevent Dark Circles During Pregnancy?

There are a few ways you could reduce the appearance of dark circles during pregnancy.

  • Stay hydrated by drinking water regularly and keeping your skin moisturised.
  • Use cold towels on the eyes to reduce the stress and relax the nerves.
  • Place slices of frozen cucumber and lemon on your eyes before sleeping.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Do not use cosmetics or creams with harsh chemicals around the eyes.

EXCERCISE AND KEEP YOURSELF HYDRATED

If after taking precautions, you still end up having dark circles, you may try the remedies provided in the article above. However, some women may develop dark circles due to underlying medical issues. Although your regular check-ups should help you address these issues, delaying a consultation may lead to the condition getting worse. So, when should you consult a doctor? Let’s find out.

When to Consult a Doctor?

Dark circles could also be a sign of thyroid problem or anaemia. Get a health check-up done to confirm the same. If the dark circles start getting irritating, the skin gets tender and red and begins to bleed, contact your doctor immediately.

FAQs

1. When Do Dark Circles Appear During Pregnancy?

Dark circles can appear at different times during pregnancy, but they often become more noticeable in the later stages when hormonal changes, fatigue, and fluid retention are common.

2. Will Dark Circles Go Aways After Pregnancy?

Dark circles may improve after pregnancy, especially if they are primarily caused by pregnancy-related factors. Adequate rest, proper skin care, and a healthy lifestyle can help in the reduction of dark circles under the eyes after pregnancy.

3. Can You Use Makeup Concealer or Makeup to Hide Dark Circles During Pregnancy?

It’s generally safe to use makeup concealer to hide dark circles during pregnancy. Just ensure that the products you use are pregnancy-safe and do not contain harmful chemicals. Always consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns about specific makeup products.

Dark circles under the eyes during pregnancy is not something women want to worry about during pregnancy. Although it might be due to various medical reasons, lifestyle choices could also cause them. Adhering to a proper exercise regime, keeping yourself hydrated and resting well can help those dark circles fade away in no time.

References/Resources:

1. Sarkar. R, Ranjan. R, Garg. S, Garg. V, et al.; Periorbital Hyperpigmentation: A Comprehensive Review (The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology); National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4756872/; January 2016

2. Yenerel1. N, Küçümen. R; Pregnancy and the Eye (Turkish Journal of Ophthalmology); National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5082244/; October 2015

3. Reichner. C; Insomnia and sleep deficiency in pregnancy (Obstetric Medicine); National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4935047/; September 2015

4. Li. H; Zheng. J, Wang. H, et al.; Maternal cosmetics use during pregnancy and risks of adverse outcomes: a prospective cohort study (Scientific Reports); National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6541712/; May 2019

5. Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period; The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2020/04/physical-activity-and-exercise-during-pregnancy-and-the-postpartum-period

6. Davison. J; Edema in Pregnancy (Kidney International Supplements); National Library of Medicine;  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9185112/; June 1997

7. Vitamin C supplementation in pregnancy; World Health Organization; https://www.who.int/tools/elena/review-summaries/vitaminsec-pregnancy–vitamin-c-supplementation-in-pregnancy

8. Marshall. N, Abrams. B, Barbour. L, Catalano. P; The importance of nutrition in pregnancy and lactation: lifelong consequences (American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology); National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9182711/; December 2021

Also Read:

Eye Infections during Pregnancy
Can You Get a Facial While Pregnant?
Common Skin Changes in Pregnancy
Common Pregnancy Problems and Their Solutions

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