Do you suffer from dark circles under your eyes? As we get older, dark circles can become more and more of an issue. However, they aren't limited to those of us slightly more advanced in our years. Nobody wants to look old or sick or tired, but what can we do about this issue?
Concealer is all well and good, but I want to be fresh-faced, not just look fresh-faced from a distance while in reality I'm caked in under eye makeup. There are literally thousands of products on the market that promise to eliminate this issue, vitamin K creams being very popular amongst them.
Is using vitamin K for dark circles really effective? How about we do a little digging and find out if it really works? Read on to learn more.
What Causes Dark Circles Under Our Eyes?
There are many reasons why the area under our eyes can appear darker than the rest of our facial skin. The first cause which comes to mind is a lack of sleep. Though a sleep deficiency can certainly cause dark circles, it's not the only factor.
It shouldn't be surprising that an unhealthy lifestyle can also play a role in the development of dark circles. Smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, drug use, and an unhealthy diet are all causes of dark circles. Eventually your bad habits will take a toll on your face.
For some unlucky folks, dark circles under the eyes are a hereditary trait, passed down through genetics and through other biologic factors. For instance, allergies and nasal congestion can contribute too. Aging can also increase the appearance of dark circles around the eyes. Physically rubbing the eyes can cause dark circles or make them worse.
The Physiology of Dark Under-Eye Circles
In some cases, dark under eye circles many not necessarily be dark circles at all, but shadows created by puffy eyelids. The shape and structure of your eyes may contribute to the appearance of dark circles. The shadow-creating eye puffiness may also be caused by allergies, simple aging, or other eye issues.
Doctors have found that true under-eye circles are actually caused by reduced blood flow in the area under the eyes. They also found that subjects with dark circles often produced an increased amount of melanin - the substance responsible for skin pigmentation.
Dark circles under our eyes may also be what essentially amounts to bruises. The skin under our eyes is very sensitive. It is thin and easily damaged. It seems impossible, but even gently rubbing the eyes can cause bruising which results in unsightly dark circles. Now, to get rid of them.
What is Vitamin K?
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin found in a wide variety of foods. Since vitamin K is fat soluble, our bodies are able to store it for later. The name vitamin K comes from the German word for coagulation, since that is the vitamin's most well-noted function in our body.
Our bodies can actually synthesize vitamin K with the help of bacteria located in the intestines. Most of the vitamin K our bodies need to function is synthesized in this manner.
The remaining vitamin K that our bodies need comes from food sources. This important vitamin is found in many different foods. It is found in both plant and animal products. Even vegetarians should have no problem consuming enough vitamin K, especially since our bodies need relatively small amounts.
What Functions does Vitamin K Serve in Our Bodies?
It is known as the clotting vitamin. This is because it plays an integral part in blood clotting and regulation of bleeding. Bruising is essentially a small amount of bleeding under the skin, so you can see the link I'm going to make here. Vitamin K helps prevent excessive bleeding and bruising, which can cause dark circles.
Vitamin K also plays a role in bone health. This vitamin is vital in the production of osteocalcin, which is necessary for the growth and healing of bones. In studies, low vitamin K levels correspond to low bone density leading to fragility. Therefore, vitamin K is likely crucial in maintaining bone density.
It also plays a role in general cellular health and development, and was recently found to be important in the neurological system as well. The Gas6 protein, which plays an important role in the proper function of the nervous system, needs components of vitamin K in order to be synthesized in the body.
Vitamin K Deficiency
Vitamin K deficiency is rather rare. It typically only occurs in people who have issues absorbing vitamins in general. Reasons for this include intestinal problems, medications that interfere with absorption, alcohol abuse, or malnourishment. Supplementation is only necessary in a very small portion of the population.
Rare as this vitamin deficiency is, it can cause some fairly major health issues. Symptoms of vitamin K deficiency include excessive bleeding, bleeding of gums or nose, potential internal bleeding, bruising easily, bone and joint health issues, and anemia (caused by excessive bleeding).
For most people, consuming a balanced diet with plenty of green vegetables, meat, beans, soy, strawberries, pumpkin, and herbs means your body is getting plenty of vitamin K. If you're concerned about vitamin K deficiency, don't hesitate to ask your doctor - testing for it is very straightforward.
Do you know what are the Vitamin K deficiency symptoms and how to avoid it? Check here
How Does Vitamin K Help Get Rid of Dark Circles?
The role that vitamin K plays in blood clotting and preventing bruising means that it can potentially help eliminate dark under eye circles, particularly if your dark circles are due to hemostasis. Hemostasis refers to the interruption of blood flow to the affected area.
Excessive hemostasis can be caused by many things, but it's important to note that it is a perfectly natural function of the body. It doesn't necessarily mean something is wrong. Smoking cigarettes can lead interrupted blood flow and damaged blood vessels that can cause dark under eye circles.
It's important to consider that most vitamin K products also contain other vitamins and substances that may play a role in the reduction of under-eye darkness. One study that has correlated the use of vitamin K cream with a reduction in dark circles notes that the cream used contained other ingredients.
Using Vitamin K for Dark Circles
There are plenty of vitamin K creams available over-the-counter. Because these sorts of products aren't fully regulated by the FDA, look for a good quality product with vitamin components certified to standards such as USP is a good idea. This ensure the vitamin's purity and efficacy.
Most products are very simple to apply. You simply dab a small amount of cream onto the under-eye area once or twice a day. Follow the label directions to achieve the best results. Each product will have slightly different ingredients and directions, so it's important to follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
Other, More Natural, Topical Cures
If you'd like to take a more natural approach to using vitamin k for dark circles, there are certainly more options than just over-the-counter products which may contain artificial ingredients. Particularly if you've had issues with sensitivity from other creams, try one of these remedies instead.
Pumpkin contains vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C, all of which may help reduce the look of dark circles. Place thin pumpkin slices over the eyes, just like cucumbers at the spa. Chilling the pumpkin certainly wouldn't hurt dark circles, as you could apply two natural cures in one go.
Place cool compresses over the eyes to reduce puffiness and swelling will help eliminate dark circle causing shadows from puffy eyes. Use warm compresses to help up the blood flow through the under-eye area, since dark circles may be caused by reduced blood flow in the area. You can alternate the two.
Can Dietary Vitamin K Help Eliminate Under-Eye Circles?
Incorporating the recommended amount of vitamin K into your diet certainly isn't going to hurt your dark circles. Though there are no studies directly proving this, it surely won't have a negative effect.
Vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A are vital to the health of our skin. Getting the recommended daily allowance of these important substances is likely to improve the overall appearance and quality of your skin.
Keeping your body well hydrated will also help to improve your skin. Make sure you drink plenty of water each day!
Other Uses for Vitamin K Cream
Vitamin K creams have many skincare uses in addition to helping reduce the look of dark circles. They are frequently used after operations or injuries to help speed wound healing, to help eliminate stretch marks, help alleviate spider veins, and to aid in the healing of bruises.
Other Vitamins and Substances that May Help
Many ingredients are used side by side with vitamin K to help eliminate dark circles under the eyes. Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and arnica are frequently found in vitamin K products.
The vitamins listed above help contribute to skin health and healing. Arnica is frequently used to help eliminate pain in swelling in injuries. Bear in mind that it's a homeopathic product so there is no scientific support for its efficacy.
Dangers of Vitamin K Supplements
Vitamin K is not usually used in supplement form, and with good reason. For one, we really don't need it. Our bodies store plenty of vitamin K because it is a fat soluble vitamin. Our bodies can also synthesize their own vitamin K, so the risk of deficiency is very slim.
Secondly, excessive amounts of vitamin K can cause drug interactions that could be very harmful. These anticoagulants act by interfering with the blood clotting function of vitamin K. Supplementation of vitamin K while taking anticoagulants can essentially defeat the purpose and have fatal consequences. Even if you are not taking anticoagulants, vitamin K can interfere with your blood and cause clots.
Thirdly, excess vitamin K intake during pregnancy can cause jaundice in the mother's newborn child. It is not advisable unless directed by your doctor to take vitamin K supplements for any reason during pregnancy.
What to Look for In a Topical Vitamin K product
With so many products on the market, it's difficult to find the right one for you. Eye serums containing vitamin K can range a great deal in price. A higher price point doesn't necessarily mean you're getting the best product. Try out a generic product first and see if it helps.
When shopping for products that contain vitamin K, look around for a combination of dermatologist recommendations as well as customer testimonials. It's very important to remember that both of these types of endorsements can easily be bought these days, so be wary of overzealousness.
You might even ask your own primary care physician or dermatologist for their unbiased suggestions. They can help you choose a product that works, is safe, and is cost effective, as well. Let's check out a few products on the market.
Products Containing Vitamin K for Dark Circles
Pipingrock's Vitamin K Cream is a very affordable product at just under $5. It contains vitamin K, along with several other ingredients know to be good for skin in general. This cream is a great starting place if you want to test the effect of vitamin K on your dark circles.
Cytocare's Intensive Brightening Cream is absolutely at the opposite end of the spectrum from Pipingrock's product as far as price goes. If you're planning on shooting for the stars and purchasing a very luxurious product, this cream with vitamin k and arnica might be a good option.
Seybelle's product offers a good mix of value and indulgence. At $32, you get a product with ingredients and facilities certified by independent scientific testing agencies and a money back guarantee.
The Last Word on Vitamin K for Dark Circles
It turns out there is likely some efficacy to the internet stories that state vitamin K cream can help diminish the look of dark circles. Vitamin K and the other ingredients found in over-the-counter creams intended to treat dark circles may actually help to improve coloration under the eyes and may also contribute to the general health of skin.
Do you have any more questions about vitamin K or other dark circle home remedies? We here at Health Ambition would love to help you find answers!
By the way, here is an interesting infographic I have found on draxe.com