We all have something about our physical appearance that we’d like to be a little different.

Heck, there’s a reason the beauty and makeup industry rakes in billions upon billions of dollars each year. They thrive on the knowledge that people are always looking for ways to brighten their appearance, fight wrinkles, boost their glow, cover this, accentuate that, etc, etc.

For me, the problem area is my eyes — specifically the dark circles under them.

I’ve always been convinced that, to some degree, they’re hereditary and I’ve tried everything, I mean everything, to cover them up. I’ve tried expensive creams, cheap creams and just about every brand of cover up at Sephora, department stores and MAC.

Lately, they’ve gotten worse, so I’ve been doing some research to figure out the causes and some potential treatments.

There are the obvious solutions:

  1. Get 8 hours of quality sleep.
  2. Drink 8-10 glasses of water.
  3. Cut back on salt, caffeine and alcohol.
  4. Put down the fried and fatty foods.
  5. Increase your intake of iron rich foods.

Considering I do these (at least most of the time) and don’t see a difference, I decided to do a little more research.

There’s the theory that the skin is thin and blood vessels showing through. Some solutions for that:

  1. Preparation H hemorrhoid cream (seriously). It constricts blood vessels and supposedly makes the hue a little lighter. 
  2. Vitamin E, which regulates vitamin A
  3. Vitamin K, which works on damaged capillaries
  4. Vitamin A, which has anti-aging properties and works on the skin around the eyes
  5. Steeped and cooled green tea bags or cucumbers on your eyes
  6. Almond oil

Being not overly excited about these options and preferring to get to the root of the problem which I generally believe comes from something going on inside and just manifesting itself on the outside,  I wanted to see what Chinese medicine says about the purple tint under my eyes.

Chinese medicine teaches that darkness under eyes is related to the kidneys – usually some sort of deficiency. Chinese medicine doctors don’t actually use the eyes as a diagnosis of kidney issues, but the two seem to go hand in hand. A weak kidney is often the result of exhaustion and when the balance is off, you need to take steps to even things out.

Certain foods are known to support the kidneys. These include:

  • Complex carbohydrates including whole grains like brown rice, millet and oats
  • Dark leafy greens (which, let’s be real, seem to come into play for just about any ailment!)
  • Root vegetables
  • Kidney shaped foods like black beans and kidney beans
  • Dark fruits such as blackberries and blueberries
  • Seaweed, spirulina and kelp
  • And, for animal protein eaters, eggs, oysters, squid and sardines

There are also foods the kidneys don’t particularly like. These include cold foods and raw foods – even raw vegetables. If you suffer from kidney deficiency, you want to lightly steam them.

On top of the foods that can help, I came across  few anecdotes about people who turned to kidney support supplements and saw actual improvements in their dark circles within a few weeks or months. From what I can tell, these generally include some of the following ingredients:

Milk thistle, dandelion, marshmallow, artichoke, cornsilk, horsetail, burdock root, parsley, and uva ursi leaf.

Unfortunately, like just about anything else that requires the body to come back into balance, none of this is likely to be a magic bullet and work overnight and will require patience.

I intend to give some of these options a try – starting with a kidney support supplement or tincture – and will be sure to let you know if I find any success!

Do you have a solution that’s worked for you? I would love to hear about it!!