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Nutritional Causes of Sunken Eyelids & Dark Circles

By Barbara Aufiero ; Updated December 05, 2018

Allergies, lack of sleep or fatigue can cause dark undereye circles. However, your dark circles and sunken eyelids also might be the result of your nutrition -- or lack thereof -- so topical treatments for tired-looking eyes might not be the answer. Knowing the nutritional causes of dark circles and sunken eyelids can help you prevent them or diminish their appearance.

Iron Deficiency

Iron is one component of hemoglobin, the substance in your body that makes your blood red. If you have an iron deficiency, the amount of hemoglobin in your red blood cells is much lower, and your blood vessels become easy to see through your skin. This is because without exposure to oxygen, the blood in your body does not turn red; it remains a dark bluish color that is especially apparent in the thin, delicate skin under your eyes.


According to the Mayo Clinic website, sunken eyes can be a symptom of severe dehydration. When you are dehydrated, your skin loses its elasticity and becomes very dry. Since the skin under your eyes is already thin, it becomes transparent when you are dehydrated, thus making the circles under your eyes more visible.

Vitamin C Deficit

Vitamin C plays an essential role in the formation of collagen, an important protein that contributes to the appearance and overall health of your skin. Vitamin C also plays a role in the absorption of iron by your body and helps to reduce bruising. According to the website Health Care Clinic, one of the most noticeable signs of vitamin C deficiency is the spontaneous rupture of capillaries, which causes bruising. This coupled with unhealthy skin makes eyelids appear sunken.

Lack of Vitamin K

Vitamin K is essential for your blood to clot. It also strengthens the walls of your capillaries, which prevents them from leaking blood. A vitamin K deficiency not only impairs the formation of blood clots but also causes you to become more susceptible to bruising when capillaries break. The blood the broken capillaries release is no longer oxygenated, causing it to form a discoloration under your eyes.

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