Written by Andrew Champagne for Avima.com

Dark circles under or around eyes can be incredibly frustrating. They can make people look significantly older than they are, and the circles can be incredibly stubborn and tough to get rid of.

These can be caused by a number of factors, both internal and external. Fatigue and sleep deprivation can be driving causes of dark circles, as can allergies and constant exposure to bright lights. However, there are several ways one can address this problem and potentially reduce or remove the circles, and not all of them involve expensive cream or plastic surgery procedures.

1) Change your sleep position.

In addition to getting a suitable amount of sleep per night, some dermatologists recommend changes to your sleep position if you sleep face down. In an interview with Elle earlier this year, Dr. Shereene Idriss attributed dark circles to subpar lymphatic circulation, which can result from that position.

Instead of sleeping face down, she says, sleep face up, and make sure you have enough pillows to prop up your head and provide adequate support. This will improve circulation to the affected areas, and over time, the dark circles should subside.

2) Drink more water.

Dark circles can sometimes be signs of dehydration, which is a much bigger issue than many realize. Numerous studies claim that three-quarters of the American population isn’t getting nearly enough water, and one of the side effects of dehydration is dull-looking skin.

If you’re suffering from dark circles, upping your water intake could be an easy way to reduce or eliminate the issues that affect you. In the short term, this could make your eyes look lively, and could also improve your quality of life in other ways as well!

3) Limit your exposure to sunlight.

If your lifestyle involves extensive time outdoors, be aware that constant exposure to sunlight can trigger an increase in production of melanin. Melanin is the pigment that provides color to skin, and too much of it can lead to, or worsen, dark circles under the eyes.

If you suffer from this ailment and must be outside for large periods of time, make sure you protect your eyes as much as possible. Sunglasses that provide significant protection from UV rays are helpful, as are both hats and extra-strength sunscreen.

4) Undergo chemical peel treatments.

If lifestyle changes do not work, there are minimally invasive methods of skin care that can also treat dark circles. One of the most popular courses of action is the chemical peel, which was performed more than 1.3 million times in 2017. It accounted for nearly nine percent of all cosmetic procedures that year, and it was the third most-performed minimally invasive procedure behind Botox and soft tissue fillers.

Chemical peels involve doctors applying solutions (usually a form of acid) to a small patch of skin. While this could result in mild redness that lasts a few days, this allows new skin to take the place of older skin, and the newer skin is often smoother and less wrinkled than the skin it replaces. As a result, this procedure can often provide relief to patients with stubborn dark circles beneath their eyes.

5) Consider surgical procedures on your eyelids.

Blepharoplasty procedures are done for a number of different medical and cosmetic reasons. It’s a fairly common surgery, one that was performed more than 209,000 times in 2017 (making it the fourth most-common cosmetic surgical procedure behind breast augmentation, liposuction, and rhinoplasty).

Surgeries to reduce dark circles usually focus on the lower eyelid. According to WebMD, side effects from blepharoplasty procedures can include minor swelling or bruising, but recovery is usually achieved within one to two weeks.