“There is no evidence that dark circles under the eyes are caused by high blood pressure,” says William Manger, MD, PhD, founder of the National Hypertension Association, professor emeritus at the New York School of Medicine, and author of the book, “Live Longer, Live Better: Avoid the Risks.”

The idea that high blood pressure causes dark circles under the eyes is a popular one.

But popularity does not make it true.

If high blood pressure has nothing to do with the cause of dark circles under both eyes, then what causes this unappealing feature?

• Aging. The skin gets thinner, revealing the blood vessels beneath.

• Rubbing or scratching the eyes. Be more conscious of how often and how aggressively you do this. Sometimes it’s done as a response to anxiety or stress.

• Allergies

• Fatigue

• Dermatitis

• No known pinpointed cause other than hereditary factors.

It would actually be great if high blood pressure could easily darken the skin under the eyes in a unique way that differs from the typical and benign darkening, as this would be a tell-tale sign of the so-called silent killer that can cause a stroke or heart attack.

However, high blood pressure (hypertension) is notorious for getting really up there without causing any symptoms, which is why you should regularly check it – but without becoming obsessive about it.

Dr. Manger, who began practicing medicine in 1949, has conducted research on the mechanism of salt-induced hypertension, and has published research in peer-reviewed journals.