4 Habits That Make Your Dark Circles Worse

03/18/2015 08:17 pm ET | Updated May 18, 2015
Robert Kneschke via Getty Images

By Cara Birnbaum, Allure

Goth-worthy circles are usually genetic, meaning they aren't your fault. Except, of course, when they are. Jessica Wu, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, reveals the four bad habits that can make shadows worse.

Skipping sunscreen. Those thin upper and lower lids are especially prone to sun-induced hyperpigmentation (and skin cancer). They're also sensitive to many sunscreens. Wu prefers nondrippy or stick formulas that won't migrate into the eyes.

OD'ing on prescription retinoids. "Too-frequent application can leave you with red, flaky rings around your eyes that turn brownish or gray as they heal, especially in olive or darker skin tones," warns Wu.

Using a wimpy makeup remover. If you have to rub your skin to pry off your liner, you're causing inflammation and capillary damage. Wu recommends cleansing oils that "melt eye makeup with the least amount of rubbing and fewest lost lashes."

Running hot. "Many people wash their faces with hot water," says Wu. Don't. "It worsens puffiness and can accentuate dark circles." The same goes for hot steam. Opt for lukewarm water instead.