Some women suffer routinely from dark under-eye circles while for others they’re the result of one late night too many. Before you rush out to the store to spend money on yet another cream or cover-up, why not try a natural alternative?

There are several causes of these unwanted puffy circles. The primary one is fatigue. Another is eye strain.

Allergies can cause under-eye circles. So can contact dermatitis, which happens when your eyes came in contact with something that causes mild irritation, like soap or makeup. Sun exposure can lead to irregular melatonin levels and cause your eyelid area to darken.

As the skin under your eyes ages, it loses elastin and collagen and gets thinner. This makes the blood vessels underneath more visible, giving a darker look. In some cases it’s just genetics, otherwise known as bad luck.

What Can You Do?

There are several expensive treatments you can use to combat persistent under-eye circles. But there are two approaches that won’t cost you a dime and may even work better.

1. Improve your diet. There is some evidence that persistent dark eye circles are due to iron deficiency. Iron keeps oxygen moving through your body and if you’re also feeling fatigued despite getting enough sleep, lack of oxygen could be the culprit. Try eating iron-rich foods like spinach, broccoli and all types of squash.

According to alternative health expert Cathy Wong, eye circles can result from the lack of antioxidants. Antioxidants are elements that fight aging and keep your skin youthful. She says you should look for foods high in antioxidant pigments; these include cranberries, blueberries, bilberries, onions, legumes, parsley and black or green tea.

2. Try a natural cure. Before you opt for an invasive and costly medical treatment, try this homemade mask that uses three ingredients you probably have in your kitchen right now. Here’s the recipe.

Homemade Beauty Mask

1 tablespoon raw honey
1 teaspoon fresh cucumber juice
1 teaspoon freshly grated potato

1. Mix ingredients together to form a paste.
2. After cleansing your skin, apply and leave on for 20 minutes.
3. Rinse with cool water and apply a moisturizer.
That’s it!