As well as having a negative effect on your mood, the British winter can also add years to your looks, according to a new study.
Scientists have found that the winter months add an average four years and eight months to a woman's eyes.
During clinical trials on behalf of Adonia Organics, researchers studied the eyes of 5,000 women, aged between 27 and 60, throughout the seasons.
It was found that the lack of sunlight in winter brings paler skin, which emphasises the bags under the eyes.
The problem is made worse by a higher level of fatigue during the winter due to a lower level of Vitamin D, which is generated in sunlight and is directly linked to the body's levels of serotonin, a natural "feelgood" chemical.
The study, conducted at AMA Laboratories in New York, found that 82% of women suffer from dark circles and puffy eyes during winter compared to 38% in summer.
"More science is coming out linking the lack of Vitamin D and K as one of the causes that plagues us with dark circles and puffy eyes, especially as it relates to fatigue and immune related issues. Once you have them, it is usually difficult to reverse them.
"Once you have them, it is usually difficult to reverse them.
"Our research has shown that women are worried about the ageing effect of dark circles more so than wrinkles which are easier to tackle and overcome," said anti-ageing expert Dr Mark Binette of Adonia.
He added: "Ten years ago women were searching for the next wrinkle attacking cream, it seems the market is more open now to alternative ageing signs such as dark circles.
"Lacking in Vitamins D and K has a considerable negative effect on the appearance of dark and puffy eyes and can age a woman by 4.7 years putting over 10% on a woman's age of 40.
"It might not be wrinkles or grey hair that ages you most, but dark circles under your eyes."
Dark circles are often caused by tiny capillaries that leak blood beneath the surface of the skin. As this blood starts to oxidise, it turns an ugly dark blue colour similar to a bruise.
Thin skin under the eyes allows fluid to build up, which becomes more obvious in winter as the skin becomes more transparent.
In summer it is easier to hide dark circles as people suffer less from fatigue and the skin is more tanned.
Adonia claims the new cream it has developed in light of the research, reduces the appearance of dark circles by up to 87% after eight weeks.
Help counteract the ravages of winter with our round-up of the best anti-ageing herbs.
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