Dark circles under the eyes are a common cosmetic concern for many people. Though not typically a sign of serious health issues, dark undereye circles can make you look tired, stressed, or unhealthy. Luckily, there are many effective ways to help get rid of dark circles under the eyes.
What Causes Dark Circles Under Eyes?
There are a few key causes and contributing factors for dark undereye circles:
Thin Skin and Blood Vessels Showing Through
The skin under the eyes is thinner than on most parts of the face. This thin skin means the blood vessels underneath are more visible, which can create a darker tint. As we age, skin naturally becomes thinner which makes dark circles more noticeable.
Exposure to UV rays from sunlight can damage and discolor the thin skin under the eyes over time. This discoloration appears as darker circles.
Tiredness and Lack of Sleep
Fatigue and lack of sleep cause blood vessels under the eyes to dilate and become more visible, creating a tired, darkened appearance. Lack of sleep also leads to slower blood circulation and oxygen delivery, exacerbating discoloration.
Some people are just prone to thinner undereye skin and more visible blood vessels and pigmentation due to genetics. Dark undereye circles can run in families.
Allergies, Sinus Issues and Eye Rubbing
Allergies, sinus issues and eye rubbing can cause blood vessels under the eyes to dilate and become inflamed, leading to darker shadows. Seasonal allergies are a key culprit.
How to Prevent and Reduce Dark Circles Under Eyes
While you can’t change genetics or skin thickness, there are ways to prevent and minimize dark undereye circles:
Get Enough Sleep
Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep is a leading cause of darkened undereye circles. Prioritize your sleep schedule and make time for consistent, quality rest.
Use Sunscreen Daily
Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher under the eyes and on the eyelids when going outside, even on cloudy days. Protecting this thin skin from further sun damage can help prevent discoloration over time.
Treat seasonal or chronic allergies using antihistamines, nasal sprays, air purifiers or other methods recommended by your doctor. This can minimize under eye irritation, inflammation and rubbing that worsens circles.
Treat Sinus Issues
See your doctor for any persistent sinus congestion, pressure or infections. Treating underlying sinus problems can help reduce associated shadows under the eyes.
Hydrate and Moisturize
Use Cold Compresses
Apply cold compresses or cool cucumber slices under the eyes in the morning or after long days. The cold helps constrict blood vessels, reducing discoloration and puffiness.
Avoid Eye Rubbing
Try not to rub your eyes when tired, irritated or suffering from allergies. This further aggravates undereye skin and can worsen dark circles.
Top Treatments for Eliminating Dark Eye Circles
If you already have moderate to severe dark circles, these at-home and in-office treatments can help reverse undereye discoloration:
Retinol Eye Creams
Look for eye creams containing retinol, a vitamin A derivative. Retinol boosts collagen production and helps thicken and retexturize thin undereye skin over time. This makes blood vessels less visible. Regular use for 2-3 months can markedly improve undereye circles and help get rid of dark circles under eyes.
Vitamin C Serums
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects against UV damage and skin discoloration. It also promotes collagen growth for thicker undereye skin. Use a topical vitamin C serum under the eyes daily to help get rid of dark circles.
Chemical Peels and Lasers
In-office chemical peels and laser treatments remove outer layers of pigmented skin to reveal newer, less discolored skin underneath. Several treatments are usually needed for optimal results in getting rid of dark undereye circles.
Dermal fillers like Restylane can be injected under the eyes to add volume and essentially plump up hollow, darkened areas. Results last 6-12 months for most people and require periodic maintenance visits. Average cost is $600-$800 per syringe.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
Intense pulsed light (IPL) uses targeted broad spectrum light to treat pigmentation issues and broken blood vessels that cause dark undereye circles. Multiple treatments deliver gradual improvement. Treatments range from $300-$500 per session.
Best At-Home Remedies for Eliminating Dark Circles
In addition to clinical treatments, these DIY home remedies can help get rid of dark circles under eyes:
Place cold metal spoons in the refrigerator then apply them under your eyes for 5-10 minutes as needed. The chilling effect constricts blood vessels to relieve dark circles under eyes.
Raw potato contains mild bleaching properties. Cut thick slices and chill them, then place over closed eyes for 10-15 minutes daily. Rinse with cool water afterwards to help get rid of dark tints.
Like potatoes, chilled cucumber slices can be applied over the eyes to provide a cooling, de-puffing effect. Cucumbers also contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to soothe skin and help eliminate dark under eye circles.
Caffeine in black or green tea may help constrict blood vessels when applied to the undereye area. Steep teabags, allow them to cool, and place on eyes for 15-20 minutes as needed to reduce the appearance of dark circles.
This gentle floral water has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities to help reduce undereye swelling and discoloration. Use cotton pads to apply chilled rose water under eyes 2-3 times per day to diminish dark circles.
The lactic acid in milk may help exfoliate and lighten darkened skin over time. Soak cotton pads in cold milk and apply under eyes for 10-15 minutes daily. Rinse afterwards. The cold milk remedy can help lighten stubborn dark tints gradually.
Aloe Vera Gel
The soothing aloe vera plant has natural collagen-boosting benefits to help thicken delicate undereye skin. Apply chilled aloe vera gel under the eyes 1-2 times daily to improve the appearance of dark circles.
When to Seek Medical Care
In severe or persistent cases of dark undereye circles, it's a good idea to see your doctor or dermatologist. They can assess potential underlying causes and provide prescription treatments if needed to help eliminate stubborn dark eye circles. Seek medical advice if circles are:
- Severely darkened and persistent
- Accompanied by puffiness or swelling
- A new development without clear lifestyle or environmental causes
- Not improving with diligent at-home treatments
Dark undereye circles related to medical conditions like anemia or allergies may require supplemental iron, oral allergy medication or other solutions.
Dark circles under the eyes are typically harmless but can make you appear tired and unhealthy. Contributing factors range from sun damage and genetics to allergies and lack of sleep. Preventative steps like sunscreen use, proper sleep, and hydration can help reduce the appearance of circles. Once developed, OTC retinols, vitamin C serums and clinical treatments like chemical peels and fillers often provide significant improvement in How to Get Rid of Dark Circles Under Eyes Naturally. Home remedies like cool compresses, cucumbers, and tea bags may also gradually lighten stubborn discoloration over time. Pay attention to any changes in circle severity and seek medical advice when at-home efforts consistently fail. With diligent skin care and the right treatments, most people can achieve a brighter, well-rested, youthful eye appearance.