Articles

What Are Dark Circles Under the Eyes?

Dark circles under the eyes can be a cause of embarrassment for many. They are less than complimentary when it comes to a person's appearance and can affect both men and women.

Tagged: Anti - Ageing

Author: Dr. Susan Mayou, BSc FRCP

Date: 11th December 2020

Medically Reviewed by:  Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396)

Last reviewed: 20th February 2024

Dark circles under the eyes are darker patches appearing as distinct discolourations or shadows in the delicate skin beneath the lower eyelids.  

These can look different from person to person. Some people might have subtle shadows, while others might notice more noticeable dark circles around eyes. The size and shape can vary too. For some, it might be in a specific spot, while for others, it could be spread out more.

The skin under your eyes is quite thin, and for some, it might seem see-through, making the blood vessels underneath more visible and contributing to the appearance of these dark circles.

According to a comprehensive review by Nemati et al. (2021), dark circles under the eyes are a common concern, affecting a significant portion of the population. 

How Do You Know If You Have Dark Circles Under the Eyes?

Observe the skin under the lower eyelids. If you see darker areas right beneath your eyes, especially when comparing them to the rest of your skin, they are most likely dark circles. The intensity of dark circles under the eyes varies and shows up either as subtle shadows or more noticeable discolouration. 

What Causes Dark Circles Under Eyes?

Dark circles under the eyes tend to become more noticeable when you're tired. But being tired is not the sole reason that causes dark circles under the eyes.

If you have suddenly noticed the appearance of dark circles under your eyes, or have been observing them for a while and they don’t seem to be fading away, here is the list of reasons that might explain their appearance.

  1. Lack of Sleep: Not getting enough sleep can make dark circles more noticeable.
  2. Genetics: Sometimes, it's just in your family genes to get dark rings around the eyes.
  3. Thin Skin: If the skin under your eyes is delicate, shadows can appear more distinctly.
  4. Bad Habits: Things like smoking and unhealthy eating can lead to shadows under eyes.
  5. Nutrient Shortage: Not getting enough iron, vitamin K, or antioxidants can contribute to dark rings around the eye. Understanding what deficiency causes dark circles is crucial for addressing and preventing under-eye shadows.  

Understanding these causes can help you figure out how to eliminate dark circles under the eyes. 

Non-Invasive Ways to Get Rid of Dark Circles Under the Eyes

Getting rid of dark circles involves easy lifestyle changes and some dark circles treatments. Here are some ways to get rid of dark circles under your eyes. 

Lifestyle Changes

Adequate Sleep

Getting enough quality sleep helps rejuvenate the skin, reducing the appearance of tiredness and dark circles.

Healthy Diet

A balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals supports skin health, addressing nutritional deficiencies that may contribute to dark circles.

Hydration

Drinking enough water keeps the skin hydrated, enhancing the overall appearance of the eyes.

Sun Protection

Shielding your eyes from harmful UV rays prevents skin damage and pigmentation, reducing the likelihood of dark circles.

No Smoking

Quitting smoking improves overall skin health, reducing the risk of blood vessel constriction and dark circles.

Regular Exercise

Physical activity promotes blood circulation, preventing blood from pooling under the eyes and minimizing dark circles. 

Topical Dark Circles Treatment

Creams or Serums with Retinol

Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, promotes skin renewal and collagen production. This helps reduce fine lines, improving skin texture, and diminishing the appearance of dark circles.

Creams or Serums with Vitamin K

Vitamin K is known for its role in blood clotting and improving blood circulation. When applied topically, it can help reduce the visibility of blood vessels under the eyes, contributing to a reduction in dark circles.

Concealers

They give a fast but temporary solution by adding moisture and reflecting light to reduce the look of dark circles. The best concealer for dark circles under the eyes for your skin is one that matches your skin type and colour. Perform a patch test with different products to find the one that works best. 

Home Remedies

Cold Compress

Putting a cold, wet cloth or ice pack on your eyes helps tighten blood vessels, which can lessen puffiness and dark circles.

Cucumber Slices

Placing slices of cucumber on the eyes has a soothing effect, hydrates the skin, and may help minimize the appearance of dark circles.

Tea Bags (Chamomile or Green Tea)

Using cold chamomile or green tea bags on your eyes can calm swelling and give your skin antioxidants. This might help ease dark circles. 

How Effective Are Creams and Concealers as Treatments for Dark Circles Under the Eyes?

Creams and concealers can be effective in temporarily reducing the appearance of dark circles under the eyes. These products are designed to address the visual aspects of dark circles by providing hydration to the under-eye area and using reflective particles to minimize the appearance of shadows. It is a cosmetic solution and does not address the underlying causes of dark circles.

The effectiveness of these products also varies from person to person and depends on factors such as skin type, the severity of dark circles, and the specific ingredients in the creams or concealers. While they can provide a quick and noticeable improvement, the results are temporary and the dark circles may reappear once the product is removed.  

When Should You Treat Dark Circles Under the Eyes?

Here are some signs indicating it may be time to treat dark circles under the eyes:  

  • Persistent Appearance: If you've had dark circles for a while and they don't seem to go away on their own, it might be a good time to consider dark circles treatment.
  • Impact on Confidence: When dark circles affect how you feel about yourself and your confidence, seeking dark circles treatment may help the situation.  
  • Lifestyle Changes Not Enough: If lifestyle changes like better sleep, a healthy diet, or using creams haven't improved the situation, you might want to explore other options. 

How Can You Treat Dark Circles Under the Eyes?

Non-Surgical Procedures

Non-surgical dark circles treatments, such as injections and fillers, inject substances under the skin to reduce the appearance of dark circles. It reduces shadows and plumpens the skin which can be effective for those seeking non-invasive solutions.

Surgical Procedures

Surgical dark circles treatments, such as facelifts or browlifts, involve more advanced procedures. These surgeries aim to lift and tighten the skin, addressing underlying issues causing dark circles for a longer-lasting result. It's a more permanent fix that is generally faster and more effective, but the choice depends on individual preferences and the severity of the condition.  

 

Consult with one of our expert surgeons to determine the most suitable approach to get solutions to how to remove dark circles under eyes permanently and get recommendations for dark circles under eyes treatment based on your specific circumstances. 

Words from our clients:


What Are the Best Non Surgical Dark Circle Under Eye Treatments?

The best non-surgical dark circles under eyes treatment include Botox, hyaluronic acid, dermal fillers and tear trough fillers.  

Botox

Anti-ageing injectable that serves as a local muscle relaxant to reduce the pull on the delicate under-eye skin. As a result, the treatment softens the appearance of dark circles around the eyes. The rejuvenated look lasts for three to six months after which the treatment can be repeated.

Hyaluronic Acid Dermal Fillers

Best suited for the delicate under-eye area, effectively addressing the volume loss that can cast shadows, contributing to the look of dark circles under eyes. Dermal fillers provide a safe and non-invasive method for smoothing out hollows to recreate the contours the skin.

Tear Trough Fillers

Dermal filler treatment levels the area below the eyes and lessens dark shadows to restore volume. The result is a more even and light-reflective under-eye surface. The procedure is swift, taking 10-15 minutes, and there is no downtime or recovery period. The results last for 6-18 months before treatment is needed again to maintain the results.  

What Are the Best Surgical Dark Circle Under Eye Treatments?

The best surgical dark circle under eye treatments involve lower blepharoplasty (eyelid reduction) and brow lifts.

Lower Blepharoplasty

This surgical procedure reshapes the eyelids by eliminating excess fat and skin from the lower eyelids. It is particularly effective for addressing shadows and hollows that contribute to the appearance of dark circles under eyes.

Brow Lift

A surgical procedure that indirectly targets the appearance of dark circles under the eyes by lifting the upper facial structures. As a result, the procedure can reduce sagging and hooding that can cast shadows over the under-eye area. Brow lifts can help to restore a more rejuvenated look to the eyes. 

What is the Best Treatment for Dark Circles Under the Eyes?

Surgical treatments, such as browlifts and lower blepharoplasty, are considered the best treatments for permanently treating dark circles under the eyes. These surgical interventions restore youthfulness to tired-looking eyes by targeting the structural aspects of dark circle formation.  

Non surgical treatments are best if you want a non-invasive procedure. Everyone can benefit from lifestyle habits, like sleeping and eating better, to improve the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Iron deficiency is the most common deficiency that causes dark circles under the eyes. Iron-deficient body tissues have lower levels of oxygenation, which causes a bluish tint beneath the skin around the eyes. Other nutrient deficiencies, such as vitamin K, vitamin B12, and folic acid, also contribute to dark circles. 

Yes, in some cases, dark circles can go away on their own. If they are caused by reversible factors like lack of sleep and dehydration, you can reduce their appearance by taking proper care. However, if ageing or genetic factors are involved, dark circles are unlikely to go away without treatment. 

Conventionally, dark circles under the eyes are not considered attractive. This is because they are viewed as signs of tiredness and ageing. But attractiveness is something that’s ultimately subjective.  

Yes, dark circles under the eyes are more common in people with darker skin tones. Individuals of colour may be more vulnerable to hyperpigmentation around the eyes which makes dark circles more noticeable. 

Dark circles are considered more common in women than men, according to research that has found a link between dark eye circles and irregular menstruation, premenstrual aggravation, stress and anaemia. 

Eye bags under the eyes refer to the sagging of skin around the eyes, while dark circles comprise the discolouration of the skin under the eyes. 


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