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A young woman in a robe and with a towel on her head is putting patches under her eyes.

There are many factors that can contribute to the appearance of dark circles in the under-eye area. In some cases it can be due to unhealthy lifestyle habits, alcohol consumption, garnished with long sleepless nights out, while in others – it all gets down to genetics. Causes can vary from person to person, so can treating approaches. There are different ways to alleviate puffiness and reduce dark circles and it is important to remember that there is no “one-size fits it all” rule when it comes to it. Some of the methods may be effective for others, but not for you and vice versa. Other methods can help you reduce the dark circles, but they’ll not get you rid of them completely. It’s very individual.

So, let’s have a look at what factors can cause under-eye dark circles.

  • Lack of sleep
  • Dry skin
  • Dehydrated body
  • Aging
  • Sun damage
  • Skin in this area is too thin
  • Genetics
  • Untreated allergies (If you have dark circles with a purple or blue tint and other symptoms that look like an allergy, it is best if you turn to a specialist and treat your allergy symptoms.)
  • If you are of a non-white ethnic group, you are more likely to suffer from it

It can be any of the above or a combination of two and more.

Asian Woman applying under eye cream


As already mentioned, treatment methods can vary, we can group them into three broad categories – home remedies and personal care; specially developed cosmetic products; and treatment procedures. Some people can be lucky enough to be able to treat their dark circles by simply shifting their lifestyle into a healthier one, or by applying the home remedies suggestions discussed below, but for others, it’s not that easy and the treatment requires more than that.

Home Remedies and Personal Care

  • Try to lead a healthier lifestyle.
    • Reduce alcohol consumption, smoking, and unhealthy food (especially salt). Get enough sleep – 8 hours at best, and if possible, go to bed earlier.
  • Do not spend long hours in front of a monitor.
    • Whether it will be working, studying, watching TV or starring at your mobile, long hours in front of a monitor can cause eye overstrain, which affects the delicate skin around your eyes.
  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection.
    • Protect yourself from the harmful UV rays that can easily damage your under-eye skin area and cause pigmentation. Remember, sun damage is one of the contributing factors for dark circles.
  • Teabags
    • You can use teabags of black, green, or herbal types of tea to apply them as a cold compress. They have antioxidant properties and contain caffeine which improves blood circulation and helps against dark circles.
  • Cucumber slices
    • Similar to the teabags, you can also use cucumber slices as a cold compress to apply to your skin around the eyes. Cucumber contains Vitamin C and silica, which moisturizes and nourishes the skin.
woman relaxing with cucumber slices on eyes

Cosmetic Products

Do not forget to use cosmetic products when you are fighting against dark circles. Keeping your skin properly moisturized is of big importance and home remedies are not enough (especially when you are 25+ or 30+ and your skin needs more care). I’d recommend applying eye moisturizer or serum twice a day (morning and evening), by gently massaging the skin to improve blood circulation.

I know there is a big variety of different products on the market and therefore you may find it difficult to pick the proper one, but look for a product that contains some of the following actives:

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Vitamins C, E, K
  • Retinol (Vitamin A)
  • Caffeine
  • Q10
  • Peptides
  • Kojic acid and arbutin (in small dosage)
Woman applying serum with vitamin c

Cosmetic/Medical Procedures and Treatments

Cosmetic procedures are more effective than home remedies and the different eye fluids you use at home. Usually, people resort to procedures after a long time of many attempts to treat dark circles with cosmetic products. In fact, in some cases, this can be the only way to get rid of them. For example, if your pigmentation is caused by genetic factors, sun damage or your under-eye skin is too thin, eye fluids for home use won’t bring you the desirable results. In such cases, people turn to cosmetic procedures. However, it is important to mention that when you decide to go with this method, you should carefully pick the clinic and the specialist who will be doing the procedure. Look for a professional that has the right qualifications and experience.

Let’s have a look at what are the cosmetic procedures that are meant for treating under-eye dark circles:

  • Chemical peels
    • In this procedure, chemicals are applied, which cause the troublesome top skin layer to peel off (similar to exfoliation), which then leads to skin regeneration and a new, healthier, layer to emerge. There are different types of chemical peels for different parts of your skin. Some chemicals are stronger and are for deeper peels, whereas others are lighter. The under-eye skin requires lighter chemicals to be used as the skin there is more delicate and sensitive and stronger chemicals can rather cause skin damage than treating your problem. That is why it is of uttermost importance to choose the right specialist for this procedure.
  • Collagen induction therapy (Microneedling)
    • It’s my favorite. Microneedling, or collagen induction therapy, involves using miniature needles to puncture the skin on a micro level, just enough to activate the self-regenerating mechanisms of the skin cells. Because the organism will treat this as an injury (although it is not a real one), its response will be to trigger the production of more collagen which will ‘“heal” and rejuvenate the skin.
    • To get results, the procedure has to be repeated at certain intervals.
  • Fillers
    • You have to be very careful with filler injection. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you need it and you are not of a certain age. In fact, if I have to choose a medical/cosmetic procedure for treating dark circles, I would go for chemical peels, micro-needling, or a laser treatment before thinking about fillers. Don’t get me wrong, fillers are not that bad. It’s just that you have to be careful and resort to it only if you really need it (you tried other things and ran out of options) and if your dermatologist recommends it to you. The risk here is mostly associated with the professional who will do it on you. I’ve heard many stories when someone goes to an inexperienced “professional” (sometimes not even a dermatologist or a doctor) or a dodgy place just because it costs less there, and the damages caused are basically “no comment”. So, be cautious when choosing a place or a specialist to do this.
    • Other than this, filler injections are most suitable for those that have dark circles due to thin skin or loss of fat tissues under the skin of this area. The doctor will inject platelet-rich plasma or hyaluronic acid under the eyes which will add volume and fullness and compensate for the lack of enough fat tissues under your dermis.
Female is trying antiage fillers stock photo
  • Laser treatment
    • This is another highly effective option. It is less invasive than the filler injections and similarly to chemical peeling and Microneedling, it requires at least a few courses of procedures to see the results. It works by directing laser beams into the affected area so that they can reach under the surface of the outer dermis and stimulate the tissue below to produce more collagen and rejuvenate. Sounds like micro-needling, doesn’t it? Well, the underlying idea is the same, but instead of needles that stimulate the self-healing processes of your skin, you got the same effect with laser beams. I personally think it’s a very good idea.

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