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Improve the Look of Dark Circles Under Eyes
Improve the Look of Dark Circles Under Eyes


Improve the Look of Dark Circles Under Eyes

Dark circles under eyes

The skin around our eyes goes through a lot and can be sensitive to showing signs of ageing and fatigue. The skin under the eyes is thinner than the other areas of the face, particularly as we age. Thinner skin can mean that the blood vessels in the skin may be more visible, and the skin can appear darkened. This can lead to the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.

Depending on your natural skin tone, dark circles can appear black, blue, purple or brown in tone, and can make you look tired and older than you are. As well as ageing, there are many causes of dark circles – from genetics to lack of sleep. Luckily, there are various ways to help minimise their appearance.

Here, we’ll cover how to reduce the appearance of dark circles at home, their common causes, and possible treatments you can consider for under-eye circles.

In this guide:

What causes dark circles under eyes?

There are multiple causes for dark circles under eyes, but they’re not generally a cause for concern. These include lack of sleep and lifestyle habits, like smoking and drinking alcohol. However, these aren’t the sole causes of dark circles under eyes. Visible or broken blood vessels, fat loss under the eye, and increased melanin levels are usually the main culprits.

Some of the most common factors that contribute to the formation of dark circles under eyes include:

  • Age – Over time, the skin under the eyes can become thinner, making blood vessels more visible and the under-eye area appear darker.
  • Genetics – Studies have found that dark circles under eyes may run in families. So, if your parents have them, chances are that you do too.
  • Hyperpigmentation - Excessive exposure to the sun can trigger your body to produce more melanin – the pigment which gives your skin its colour. This can lead to hyperpigmentation around the eye area.
  • Habits and lifestyle factors – While these are rarely the sole cause, factors such as stress, dehydration, excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, and smoking can contribute to dark circles under eyes.
  • Fatigue - Poor sleeping habits and sleep deprivation can give the skin under your eyes a pale appearance. This then makes it easy for the dark blood vessels beneath your skin to show through.

Six tips for how to reduce the appearance of dark circles

Whatever the cause of your dark circles, you can brighten the appearance of your eyes with the following tips:

1) Get plenty of rest

Getting a good night’s sleep can help minimise the look of dark circles under eyes. Not only does an adequate amount of sleep help keep eyes bright, but it also aids the body in repairing skin cell damage.

2) Use the right eye cream

Products that are rich in ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, and caffeine are known to aid in lightening the appearance of circles under the eyes and reducing puffiness. While these aren’t total cures in themselves, they can certainly help. Our NEUTROGENA® Hydro Boost Awakening Eye Cream contains glycerine and dimethicone, which are also beneficial in moisturising the skin.

3) Control your allergies

Frequently rubbing or scratching your eyes can cause blood vessels in the under-eye area to break and swelling to occur, which can lead to dark under eye circles. If this is due to itchy eyes or other allergy symptoms, controlling your allergies with the likes of antihistamines and eye drops could help.

4) Apply a cold compress

Placing a cold compress – such as cold spoons – over the eyes can help to shrink dilated blood vessels and reduce the appearance of dark circles. Similarly, using cooled teabags can help, as the caffeine may help increase circulation, and combined with the cooling effect, can help reduce puffiness and the appearance of dark circles. Laying cucumber slices on your eyes can also reduce puffiness because they’re packed full of water and vitamin C.

5) Protect your eyes from the sun

As hyperpigmentation is another common cause of dark circles, it’s important to protect the delicate under-eye area from sun damage. Wearing sunglasses can help by filtering out the UV light. Using sunscreen products with an SPF of 30 daily is also recommended.

6) Cover them up with makeup

Although it’s not a permanent fix, make-up offers the quickest solution to hiding dark circles under eyes. Using a concealer that’s one shade lighter than your skin tone can help disguise dark circles. It can also help to find a product that matches your skin type – for example, use an oil-free concealer on oily skin. Colour-correcting concealers should be applied to nicely hydrated under eyes, as this helps the make-up to sit better.

Dark circles treatment options

There are many professional cosmetic treatments available if you feel you need a longer lasting or more invasive solution. These can include:

Lightening creams

Dark under eyes caused by too much melanin may benefit from professionally applied or supervised higher dose retinol or hydroquinone creams. Using lightening cream alongside a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 can help to achieve the best results.

Injectable fillers

If your dark circles are due to broken blood vessels or fat loss under the eye, then injectable fillers with hyaluronic acid gel may help to smooth out the skin and reduce their appearance. These fillers can be used to replace lost volume under the eyes, with results that can last up to a few years. Dermal fillers can also help minimise the look of puffiness under the eye caused by the breakdown of collagen and elastin.

Chemical peels

Certain chemical peels that use alpha-hydroxy acids may help to reduce pigmentation under the eyes. These remove layers of skin and stimulate cell growth to reveal a brighter complexion and more even skin tone.

Superficial and medium peels are safe, as long as you choose a qualified practitioner to carry it out correctly. The results can be as long-lasting as 12 months, but these procedures are not permanent, so repeat treatments may be needed.

Laser treatment

Laser treatments may help to reduce the appearance of dark circles caused by broken blood vessels. Non-invasive laser treatments like pulsed dye and diode lasers can resurface and tighten the skin under the eyes. They work by directing concentrated beams of light at areas of skin to vaporise and remove damaged skin cells on the surface, reducing the appearance of irregularities.