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Dark Circles - a Common Cosmetic Concern

Written by
Dr. Suvash Sahu
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Jan 30, 2017 and last reviewed on Jul 19, 2019   -  2 min read


Dark circles under the eyes can be aesthetically disturbing and can make you look older. Learn about the various treatment options.

Dark Circles - a Common Cosmetic Concern

Dark circles under eyes or periocular hyperpigmentation is a common cosmetic concern, especially in females.

Causes of Dark Circles

The two common causes for dark circles are,

  1. Genetic.
  2. Vascular.

Pigmentary Demarcation

Other than the above, the pigmentary demarcation line can occur due to thin and lax skin, pronounced tear trough, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation due to continuous rubbing of eyes in allergic conjunctivitis and atopic dermatitis and lack of adequate sleep, stress, etc.

Three different conditions contributing to dark circles are,

  1. Shadows due to bulging contour of the lower eyelid.
  2. Blood vessel - bluish color secondary to the venous network situated under the skin or reddish color due to visible dermal capillary networks.
  3. Pigment - brown color secondary to superficial epidermal melanin (pigment synthesized by melanocytes responsible for color) and blue color secondary to dermal melanin.

Aim of Dark Circle Treatment

Chemical Peeling for Dark Circles

Chemical peels act through exfoliation, abrasion and shedding of the superficial skin cells followed by remodeling without scarring. The most frequently used peels for dark circles are Arginine and Lactic acid peels. Argipeel is one of the readily available combination peels for dark circles. It contains Arginine (20%), Lactic acid (20%), Aloe vera (1%) and Allantoin (0.5%).

Other peels like Glycolic acid (15 to 20%) with Kojic acid also give good results. Counseling and post peel maintenance are very important in treating dark circles with a chemical peel. We may not get much satisfactory results as per the expectation of the patient, but combination of treatment modalities and lifestyle modification gives good results.

LASER Treatment for Dark Circles

Q-switched ruby laser (QSRL) and ablative CO2 laser resurfacing can be used, but chance of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is much more with a laser. Q-switched ruby laser and topical bleaching agents with Retinoic acid and Hydroquinone are considered effective for dark circles with low incidence of PIH.

Dark circles are a complex and challenging skin condition for both the dermatologist and the patient. The management is always a cocktail of treatments with consideration that shadowing and vascular effect are dealt with separately depending on the causes of dark circles.

Do you have dark circles? Consult a dark circles specialist online -->

Frequently Asked Questions


How to Remove Dark Circles?

To remove dark circles from your eyes, you need to get adequate sleep, drink 64 ounces of water per day, elevate your head during sleep, apply cold compresses under your eyes, reduce sun exposure, and consume Vitamin K and C rich food or supplements. You can also apply Retinoid creams, Hydroquinone, Kojic acid, and Arbutin creams under your eyes to get rid of dark circles.


Do Nutritional Deficiencies Cause Dark Circles?

Deficiency of certain minerals and vitamins, like iron, vitamin K, E, C, and A, can cause dark circles under your eyes. Therefore make sure that you are not deficient in these vitamins by taking a balanced diet to get rid of dark circles.


What Could Be the Reason for Your Dark Circles?

Dark circles can be caused due to hereditary, stress, sleep deprivation, allergies, eczema, oversleeping, minor trauma, or iron or vitamin deficiency.


How To Get Rid of Dark Circles Within a Week?

You can get rid of dark circles in a week by including fresh fruits, vegetables, salads, beans, yogurt, dairy products, unprocessed milk, lentils, and sprouts in your diet. And mix almond oil with Vitamin E oil and gently massage it under your eyes before bedtime and wash with cold water in the morning.


What Is the Best Diet to Remove Dark Circles?

Foods like broccoli, carrot, green leafy vegetables, Brussels sprouts, turnips, cabbage, watermelon, carrot, and cauliflower help avoid dark circles. When taken in the diet, Vitamin K promotes good circulation around the eyes because poor circulation around the eyes can cause dark circles and puffy eyes.


Can Ice Application Reduce Dark Circles?

Ice can hydrate your eyes. Ice compresses with ice cubes can be given. But do not place the ice directly on the eyes. It should be placed inside a plastic bag and then wrapped in a tissue and placed under the eyes.


Can Potatoes Help to Remove Dark Circles?

Potatoes have a variety of nutrients, which helps to remove dark circles. Potatoes should be adequately washed and should be placed inside the refrigerator. Then cut two thick slices from it, place them on closed eyes for about 25 min or overnight if it is at night, and be sure that it is placed around the dark circles. Remove in the morning and wash it with cold water.


Does Vaseline Get Rid of Dark Circles?

Vaseline can help to reduce dark circles under your eyes. Since Vaseline contains vitamin E and C, it will make your skin hydrated by bringing back the moisture, reducing the dark circles.


Can Olive Oil Remove Dark Circles?

Olive oil, even though it does not remove dark circles instantly, when used daily can reduce dark circles and fine wrinkles. It should be gently applied under the eyes with the ring finger's help and washed with warm water after a few minutes.


Which Cream Is Best to Treat Dark Circles?

Creams like Retinoid, Hydroquinone, Kojic acid, and Arbutin can be applied under your eyes to get rid of dark circles.


Can Dark Circles Under Your Eyes Be a Sign of Illness?

Dark circles in your eyes can be due to some skin pigmentation, allergies, sleep deprivation, oversleeping, stress, hereditary, or deficiency of iron or vitamins. It is not a sign of any serious medical condition.


Can Dark Circles Under Your Eyes Be a Sign of Illness?

Dark circles in your eyes can be due to some skin pigmentation, allergies, sleep deprivation, oversleeping, stress, hereditary, or deficiency of iron or vitamins. It is not a sign of any serious medical condition.


Will Iron Pills Reduce Dark Circles?

Iron deficiency can cause dark circles, so iron supplements should be taken in a daily diet along with Vitamin C, which helps it to be absorbed quickly. About 8 mg for men and 18 mg for women to be taken every day to get rid of dark circles.


Which Vitamins Help to Treat Dark Circles?

The following vitamins help treat dark circles, and be sure to include these vitamins in your regular diet. You can also apply cream that is rich in vitamins, to erase dark circles under your eyes. The vitamins which are used to treat dark circles are:
- Vitamin K.
- Vitamin A.
- Vitamin C.
- Vitamin E.


Will Drinking Milk Remove Dark Circles?

Milk has excellent properties in it to lighten up the skin. It can nourish, moisturize, condition, cleanse, and exfoliate the dead dark cells. Milk consists of Vitamin A and B6, which help rebuild new cells, and vitamin D helps restore the skin's elasticity.


Which Oils Can I Use to Get Rid of Dark Circles?

The following oils can be used to treat dark circles:
- Almond oil.
- Castor oil.
- Olive oil.
- Lemon oil.
- Chamomile oil.
- Palmarosa oil.
- Frankincense oil.
- Rose Geranium oil.
- Fennel oil.
- Lavender oil.
- Cypress oil.
- Rosemary essential oil.

Last reviewed at:
19 Jul 2019  -  2 min read




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