People often think dark circles are due to tiredness and a lack of sleep. Although this can be one cause, there are other reasons for dark under eye circles, such as allergies or the natural aging process. Dark circles under the eyes may look purple or blue to dark brown or black, depending on skin color. These circles are rarely a cause for concern, but people may wish to reduce their appearance for cosmetic reasons. In some cases, dark circles under the eyes can indicate a need for lifestyle changes, such as improvements to sleep habits or diet.
The area under the eyes can appear darker due to constricted blood vessels causing hyperpigmentation, or from thinning of the skin around the eyes.
All causes of dark circles under the eyes include:
- lack of sleep or poor sleeping habits
- hyperpigmentation, which happens when the body produces more melanin
- reduced levels of fatty tissue around the eyes
- thinning skin under the eyes
- anemia from iron deficiency
- overexposure to sunlight
- frequent rubbing of the eyes
- inherited genes
- thyroid conditions
- eye drop treatment for glaucoma, such as bimatoprost
There are some risk factors for dark circles under the eyes, such as:
Older age: Loss of fatty tissue and thinning of the skin around the eyes are part of the aging process. These changes can make dark circles appear more defined in older adults. A tear trough is the hollow under the eyes, which can cause dark circles and is related to aging.
Nonwhite ethnicity: Dark circles are more common in people with darker skin tones, and they affect people of color more than white people. This risk factor is thought to be due to changes in pigmentation.
Genetics: Dark circles can be hereditary. Research has found that if someone has dark circles under their eyes, these also appear in some other family members.
More sleep, Cucumber, Cold compress, Tea bags, Facials, Antioxidant skincare products
Medical treatment options include:
Bleaching creams can help to reduce hyperpigmentation. These might include:
- a combination of both
Anecdotal reports state kojic acid is effective in treating dark circles. Kojic acid is a natural product that comes from two species of fungi. However, it is important to know that side effects of kojic acid can include contact dermatitis and reddening of the skin.
People may use azelaic acid to treat hyperpigmentation under the eyes, and it is safe to use over long periods.
Topical vitamin C
10% vitamin C lotion over 6 months was effective in lightening darkness under the eyes.
Chemical peels, using alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, can help to lighten hyperpigmentation under the eyes.
People may also use chemical peels in combination with topical creams for better effect.
If thinning of the skin or loss of fatty tissue is causing dark circles under the eyes, fillers may be a potential option. People can have injections of platelet rich plasma or hyaluronic acid gel into the area under the eye.
A type of surgery called blepharoplasty can get rid of dark circles that are due to deposits of fat or extra skin around the eye area.
The area under the eye is extremely delicate, and people should always discuss possible side effects. They must also ensure that only a certified dermatologist carries out any medical procedures for this area.
If people are taking certain drugs, such as bimatoprost for glaucoma, dark circles will disappear after they stop using the medication.