How to Get Rid of Dark Circles Under Eyes

Dark circles under the eyes have been primarily linked to an unhealthy lifestyle – for instance staying up late as well excessive consumption of alcohol and cigarettes. Now however experts are finding out that there is more to dark circles than lack of sleep – the effects of aging like thinning skin under the eyes, genes and even some asthmatic conditions1 are thought to be associated with those unseemly raccoon-like eyes. If this has been bothering you as well, and underlying health conditions can be ruled out, here are some tips on getting rid of dark circles under eyes, both as cosmetic quick-fixes and long-term measures.

Get enough sleep

While not much can be done about dark circles caused by genetic predisposition and peculiarities of bone structure, those that are result of stress can be minimized by getting enough sleep. Cutting down on sleep, stress at the workplace and spending long hours in front of the computer have been known to increase the effects of fatigue on the face. Since most of the regenerative work of cells is done when you are asleep, once you begin to follow the right sleep schedule, the positive results will be evident from your appearance.

Follow the right diet

Dark circles can be a sign of dehydration, so drinking more water will help hydrate skin. Eating foods rich in folic acid or taking a vitamin B and fish oil supplements would benefit your skin as a whole and thus maybe reduce appearance of dark under eye circles as well. Above all, avoid junk foods which are rich in fats and sugars not only because they are unhealthy for the skin in general but because salty snacks like pretzels and potato chips actually makes many people retain water - even around the eyes – and any additional skin condition would only serve to accentuate the appearance of dark circles under the eyes. If you need other ways to prevent fluid retention around eyes, consider sleeping on an extra pillow or two since this keep fluids from forming in your lower eyelids and hence minimizes the appearance of dark under eye circles.

New research has identified appearance of dark circles under the eyes as a sign of a forthcoming full-blown asthma attack, especially among children1. While the exact causal link is still to be fully understood, preventing allergy attacks at the initial stages may be important in minimizing appearance of shadows under eyes. Most allergies, including seasonal allergies can be successfully treated with over the counter medication.

Cold compress

One of the main causes of shadows under the eyes is an inflammation of the blood vessels which compounded with thinning skin appears as dark circles. Many homely but quite effective tips for getting rid of dark circles thus seek to remedy the inflammation. One option is to place a cold compress over your eyes and in fact frozen peas make a great compress, as the peas can be molded to conform to the facial structure. However be careful to wrap any type of ice pack in a towel before applying to the face to avoid ice burn. Cotton balls dipped in ice water may work just as well since the cold reduces blood vessel expansion and puffiness.

Kitchen remedies

There are also some kitchen-top remedies that been traditionally used to treat under eye shadows; one of these suggests covering your eyes with cucumber or potato slices – the whitish juice from a raw cut potato has in fact a natural bleaching effect which may be used to cover up dark circles. An even better option would be placing brewed and cooled teabags over the eyes for around fifteen minutes. Green tea bags may work better than black or herbal tea bags because green tea contains a natural anti-inflammatory chemical, EGCG, which can reduce puffiness. The caffeine in tea bags also works as a diuretic that pulls fluid from the eye sockets and reduces puffiness as well as dark circles.

While lifestyle and natural remedies can be beneficial in reducing dark circles under the eyes, it can take a while for the results to show. In the meantime, you may need certain quick fixes to get you ready for the date tonight or the all-important conference where you don’t wish to look like you have been partying all night long. No wonder then that concealers are a girl’s best friend. Pour a drop on your finger-tip or a wet sponge and apply under your eyes with quick light touches. Try a light-reflecting concealer -- but try and avoid ones that give a while or grapy look because those won't work very well for the purpose of concealing dark circles. Instead look for a yellow or gold base that will counteract the bluish color of the circles. If the concealer is too light, you'll end up with light circles instead of dark ones. Follow the concealer with a translucent face powder to seal it. This way, you will be able to minimize the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.

Another option is to hit up the department store counter for special serums containing vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E or retinol designed to eliminate dark circles. Some experts on the other hand suggest that you need nothing fancier than a good under-eye moisturizing cream containing glycerin, sodium hyaluronate and vitamin E, which will hydrate the skin. They also suggest using one that contains vitamin K because it may constrict veins and capillaries. You can even mix the concealer with the moisturizer so it goes on more smoothly.

Yet another make-up tip that can help minimize the appearance of dark under eye shadows is to draw attention away from the lower eye-lids. For this reason avoid applying eyeliner or mascara to your lower lashes . Instead try calling attention to your brow area and away from the under eye area by curling your eyelashes. Also , for a wide-eyed look, line the inner corners of your eyes with white eyeliner.

Cosmetic procedures

However such makeup tips can offer only a temporary fix to your dark circles problem. If you wish for a more lasting solution and especially if you have the resources, you could explore some cosmetic procedures which can deal with your shadows more effectively. Blepharoplasty is one such option which is more commonly known as eyelid surgery; thought its main purpose is to treats the skin on the upper and lower eyelids, the procedure may also include the skin around the eye, to reduce the appearance of dark circles.

In order to get rid of dark circles under eyes, dermatologists and plastic surgeons may recommend injecting a dermal filler like collagen to eliminate hollow areas, or they may suggest fat grafting. Since the body loses fat as you age and the skin becomes thinner, fat grafting can mask blood vessels that might otherwise show underneath the skin. During a fat graft, a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon will take some healthy fat cells from one part of your body and inject the cells into the area under your eyes.

If on the other hand, the thought of a scalpel coming near your eyes is frightening, ask your doctor about laser treatments that can have you in and out of the office in 45 minutes with little discomfort or recovery time. Intense pulse laser (IPL) treatment is one such procedure used by plastic surgeons to correct the excessive pigmentation that can cause dark circles. Doctors use an instrument that emits different wavelengths of light to destroy the melanin that makes those circles stand out. For even less invasive procedures, ask about chemical peels which exfoliate the damaged upper layers of skin to uncover the undamaged skin beneath and thus can be useful for getting rid of dark circles. However no one can claim that a surgical or cosmetic procedure is entirely without side-effects; so make sure you are fully informed about all pros and cons before sign up for any such option.


  1. United States Environmental Protection Agency - Help Your Child Gain Control Over Asthma [.PDF]