Dark circles under the eyes appear in many individuals of all ages and circumstances. A variety of lifestyle changes, dermatology treatments, and skin care products can help. As you determine which treatment works best for you, you can eliminate that dull, tired look and maintain a bright, youthful appearance.

Causes of Dark Circles Under the Eyes

The skin under the eyes is naturally much thinner than in other areas. On top of this, aging skin gradually loses volume and becomes progressively thinner over time. Because the skin around the eyes is already thin, this is one of the first areas to show signs of aging.

In addition to the biology of aging skin, a broad range of factors can contribute to the development of bags and dark circles under the eyes.

  • Fatigue: Excessive tiredness can cause dark circles under the eyes. Because lack of sleep causes your skin to look pale, it can cause dark circles under the eyes to appear worse against the contrast of pale cheeks. Sleep deprivation can also cause fluid buildup, which may lead to puffiness or bags under the eyes.
  • Allergies/Hay fever: When your body encounters an allergen, it releases histamines. Histamines cause blood vessels in the skin to dilate and become more visible and pronounced. For the skin around the eyes, more visible blood vessels can create the appearance of dark shadows.
  • Genetics: Sometimes, genetics are the root of dark circles under the eyes. An inherited trait or a medical condition, such as thyroid disease, may cause the undereye area to appear dark and shadowed.
  • Dehydration: Hydration is essential for healthy, plump skin. If you are not consuming enough water, the skin can become dull, and the hollows around the eyes can take on a sunken appearance.
  • Sun exposure: Overexposure to the sun may cause the skin to produce more melanin, which darkens skin pigment. Exposing the eye area to excess sunlight may darken the pigment of the skin under the eyes.
  • Eye irritation: Any scratching, rubbing, or irritation to the eyes can cause inflammation, swelling, and broken blood vessels. Irritating this thin skin may cause dark circles to form around the eyes.
  • Smoking: Many people do not realize that smoking has a significant negative impact on skin health. Smoking inhibits circulation and may lead to skin thinning and vein visibility in the undereye area.

Ways to Remove Dark Circles Under the Eyes

There are many treatments to get rid of dark circles under the eyes. The best way to get rid of them starts with accurately determining the cause. If you can identify contributing factors and correct them, you can reduce and even eliminate those dark circles.

Often, basic lifestyle changes can significantly improve the appearance of dark circles under the eyes. These remedies closely mirror the factors above.

  • Get better sleep: Most adults need seven to nine hours per night of undisturbed sleep. If you have difficulty sleeping, consulting with a sleep specialist may be helpful.
  • Drink water: Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and keep your skin healthy.
  • Minimize irritants: Avoid eye irritants, including known allergens and behaviors such as scratching or rubbing the eyes.
  • Minimize sun exposure: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30+ every day to protect your skin. When spending time in the sun, wear sunglasses or a hat to protect the sensitive area around your eyes.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking has many negative consequences for your overall health. Quitting smoking could significantly improve your skin health and minimize dark circles under your eyes.

The following home remedies for dark undereye circles may also provide relief for some individuals.

  • Cold compress: Apply a cold compress to the area around the eyes to shrink dilated blood vessels and lighten the undereye area. A cold compress can also reduce swelling and get rid of undereye bags.
  • Elevate: Sleep with your head slightly elevated to reduce fluid buildup around the eyes.
  • Tea bags: Try applying soaked, cold tea bags to the skin under your eyes. Their caffeine and antioxidants may stimulate circulation, shrink blood vessels, and reduce fluid retention.
  • Makeup: If other treatments have failed to produce the desired results, makeup can conceal dark circles under the eyes.

Your Dermatologist may offer specific dermatology treatments for dark circles under the eyes, as well.

  • Skin peels: Chemical peels can reduce dark pigmentation around the eyes.
  • Laser treatments: Laser skin resurfacing improves the appearance of damaged, aging skin and can rejuvenate the eye area.
  • Fillers: Dermal fillers can correct skin thinning and restore a fuller look to dark, sunken eyes.

Advancements in skin care technology have made it possible to rejuvenate the eye area and underlying skin matrix with topical treatments. EltaMD® Renew Eye Gel contains a fusion of extracts, vitamins, and peptides that diminish dark circles, fine lines, wrinkles, and puffiness around the eyes. Such a product will replenish skin fullness and rebalance skin health to correct signs of aging and fatigue. When used as directed, patients can experience skin health benefits in just a few days and see noticeable results within 30 days.

To eliminate dark circles under the eyes, evaluate for potential causes and make the necessary changes to counteract their effects. As you combine relevant lifestyle changes and home remedies with Dermatologist-recommended skin care, you can improve the appearance of bags and dark circles under the eyes and restore your healthy, vibrant skin.


  • Brandon Kirsch, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Brandon Kirsch is the President and Chief Executive Officer at ClearifiRx.com, a dermatologist-led online platform providing personalized prescriptions to treat skin conditions. Dr. Kirsch also serves as Chief of Dermatology for the Naples Community Hospital and is the founder of Kirsch Dermatology in Naples, Florida.

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