Dark Circles Under the Eyes

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One of the most common questions we are asked in dermatology is, “what can I use for the dark circles under my eyes?” . The are multiple reasons for the dark discoloration under the eyes. The major factors contributing to dark circles under the eyes include:

  • genetic factors and facial topography
  • allergies
  • lack of sleep or hydration
  • aging

To fully understand under eye dark circles, it is important to understand that the dark component of dark under eyes is due to two contributory factors: true hyperpigmented skin and vascular components. Hyperpigmentation is generally ethnic or genetic, as is the vascular component, but the vascular component is deeper and gives a more bluish/purple appearance.

For most people, dark circles are caused by genetic or ethnic factors. Most darker races tend to naturally have darker areas under their eyes. Facial topography also contributes to the appearance of dark circles as those people with deeper set eyes tend to have an overlying shadow from the eyebrow. Both of these are the primary factors for under eye darkness in darker skin patients. For lighter skin patients, the vascular component may be a prominent cause and can lead to the bluish or purple tinge that many people complain about.

Allergies lead patients to constantly rub their eyes thereby leading to an induced hyperpigmentation response. Lack of proper hydration gives the appearance of a sallow and sunken set back set of eyes. Proper water intake plus the use of moisturizing eye creams can really help eliminate this possible cause of dark circles.



There is no truly excellent treatment for dark under eye circles. However, the use of eye creams can make the appearance of under eye circles less. These creams work mainly by hydrating the skin, but in combination with bleaching creams prescribed by your dermatologist, may have an impact on natural hyperpigmentation. Of course, proper allergy treatment and prevention of irritation/rubbing is necessary in eliminating any allergy component. Here are some eye cream recommendations, and in some of these cases, excellent wrinkle treatment is often included.

Our recommended eye creams are:

Olay Regenerist Eye Lifting Serum

Kinerase Pro Therapy C8 Under Eye Peptide

Obagi Elastiderm

Teamine Eye Complex







Using these creams at night or twice daily should help greatly in reducing the appearance of dark circles. Knowing the possible primary factors is helpful in getting the full rage of treatment advice in order to get the best results possible.


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