How to Treat Dark Under Eye Circles

How to Treat Dark Under Eye Circles

I’ve been talking about pigmentation this month and one of the most common pigmentation problems people tend to suffer from is dark under eye circles. I’m going to explain all about what causes under eye circles and how to treat them.

What Are Under Eye Circles?

Under eye circles are known as Periorbital Dark Circles. They show as discolouration, whereby dark blue, purple or green toned patches appear under and around the eyes.

It can make the eyes look tired and prematurely aged, so it is a common concern for many of us. Although the awareness of under eye circles is widely spread throughout the beauty industry, it is still a condition which is highly misunderstood.

What Causes Them?

Contrary to the belief that dark circles are caused by just tiredness and a lack of sleep, there are other factors which may be causing your dark circles without your knowledge.

There are two main ways that dark under eye circles show, both with different causes:

  1. When blood vessels in the under eye area show through the skin of the eyes, presenting as a blue or green undertone.
  2. From hyperpigmentation, where excess melanin causes darkening of the skin, known as Periorbital Hyperpigmentation.

Blood Vessels Showing Through

This is the most common kind of under eye circle and it can be caused by a few different things. The number one reason tends to be age; as we age, our skin naturally becomes thinner.

You can also just be born with blood vessels that are closer to the skin’s surface, meaning that you are more likely to develop darker areas earlier and more noticeably.

In terms of lifestyle factors, there are a few that can increase the appearance of under eye circles, such as:

  • Diet
  • Smoking
  • Pollution
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of sleep
  • Some medications

All of these either damage the delicate under eye skin or cause the dilation of blood vessels so that they become more visible.

Periorbital Hyperpigmentation

This is a pigmentation issue and although this is mainly seen in the darker skin tones, hyperpigmentation can affect everyone.

When exposed to sun, your skin produces melanin, which is usually what causes you to tan as a natural defence mechanism to the sun.

In Periorbital Hyperpigmentation, the body overproduces melanin in reaction to the sun and builds up over time, resulting in a permanent colour change that looks like dark circles around the eyes.

Puffy Eye Bags and Dark Circles

These two issues are often talked about together, as very often you will find puffiness or bags under your eyes alongside the dark circles. However, puffiness is not due to anything related to pigmentation.

Under eye puffiness is usually caused by fluid build-up, from things like allergies, lifestyle factors or illness.

This fluid build-up causes increased pressure in the area, which pushes the blood vessels closer to your skin making them more prominent and therefore resulting in puffy dark eyes.

Treatments and Creams for Under Eye Circles

Due to many contributing factors, it is not always easy to treat dark circles with one option. There are definitely a few things you can do to help:

  • Apply targeted eye creams to help fight aging and dehydration
  • Get plenty of sleep to keep puffiness at bay
  • Keep hydrated, to fight both puffiness and dehydration
  • In extreme cases, cosmetic fillers can be used to form a barrier in the under eye area, leaving a wider gap between your skin and blood vessels

To Cover Under Eye Circles

The easiest and most effective option to decrease the appearance  of under eye circles by using concealing cosmetics.

Concealers and colour correctors are great options for this, especially those with a peachy undertone.

This helps reduce the appearance of cool toned blood vessels through the skin, and reflect light off your skin to reveal a more even complexion and brighter under eye area.



Resident Pharmacist

With a Masters in Pharmacy, I am here to explain the science behind the beauty. I offer expert advice on ingredients, the latest Skincare trends, lifestyle choices and any skin concerns you may have. I enjoy travelling and taking part in running events like Tough Mudder and the Colour Run. Currently loving: La Roche Posay Eau Thermal