Dark circles under eyes are a common skin condition that affects many people. They often appear as dark blemishes under or around the eye area, and can often make a person look tired or older than they are. In most cases, the areas of darkness are actually dilated blood vessels under the surface of the skin. The skin around the eyes is thinner, making the underlying tissue much more visible and vulnerable. As a person gets older, the skin tends to lose elasticity and thin out, which can make the appearance of dark circles even more apparent. Although dark circles are a common sign of skin aging, they can affect younger people as well. For some, dark circles are a hereditary trait, and for others, they may be caused by lack of adequate rest, dehydration, allergies or emotional stress. Even rubbing your eyes too hard can cause bruising, which results in the appearance of dark circles.

Common features of dark circles under the eyes include:

Discoloration: Skin under the eyes area appears darker than other areas of the face.

Irritation and inflammation: Skin under the eyes can become swollen and sensitive.

Broken blood vessels: Ruptured blood vessels under the surface of the skin become visible.

There are multiple reasons for dark circles to form under your eyes. The skin under your eyes is thin, making the underlying tissue more visible. Genetics also play a role in skin tone and texture. The contrast between skin tone and the darker colored skin under the eyes will likely be more apparent in those with fair skin. Sun exposure can enhance the pigment under the eyes and darken the existing color. Lifestyle choices, such as a poor diet, smoking or drinking alcohol excessively may contribute to dark circles.

Special care should be taken when treating the delicate skin around your eyes. Use gentle cleansers that are specially designed for sensitive skin to avoid irritation to the eyes and surrounding areas. Avoid products that are scented and contain ingredients such as glycolic or salicylic acids which may irritate the delicate skin tissue underneath the eyes. Avoid rubbing your eyes, as this can cause dilation of blood vessels and bruising. Getting adequate sleep is essential to reducing puffiness and dark circles. If you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle and the dark circles are still a bother, use concealers and foundations to provide a quick cosmetic solution. Just before bed, apply a moisturizer that is specifically formulated to soothe, protect and hydrate this especially delicate facial region. Use of an eye cream will provide a smoother texture to the area by filling in fine lines to improve the look of dark circles.

To prevent the premature signs of aging such as dark circles and wrinkles on your skin caused by sun damage, there are precautions you can take before going out into the sun.

Limit sun exposure: Reducing your time in the sun is perhaps the easiest way to avoid damage to your skin caused by UV rays. When outdoors, set a time limit and seek shade when necessary. Also keep in mind that UV radiation is the strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Use Sunscreen: Sunscreens are an essential part of protection against the sun. Look for sunscreens labeled “Broad Spectrum”. They are often the most effective and offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Make sure to apply generously and frequently.

Cover and protect: Wrap-around sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and clothing that covers your arms and legs, can offer extra protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays.

There are a variety of eye creams that can help reduce inflammation and irritation to the tissue under the eyes. Finding a good concealer is helpful in camouflaging the appearance of dark circles.

There are no procedures that have proven to be successful for this condition.

  • Eye Creams
  • Cosmetic Concealers