Ways to reduce or hide dark circles under the eyes include raising the head while sleeping, using retinoid creams, and applying a concealer. However, permanent removal may be difficult.

Some people may think that dark circles under their eyes make them look tired and older, so they search for home remedies and treatments that can minimize their appearance.

Keep reading to learn more about how to remove or improve the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.

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A person may reduce the appearance of dark circles under the eyes by getting adequate sleep.

Once a person understands why dark circles develop under their eyes, they can select an appropriate treatment. Some people change their lifestyle habits, while others turn to treatments and products that they find in beauty stores. While these are likely safe, most of these home treatments may be ineffective.

People may not be able to remove dark eye circles altogether, but several techniques and remedies can help minimize their appearance.

1. Getting adequate sleep

Some people notice dark eye circles when they experience periods of low-quality sleep. Lack of sleep may aggravate dark eye circles. Limited studies have shown that rest and good general health lessens the dark of eye circles.

2. Elevating the head during sleep

People who experience darkening of the skin under their eyes in the morning that fades slightly throughout the day may have increased blood vessels or vasculature around their eyes. The darker color can also be the result of swelling.

By elevating the head during sleep, blood will travel away from the head and face and may reduce swelling and lessen the dark color under the eyes.

3. Applying cold compresses

People with increased vasculature under their eyes may benefit from applying cold compresses. Cold compresses can constrict the blood vessels around the eyes, which can reduce their appearance at the skin’s surface. Compresses can also reduce swelling around the eyes and lessen the dark color.

4. Minimizing sun exposure

People can reduce dark eye circles by protecting their skin from the sun. Ultraviolet radiation can worsen dark eye circles in some people. Protection with sunglasses, moisturizers with sunscreens, and hats can protect the skin from the sun and prevent worsening of dark eye circles.

5. Cucumber slices and tea bags

Sometimes. people apply cucumber slices to their eyes to reduce the appearance of dark eye circles. Although the mechanism of its effect is unknown, the cold temperature of the cucumber slices may improve swelling due to sleeping, eczema, or allergies.

Some people also use tea bags. Letting them cool off in the fridge and then placing them on the eyes might produce the same effect as cold compresses or cold cucumber slices. Some suggest using caffeinated tea bags because caffeine can also constrict blood vessels and reduce their appearance on the skin surface.

Caffeine can also speed up blood flow across blood vessels around the eyes and can give a youthful and fresh appearance to the skin.

It is important to note that researchers have not studied the effects of applying cucumber slices or cold tea bags to the eyes to prevent or treat dark eye circles.

6. Vitamin C

Vitamin C can increase collagen production. Increasing collagen production under the eyes can reduce blood stasis, which may cause discoloration. Blood stasis refers to blood that pools in blood vessels.

People may notice an improved appearance of dark circles under their eyes when using beauty products with high concentrations of vitamin C.

7. Retinoid creams

Retinoid creams, found in beauty stores, can also help promote collagen production and improve the appearance of dark eye circles. These vitamin A-derived creams also decrease the melanin content in the skin. Melanin is what gives skin its color.

Retinoids creams are not appropriate for everyone. People should talk to their doctor or another healthcare professional before using retinoid creams.

8. Hydroquinone, kojic acid, and arbutin creams

Hydroquinone, kojic acid, and arbutin are compounds that disrupt the production of melanin in the skin. According to an article in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, low concentrations of hydroquinone and kojic acid can be effective. People in some countries have limited access to hydroquinone creams because they may cause side effects.

Kojic acid and arbutin are naturally derived substances. In small doses, arbutin can improve the appearance of dark circles under eyes, but high concentrations can cause hyperpigmentation.

Before using a beauty product containing hydroquinone, kojic acid, or arbutin, people should consult a doctor or dermatologist. Hydroquinone is only available as a prescription through your doctor. Previously it had been available over the counter, but the status was changed in 2021 following a ruling by the FDA.

9. Vitamin K

In one study, researchers evaluated the efficacy of an antiwrinkle and dark eye circle pad that contained 3% caffeine and 1% vitamin K. Participants wore the eye pads for 1 hour every night for 4 weeks. The researchers noticed a reduced appearance of dark eye circles at the end of the study.

Further studies are needed to confirm the efficacy of vitamin K and caffeine loaded pads for reducing dark eye circles.

10. Concealers and makeup

Some people choose to use makeup to conceal their dark eye circles. Mineral makeup foundation can conceal dark patches under the eyes.

Optical diffusers are a type of cosmetics that reflects light away from the skin and can improve the appearance of dark circles. These techniques do not treat or prevent dark eye circles.

To remove dark eye circles permanently, people need to figure out their cause. People can develop dark eye circles for multiple reasons, including:

  • genetic factors
  • presence of melanin in the dermal layer of the skin
  • post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
  • secondary to eczema or allergies
  • anemia
  • lifestyle habits
  • swelling of the eyes
  • presence of blood vessels at the skin surface
  • shadowing due to thin skin

Some lifestyle factors that may influence the appearance of dark eye circles include:

  • lack of sleep
  • stress
  • alcohol overuse
  • smoking

People can change certain lifestyle factors to improve health and reduce the appearance of dark eye circles. However, a person cannot modify some other factors, such as genetics.

People can try to use products or methods to reduce the appearance of dark eye circles, but they may not be able to remove them entirely or permanently.

Dark eye circles under the eyes are not detrimental to a person’s health, but some people may choose to consult a doctor or dermatologist for cosmetic purposes. People who experience low self-esteem or poor quality of life because of dark eye circles may benefit from seeking medical help.

A doctor or dermatologist can help to diagnose and classify dark eye circles, which can help people choose the most appropriate treatment or lifestyle change. Doctors can also help people manage their expectations around the effectiveness of each treatment.

Bear in mind that most treatments require months of daily use before a person notices any significant change.

Sometimes doctors may suggest noninvasive techniques, such as intense pulsed light, radiofrequency, q-switched lasers, and pulsed dye lasers, to reduce the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.

However, some people may require invasive techniques, such as:

  • chemical peels
  • medical tattoos
  • ablative laser resurfacing
  • hyaluronic acid gel soft tissue fillers
  • fat transfer
  • surgery
  • implants

People should only consider these options in extreme cases.

Dark eye circles are a common reason people consult a dermatologist.

Some people may not like the appearance of dark circles under their eyes and experience low self-esteem and reduced quality of life as a result, but it is important to remember that they are harmless.

Several medical treatments and home remedies can help reduce the appearance of dark eye circles. These may include cucumber slices and beauty products.

Although most of these treatments are safe to use, researchers have not confirmed their effectiveness in reducing dark eye circles.