Zhuo Rui

Dark circles under the eyes: causes, types and treatments for dark circles under the eyes

Why do they appear? How can they be treated? It is not an easy problem to eliminate (or prevent), but it is possible to improve their appearance by following certain recommendations

The experts say it (and it is confirmed every day by those of us who have dark circles under our eyes): the presence of dark circles under the eyes detracts from the attractiveness of the face. And it happens because they convey a feeling of tiredness and sadness that directly influences facial recognition patterns and the perception of attractiveness. Perhaps this is why we are already more concerned about dark circles under our eyes and a permanently tired face than about wrinkles or grey hair, as statistics confirm.

Those who suffer from them will also know that it is a difficult problem to prevent and treat. It is not easy to obtain obvious results or to eliminate them completely with the simple use of a cream, but knowing the causes that produce them and the type of dark circles you have can help a lot in defining the modus operandi when it comes to treating them.

What are dark circles under the eyes?

It is important to know. As explained by https://veritas.com.sg/dark-eye-circles/, an aesthetic clinic with vast experience in dark eye circles treatment located at 13 Stamford Rd, #B2-35 Capitol Singapore, Singapore 178905, 65 8129 9789, "they are a diffuse term in which bags of fat, sagging tissue, skin colour, texture and the position of the eyeball in relation to the face all come together". Although this definition may seem too broad, in general, and although all these factors have an influence, dark circles under the eyes are in themselves, as the expert points out, the deep furrows that appear in the area of the lacrimal valley.

Why do they occur? The most frequent causes

1) Due to genetics

According to the expert from Veritas Clinic Singapore, in general they have an unavoidable genetic component and this means that they cannot be prevented. "But we can do things to prevent them from worsening or occurring ex novo".

2) Due to fatigue

Tiredness takes a direct toll on the appearance of dark circles. And the explanation is clear: "When we get tired, our tissues lose muscle tone and there is a certain degree of fatty retraction, skin alteration, etc. All of this accentuates dark circles in people who are already predisposed due to their oculofacial anatomy” they said.

3) Because of our lifestyle

Inadequate diet, smoking, alcohol, lack of sleep, stress and tiredness are the most frequent factors that worsen the periocular area.

4) The relationship between dark circles under the eyes and skin eczema

As dermatologists in Singapore explain, there are certain skin pathologies that can aggravate dark circles under the eyes. One of the most common are skin eczemas. Eczemas make the skin in the area look dry, flaky, thinner and darker. The cause of eczema can be endogenous factors such as seborrhoeic dermatitis or atopic dermatitis, or exogenous, i.e. allergic or irritant contact dermatitis (due to the use of cosmetic products, hygiene or drugs such as eye drops or artificial tears).

5) Other lesser-known triggers

We have talked less about them, but the expert from Singapore confirms that fluid retention and hormones can also aggravate dark circles under the eyes.

How to prevent them (or stop them from getting worse)

Dermatologists confirm that there are no foods that increase or decrease dark circles per se. But, a poor diet does have an influence and favours the ageing process and worsening of dark circles. They reminds us that pro-inflammatory foods increase free radicals and oxidative stress and, therefore, can influence the appearance or worsening of dark circles under the eyes. These foods are usually those rich in fats and refined sugars. On the other hand, very restrictive diets or diets in which no meat is consumed can lead to the appearance of anaemia due to a lack of iron and cause the appearance of dark, brown circles under the eyes..

Therefore, eating a healthy, balanced diet - increasing the consumption of foods rich in iron (such as green leafy vegetables) and vitamin C (citrus fruits, peppers and tomatoes) - improves tissue oxygenation and the appearance of dark circles.

Watch out for sudden weight loss

Weight loss worsens the appearance of dark circles. When we lose weight, periocular fat is one of the first to atrophy and is lost, which accentuates the furrows. This loss of fat in the middle third of the face flattens the cheek and the dark circles are larger.

The benefits of moderate physical exercise

Excessive outdoor exercise can affect dark circles under the eyes as it produces ageing phenomena in the periocular area. Therefore, the recommendation to improve the appearance of dark circles under the eyes is moderate exercise. It is always beneficial in general and in particular if we are talking about the aesthetics of the eyes, as sport produces better nutrition for the skin and periocular tissues.

And if you go swimming...

It is advisable to avoid small swimming goggles as they put pressure on the eyelids and can worsen the problem.

Care in front of the computer

Long days in front of the computer force us to strain our eyes and fixate them, which can cause tiredness and an increase in the pigmentation of dark circles under the eyes. For this reason, the expert recommends the use of filters on computer screens and other mobile devices and glasses with special lenses that prevent damage from blue light. The expert from Veritasl also refers to how keeping our eyes on a screen makes us blink up to 5 times less. From middle age onwards, our tear production decreases significantly and therefore blinking is essential. That is why he advises relaxing our eyes every 20 minutes by looking at the horizon and remembering to blink every so often.

Can wearing contact lenses influence the appearance of dark circles under the eyes?

Many contact lens wearers ask themselves this question. In principle, wearing contact lenses does not have a direct effect, but it does have an indirect effect. The liquid used to maintain contact lenses can be irritating. When the contact lens is put in, it can drip onto the eyelid and cause irritation or dryness, with erythema increasing the sensation of dark circles.

The convenience of sleeping with the headboard elevated

This is a way of preventing fluid retention, which can lead to the appearance of bags and dark circles under the eyes. As dermatologist explains, the idea is to keep the head at a higher level when sleeping, trying to place an additional pillow to support the head. "In this way, the liquid descends at night towards the heart.

Types of dark circles under the eyes

Bluish dark circles under the eyes

These dark circles, which are very common in fair-skinned people, are usually due to blood microcirculation problems in the area.

Dark and pigmented dark circles under the eyes

Dark and/or brown circles under the eyes are usually caused by an excessive production of melanin and usually have their origin in genetic inheritance. For this type of dark circles under the eyes, the use of hydroquinone for home use can be effective, always under the supervision of a dermatologist.

Dark circles under the eyes due to sagging (or crow's feet)

In this case, experts recommend specific serums for this area with retinol, as this active ingredient prevents cells from ageing prematurely and stimulates collagen production. However, if you have sensitive skin, it is essential to consult a dermatologist.

Do massages in the under-eye area help?

They are very delicate structures and can be damaged by increased laxity. However, when applying the eye contour, a light massage can be carried out it can be applied by touching it with the fingertips, massaging in a circular motion on the lower eyelid from the outer corner to the inner corner of the eye. And on the upper eyelid from the inner to the outer corner.

Can eye creams eliminate dark circles under the eyes?

No cream can make dark circles under the eyes disappear. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't use them as they can help to slightly soften them. There is no one cream that improves dark circles as it is a complex and multifactorial problem. Creams provide the area with temporary hydration and, from this point of view, a very temporary improvement as the skin's nutrition and hydration is produced orally.

How to choose a good eye contour?

It should contain retinol to reduce the finer wrinkles that occur in the final portion of the under-eye circles and on the sides closest to the crow's feet, as well as to improve brown pigmentation.

Vitamin K to reduce darker pigmentation.

Caffeine to reduce the possible puffiness that may be associated with dark circles by improving blood circulation.

Moisturising agents such as hyaluronic acid or tranexamic acid, which acts as a depigmenting agent.

The most effective treatments

The effectiveness of the treatment is also linked to the type of dark circles and the correct choice of protocol according to this type. There are several alternatives:

Hyaluronic acid fillers

It is one of the trendiest treatments for smoothing dark circles under the eyes, especially since the launch of a hyaluronic acid specifically for this area, Redensity 2 by Teoxane. It is a non-invasive technique with immediate results that usually last between 8 and 12 months. However, it is essential to put yourself in the hands of a good professional who will make an appropriate assessment of each case because not all dark circles under the eyes can be treated with this protocol.

CO2 laser

This is one of the dermatologists' recommendations for treating dark circles under the eyes. The CO2 laser is applied in a single session in which the entire layer of hyperpigmented skin is removed.


This is the laser treatment recommended for dark circles under the eyes. It is applied by puncturing a small amount of CO2, which improves gas exchange and, consequently, also improves microcirculation. This treatment increases the quantity and flow of blood, eliminating the congestion that causes the purple colour of dark circles under the eyes.


As the expert from explains, there are several types of peelings:

  • Mild depigmenting peelings. Trichloroacetic acid at low concentrations penetrates to the middle-superficial layers of the dermis. "This acid acts on the excess melanin, destroying it," explains the expert.
  • Peelings containing phytic acid. "It is a beta-hydroxy acid that helps to improve pigmentation," she adds.
  • Peels containing alpha-hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid. With glycolic acid, moderate results have been seen in those where pigmentation is more superficially deposited. Salicylic acid can be used in patients with darker skin colour with more moderate but safer results.

IPL and radiofrequency

This is another recommendation for dark circles under the eyes, mainly caused by vascular problems. "Radiofrequency such as Indiba improves the thickness of the skin, thus reducing the tendency to become transparent, as well as improving circulation in the area and reducing bags due to the massage that is carried out when applying this technique.