Dark circles appear when the skin under both eyes darkens. There are many factors that can cause this, but most of them can be treated with natural home remedies, medical interventions, or both.
Here’s what you need to know about the best treatments to get rid of dark circles and what causes them.
What causes dark circles?
Although dark circles are most often the result of fatigue, there are other causes, including:
- lack of sleep
- sun damage
- pigmentation irregularities
- scratching or rubbing the eyes
Another cause of dark circles is the natural aging process. As we age, we tend to lose fat and collagen, and the skin often thins, which can make the reddish-blue blood vessels under your eyes more noticeable.
Also, as people age, they often develop puffy eyelids or hollows under the eyes. Sometimes these physical changes cast shadows that can appear as dark circles under the eyes.
In the rest of the article, read several methods on how to get rid of dark circles naturally.
The best ways to get rid of dark circles naturally
There are numerous ways that people report getting rid of or reducing the appearance of dark circles. Everyone is different, so some of these medications may not work for you.
As with any treatment, it’s always a good idea to discuss your plans with your doctor before trying them on yourself.
1. Get a good night’s sleep
One study examined the effects of sleep deprivation on appearance and found that people who slept four hours had more visible and darker dark circles compared to those who slept eight hours.
Lack of sleep can contribute to darker blood vessels, as well as fluid build-up under the eyes resulting in a dark shadow. Not getting enough sleep can also increase stress, which can make dark circles worse.
Aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night to reduce the appearance of dark circles.
2. Try a cold compress
A cold pack can help reduce swelling and shrink dilated blood vessels, which—if those blood vessels are the ones under your eyes—can reduce the appearance of dark circles.
To try it at home, wrap a few ice cubes in a clean washcloth, then apply the washcloth to your eyes for three to five minutes. You can also wet a cloth with cold water and place it on the skin under the eyes with light pressure for about 20 minutes.
You can also use eye gel masks that you can leave in the freezer until ready to use.
3. Elevate your head while you sleep
If you wake up with dark circles under your eyes, try to raise your head while you sleep.
This will prevent fluid from accumulating under the eyes overnight and will prevent swelling, inflammation and puffiness the next morning. Puffy and inflamed eyes can create shadows under your lower lid, giving the appearance of dark circles.
Try doubling up on pillows to elevate your head while you sleep.
4. Apply the tea bags
A cold tea bag can also help with inflammation. This is because tea contains caffeine and antioxidants that help shrink blood vessels, promote blood circulation and reduce swelling.
To try this method, place used tea bags in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes, then apply them to your eyes for 30 minutes.
Green tea is recommended because its caffeine content constricts the capillaries and blood vessels under the eyes that tighten the skin.
5. Cucumber compress for dark circles
Cucumbers contain vitamin K, which can reduce dark circles by strengthening blood vessel walls. This makes the blood vessels less visible under the thinner skin.
Although they probably won’t get rid of dark circles completely, cucumbers can help reduce their appearance.
To try this at home, cut a fresh cucumber into medium to thick slices and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Then place them on your eyes for 10 to 15 minutes twice a day. You can do this several times a week. Cold cucumbers also act as a cold compress.
6. Take allergy medicine
Itchy red eyes associated with allergies can contribute to dark circles. This is because when you rub them, they become irritated and puffy, creating shadows.
Taking antihistamines can help reduce allergy symptoms that can worsen the presence of dark circles. But this is only effective if allergies are the cause of your dark circles.
It is not recommended to take antihistamines if you do not suffer from allergies.
7. Consider laser therapy
Laser therapy can help with dark circles if the cause is overproduction of melanin – darker pigmentation – from genetics or sun exposure on the skin.
Laser therapy involves the application of low-level light rays to the skin to improve collagen production in skin cells and reduce pigmentation.
This should be done in a medical office after consultation with a dermatologist. Side effects may include swelling or irritation for a few days after treatment.
8. Ask your dermatologist about fillers
Fillers add volume under the eyes to reduce the appearance of shadows or puffiness under the eyes.
The procedure involves small injections of fluid – usually hyaluronic acid – under the eyes to lift the surface of the skin.
This leaves space between the skin and the underlying blood vessels to reduce the appearance of dark circles under the eyes. It is done in a medical office with local anesthesia.
9. Try skin lightening products
Over-the-counter skin lighteners that can be purchased in serum, gel, or cream formats can remove dark skin cells and increase brightness.
Opt for products that contain vitamin C or niacinamide, which can improve the appearance of dark circles caused by excess melanin production. This can be applied twice a day in the morning and evening.
Other skin lightening agents – such as retinoids or vitamin A – are not recommended to be used directly under the eyes as they may cause irritation.
If you use a skin lightener, be sure to also use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day. This is because skin lighteners increase cell turnover, leaving new skin cells more susceptible to UV damage.
A final message…
While you may not be able to treat the underlying cause of dark circles under your eyes, some home remedies—like a cold compress—as well as medical treatments can help.
If you’re concerned about your dark circles, talk to your doctor or dermatologist about the best treatment options for you.