Dark Circles Under Eyes: Causes, Treatment, and Remedies
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Dark Circles Under Eyes: Causes, Treatment, and Remedies

May 19, 2021

Table of Contents – 

What are dark circles?

Periorbital dark circles, commonly known as dark circles, can be caused by various exogenous and endogenous factors; they can make your face appear dull and exhausted. Dark circles may not be permanent, but they can be reduced with proactive dark circle treatments.

Worried about your skin condition? Get in touch with best of our skin specialists in Pune. For a skin treatment, book an appointment with our dermatologists near you +919584584111

Dark circles tend to make you look extremely tired even at times you are not, which is why treating them is essential. They can also take a toll on one’s professional and personal outlook, by making you look older and fatigued; hence, getting rid of dark circles is important for your confidence, as well.

Adult men and women are affected by dark circles, but it’s quite rare to see it in children. This is because the appearance of dark circles occurs with age, along with thinning of skin and loss of collagen. Fatigue and stress may not be the only cause of dark circles, but these factors do have a negative impact on your skin and they increase the possibility of developing dark circles. 

Based on your complexion, dark circles can vary from purple to dark brownish in color. Lifestyle changes can also be a reason for developing dark circles. Localized swelling, or people suffering from fluid imbalance issues, can experience puffy eyelids which can shadow the under eye portion and it results in dark circles. Genetics can be another reason for dark circles, as well. 

Are you also suffering from dark circles?

Want to know the solution immediately to treat your dark circles? Feel free to ask our skin specialists and dermatologists at Clear Skin, Pune. Book a consultation with our doctors or call +91 2071177333 to visit at our skin clinic near you.

Causes of dark circles 

  • Thinning of under-eye skin 
  • Poor sleep habits 
  • Hay Fever
  • Aging 
  • Periorbital Hyperpigmentation
  • Excess production of melanin 
  • Deficiency of iron, causing Anaemia 
  • High exposure to Sunlight 
  • Excessive eye rubbing 
  • Smoking habits 
  • Genetic predominance 
  • Thinning of fat tissues around the eyes
  • Thyroid conditions 
  • Certain Medications 
  • Stress, Fatigue 

Types of dark circles

Pigmented dark circles (Brown in hue):  These dark circles can be a result of extra melanin production and uneven pigment distribution. 

Vascular dark circles: Blue, Pink, or Purple discoloration along with puffiness, in some cases, are characterized by the appearance of veins which happens as a result of thinning facial skin which results in decreased blood flow and retention of fluid.

Mixed dark circles: Mix of pigmentation, structural, and vascular features. 

Structural dark circles: These dark circles are shadows that are caused by skin laxity, fat loss under the skin, and eye bags. 

How can I prevent dark circles?

By following a healthy lifestyle, you can prevent the occurrence of dark circles. Here are a few healthy habits to adopt. 

8 hours of sleep:

Studies suggest that high stress levels increase the occurrence of dark circles, whereas proper sleep cycles, along with a healthy lifestyle, can decrease discoloration. Keep a consistent sleep schedule, and aim for at least 8 hours of sleep every day. 

Protection from sun exposure:

Protecting the eyes with UV proof sunglasses, and the use of sunscreen around the eyes helps prevent dark circles that are caused due to sun exposure. Look for sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30+, and UV protected glasses . 

Cutting down on smoking and alcohol:

Drinking alcohol and smoking can lead to premature aging signs like wrinkles and grey hair, and increases the appearance of dark circles, faster. Cutting down on alcohol will also reduce the puffy and bloated appearance of your face, helping reduce the visual impact of dark circles. 

How to get rid of dark circles naturally? 


There are several home remedies that help reduce the prevalence of dark circles. They may not be a permanent remedy but they do help reduce pigmentation without any side effects. These home remedies work for milder cases of dark circles where the problem is not persistent. 

Cold compress: A cold eye pad helps in tightening blood vessels thereby decreasing the visibility of dark circles.

Proper sleeping habits: As mentioned before, ensuring that you get quality sleep every night helps with reducing dark circles.

Cucumber eye pads: Slices of cucumber, when placed on the eyes, aids relaxation and reduces swelling. The silica content in cucumber is vital for maintaining healthy tissues. It also contains Vitamin C and water, promoting nourishment and hydrating the skin.

Teabags: You can place soaked tea bags on your eyes to reduce puffiness and dark circles. Placing boiled tea bags in the refrigerator can also be used as a cooling pad on the eyes. You can use Black tea, Green tea, or even Herbal tea. Caffeine in tea bags provides antioxidant properties which stimulate the blood circulation around the eyes.

Facials: The gentle and rhythmic massaging of the muscles around the eyes can increase the circulation of blood and limit the possibility of dark circles around the eyes. However, you have to note that facials can sometimes cause an allergic reaction due to the products used or an improper massage technique. Ensure that you do a patch test before applying any product to your face. 

Almond Oil and Vit E: Vitamin C and E antioxidants containing under-eye roll-ons significantly reduce dark circles. Mix equal amounts of Vit E and Almond oil, and mildly massage it under your eyes and the surrounding areas. Do this just before bedtime, followed by washing the area with cold water, helps in the disappearance of dark circles.

Vitamin K: Place a pad with caffeine and Vit K under the eyes because it helps with reducing wrinkles and dark circles.

Makeup: Makeup does not heal the dark circles, but people make use of concealers or color correctors to hide dark circles. In the event of a reaction, consult a dermatologist immediately.

When should I meet a dermatologist for dark circles?



It’s always best to check with your doctor to get to the root cause of dark circles. There may be conditions like hypothyroidism, excessive dehydration, undernourishment, liver complications, etc. that are manifesting as dark circles, which you may not be aware of. Doctors will also suggest making amends in your eating habits, along with the inclusion of dietary supplements like vitamins, or altering the thyroid functions with proper thyroxine supplementations, you may get rid of your dark circles, naturally. 

Treatments for dark circles

Skin lightening creams

Choosing skin lightening products is a crucial process because you’re going to apply it to delicate parts of your face. If you have chronic dark circles and you want to use skin lightening for dark circle removal, it’s vital to keep in mind that the skin around your eyes is delicate and could be damaged, easily. 

If the skin lightening product is too strong, it can lead to permanent scarring.  You should ensure that consistent use of skin lightening products, around the eyes, helps in faster removal of the dark circles

You should also consider making amends in your diet, which will help speed the healing process; it will help in enhancing skin health, too. To improve the blood supply to the skin, you must also include daily exercise. 

Generally, to lighten the dark circles under the eyes, the dermatologist may recommend a lightening cream containing Azelaic acid, Kolic acid, Glycolic acid or Hydroquinone, and so on. 

Laser therapy:

The laser therapy treatment is only specific to T/T of Dark circles, and it works quite well on Indian skin tones. Laser therapy is proven to be the most effective treatment for dark circles. Lasers can be categorized into two kinds: Non-ablative and ablative lasers. Additionally, periorbital hyperpigmentation has been successfully treated with various noninvasive lasers that target pigment and vascularity. 

Dark circles can be classified based on their intensity, which helps with choosing the appropriate treatment that is classified by their appearance. A specific type of laser is appropriate for specific kinds of dark circles, and the right usage of the laser by identifying your dark circles will be beneficial for the best results.

The treatment application is based on the wavelengths and pulse duration along with how the skin actually absorbs it.  Pulsed dye or diode laser is comparatively less invasive and is said to have the least side effects. Based on the wavelengths, pulse features, and radiant exposure, dark circles may be treated by converging high or low strength lights on the specific area.

Carbon dioxide laser:

This procedure helps in collagen development thereby tightening the skin. It benefits pigmented dark circle removal, it has few side effects, and rarely causes any kind of blistering and permanent scarring.

The extensive procedure which uses a high energy laser could cause swelling, and a burning sensation that lasts for more than 3 days. Whereas the milder procedure with low power Co2 may result in fewer side effects, but can be less effective. 

Fractional Laser:

The procedure by which microscopic areas of the skin are damaged with heat to strengthen the collagen production process, which is a natural process, wherein the body tries to seal up the damage. Hence, the procedure is precise and leaves the surrounding tissues undamaged; the recovery time is minimal and with low risks. This technique is suitable for skin pigmentation mostly with melasma patients. With the rejuvenation of collagen, fractional lasers help cover the veins near the eye region and help combat vascular dark circles.

Non Ablative Lasers

Pulsed Dye Laser:

This Non-ablative method helps to correct the vascular dark circles, by focusing and shrinking blood vessels and decreasing the bluish vascular marking that appears on the skin. Side effects such as reddening and bruising may be noticed post the procedure, but the recovery time maybe only for a few hours. The dark pigmentation may be fully treated in five sessions.

Q-switched lasers:

The dark circles caused by hyperpigmentation can be treated effectively with this procedure. Both heat and light are used to focus on a specific area to damage it, leaving the surrounding areas unaffected. Reddening, along with itching, may persist for a few days, post the procedure.

Chemical peels

It’s a surgical procedure carried out by certified dermatologists wherein, mild chemical agents are applied over the skin causing the upper layer of the skin to peel off. The subsequent new skin appears to be clearer and smoother. This procedure is done on the face, neck, and hands.

Chemical agents such as glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, or carbolic acids are commonly utilized in this procedure. The hyperpigmentation under the eyes could be lightened with the help of Alpha hydroxyl acids like glycolic acid. Chemical peels along with topical creams are used lately for better results. 

Chemical peels may be more than just skin exfoliation. Apart from the removal of dead skin, deep peeling helps eliminate fine lines around the eyes and mouth, and can be effective in treating wrinkles caused by sun exposure. It aids in fading acne scars, freckles, dark spots, age spots, and melasma as well.

There are two types of peels that are used to treat dark under eye circles:

Superficial Peel:

 This may also be called Lunchtime peel and is used for the treatment of rough skin and mild skin dark circles. Mild acid is used to penetrate only the topmost layer of the skin.

Medium Peel:

This treatment is used for exfoliation of the skin’s middle layers by using Glycolic acid. Age spots, Wrinkles, Skin discoloration, Freckles, and Fine lines are treated using Medium peels.

Chemical peel Side Effects:

A chemical peel is a non-invasive procedure with a very high safety profile. Superficial and medium depth peels rarely cause any side effects, that is if they are performed by trained individuals. You will rarely witness side effects like pigmentary changes, allergic reaction, textural changes, and persistent redness.

Your doctor will talk you through the proper primer, the right choice of peeling agent, and the postoperative care, which will help in prevention of any of the above mentioned complications. 

Appropriate age for chemical peels:

Chemical peels are a safe procedure that can be done at any age, after  proper assessment of the patient. It not only reduces hyperpigmentation but also improves the texture of the skin and helps reduce any signs of wrinkles. By aiding in cell turnover, reduced sebum production, clearing clogged pores, and fading the blackheads, a chemical peel will benefit users with healthier and fresh skin.

Chemical Peel Journey: What to expect?


Before heading for a chemical peel procedure, consult your dermatologist. Before doing a chemical peel, the dermatologist will ask about your skin history and conduct an examination to assess the skin. This will allow them to select the correct chemical peel for you.

One must take precautions and avoid waxing, exfoliation, or scrubbing, a week in advance before the procedure, and discontinue using Retinoids or Retinol before 24hours.

During the procedure 

Before conducting the procedure, the dermatologist will suggest you thoroughly clean the face, and they will cover your eyes and hair. Painkillers aren’t necessary for light peels.

The dermatologist may apply a peeling solution to the areas for a definite time, and subsequently with a neutralizing solution You may get burning sensations for 10 minutes during the procedure, for which an ice compress and pain killers may be prescribed.


After the procedure, your skin is quite susceptible to sun damage, and thus it is very important to limit your exposure to the sun and take precautions such as using broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30, and above. 

PRP Therapy:

PRP is an effective treatment that is used to treat under eye bags and dark circles. PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, and it’s a natural, non-invasive solution to treating dark circles. The doctor will extract the patient’s blood and separate the plasma, which consists of collagen and growth factors. The plasma works like a personal regenerative serum that is injected into the under-eye area. This will boost the tissue and trigger the rejuvenation process.

This treatment will result in:

  • Regaining elasticity and plumpness, under the eye
  • Creating new blood vessels that help increase oxygen levels to battle pigmentation
  • Clearing puffiness by draining excess fluid retention and toxins

Heat based rejuvenation and tightening:

Heat based rejuvenation treatment is also known as Thermi, and it can be described as a noninvasive tissue heating treatment that is done in a controlled manner. This treatment helps diminish dark circles and sagging under eyes by tightening the skin. The treatment is mostly painless and does not need any downtime. It usually needs six to ten sessions for the best results.

Autologous Fat Transplant Procedures:

Since dark circles are caused due to thin and translucent under eye skin, it can be successfully treated with autologous fat transplantation. The process includes using the patient’s body fat to plump the affected areas, in this case, the under-eye region.  It’s an effective treatment method for dark circles.


Fillers are used as the option when the soft skin under the eye thins out and  leads to the formation of dark circles. Injection of platelet-rich plasma or hyaluronic acid gel into the portion under the eyes makes the face look younger with the help of new fatty tissues. 

Fillers won’t be helpful if you have dark circles caused by pigmented vascular tissues. Fillers are a good option for people who don’t have a lot of volume under the eyes. As you age, the fatty portions in the face drop resulting in the cheeks and the under eye skin having a fatigued hollow look. Aging may not be the cause, it also could be due to genetics or the shape of your face. 

Fillers may help give a natural lift and smooth transition between the lower eye and upper cheek areas. The best filler in the market, that provides natural under eye effects and a soft blend around the eye area are the HA fillers that can stay up to a year, despite mild corrections through the year. To maintain the balance between “not too much and not too less filler “, you must visit the dermatologist regularly. 

Side effects

The fillers are recommended to be administered to the patient by a highly trained dermatologist or plastic surgeon. The superficial injection of the fillers into the skin causes a bluish appearance. But if they develop puffiness or discoloration, they will need to be dissolved using an enzyme called Hyaluronidase.

There is a possibility of post-injection sores and bruises, post prick puffiness. Swelling can reduce a few days after the procedure, bruises might take a week or two to completely disappear.  You must avoid the use of blood thinners for a week, before the procedure. 


Blepharoplasty is a surgical method in which the dark circle, that is caused by fat deposits or excess skin, is removed. This method is also called eye bag surgery, this cosmetic procedure aids in surgically correcting wrinkles and loose skin under the lower area of the eye. As you age, the skin’s elasticity reduces, which makes it look puffy and wrinkled. You can regain a young and youthful look by doing the under eye surgery. This procedure is done by eliminating the extra skin and fat, and surgically stitching the under-eye together; this results in a firm look. The eye muscles and eyeball are delicate areas that need to be dealt with carefully, hence, the procedure needs precision and a delicate approach. 

Precautions must be taken in advance as the skin under the eye is very sensitive, thereby such invasive procedures must be carried out by a certified dermatologist with prior experience. 

This procedure may only be done under local or general anesthesia. The process may take up to three hours. There may be soreness, bruising, and even bleeding. The post-procedure recovery will take 2 weeks, and you will have to keep a cold compress during the first two days, post-surgery.

The procedure 

Before the surgery, the surgeon will mark the area around the eyelids that will be incised. The process will be conducted when the patient is sedated. The areas of the incision may differ, a surgeon will make incisions into the lower eyelid, and thereby get rid of excess skin and fat, suture it together, and give a smoother look. To give a fuller look, the surgeon may suggest injecting fat into the hollow areas.


The surgeon should initially understand all the manifestations and risks that can occur post-surgery. Hence, it’s always good to talk to your doctor about your medications, allergies, and the health supplements you take; this may significantly help in controlling the reactions. Post the surgery there may also be a chance of developing an infection or a cyst formation from the stitches, double vision or loss of vision, skin discoloration, bleeding, Numbness, Necrosis or death of tissues under the eyes, baggy eyelids, etc.

Post the Blepharoplasty surgery 

Post the procedure, one must take precautions by applying a cold compress for nearly 50 hours to avoid swelling . Additionally, Eye drops and ointments may be recommended to avoid infections. Swelling and overall discomfort may persist for a few days after the surgery. You must limit tedious activities for a few weeks, wear sunglasses to protect the skin from harsh sun rays. The surgeon may have to get rid of sutures a week after the surgery, especially the ones that have been placed on areas that won’t be easily absorbed by the body. Overall recovery might take less than a month after a significant decrease in swellings and bruising. One must always consult the doctor after the surgery, if any minor symptom erupts.

Dietary recommendations to avoid dark circles


Beyond good sleep, drinking lots of water, and exercising, you must also practice good eating habits to achieve a better complexion and eliminate dark circles. Your diet must include :

Food rich in iron:

Anemia is a disease caused by iron deficiency, it restricts the supply of oxygen into tissues of the skin and thereby making under-eye circles more prominent. You must include iron-rich food such as soya beans, spinach, moringa, chia seeds, and dried apricot in your diet.

Collagen rich food:

Collagen is the protein compound present in tissues that enable strength and elasticity in your body. It also helps in replacing the dead skin cells.  Beans, bone broth, leafy vegetables, and soya beans help in increasing the skin collagen.

Vitamin C:

Vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower, and pineapples are loaded with Vitamin C. The vitamin content in these foods helps in defending cells from free radicals, revives the collagen in the skin, strengthens the blood vessels, and hinders the melanin-producing enzymes.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids:

The dark circles caused by the sun rays can be effectively countered by omega 3 fatty acid, as it shields the skin from radiation and also defends the body against allergies. food such as walnuts, flaxseeds, fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables contains Omega 3 fatty acids in ample amounts.

Vitamin E:

This powerful antioxidant helps shield the skin from environmental pollutants and ultraviolet rays. Vitamin E can be found in food such as nuts, eggs, milk, vegetable oils, etc.

Vitamin K:

Celery, cucumber, thyme, grapes, plum, pear, eggplant, and Kidney beans are a good source of Vitamin K and help strengthen the capillary walls to prevent seepage of deoxygenated blood which leads to the formation of dark circles. It also helps regulate blood clotting.

Sleep inducing food:

The major catalyst for aggravating the dark circle is sleep deprivation.There is food that helps combat sleep deprivation and prepares the body for full night sleep are Oatmeals, cherries, nuts, oats, whole grain bread containing melatonin. Passion fruit, chamomile, and lemon balm tea help with inducing sleep, as well.

Dark chocolate:

The flavanol content of the dark chocolate helps improve blood flow and combats sleep deprivation. Controlling your alcohol intake and consuming a diet rich in salt can significantly reduce dark circle formation.

Hear from our doctors

Why Choose Clearskin for dark circles treatment?

ClearSkin is India’s premier skincare and aesthetics clinic since 2006. We are equipped with more than 100 skincare experts and dermatology surgeons, making our name synonymous with safe, modern, and effective skin and cosmetic treatments. Our mission is to help you regain confidence and put forth the best version of yourself. Consult with us for a permanent solution to your dark circles and eye puffiness problem.

We can help you recover your complexion through evidence-based treatment methods and are transparent about the expected results to ensure customer satisfaction. We use the best-in-class treatments and technologies that are approved by the FDA standards. This ensures that the highest safety protocols are followed, and enables us to deliver great results for our patients. 

Dark circles FAQs:Your questions answered

How do I get rid of dark circles?

Drinking lots of water and using a cold compress can reduce eye bags quickly. But for long term reduction, one must make lifestyle changes such as including lots of leafy vegetables and fresh fruits in their diet.

What deficiency causes dark circles?

Dark circles are caused due to deficiency of iron, which leads to anemia. This disease makes it difficult for carrying oxygen to your body tissues, including the areas under the eye. Thereby, resulting in dark circles. 

Can cold compress reduce dark circles?

The use of a cold compress may help reduce swelling and dilate blood vessels. It helps reduce puffiness due to dark circles. One may wrap ice cubes in a soft cloth and massage it around the eyes or even placing a cloth dipped in cold water and placing it on the eye area also helps.

Does massaging under the eyes reduce dark circles?

The blood flow around the eye area can be regulated by gentle tapping motions with the middle finger and index fingers in a circular motion around the eyes.

What are the most effective treatments for dark circles?

The time taken to get rid of dark circles can be determined by the nature of the dark circles themselves. Quality sleep is required if the dark circles are caused due to weakness and stress. Continuous treatment may be required along with changes in diet and lifestyle may be needed for stubborn dark circles. One may not be able to remove dark circles completely, but there can be several techniques that may help minimize the appearance of it. 

For treating your skin condition, feel free to get in touch with one of our best dermatologists in Pune. You can also call on +919584584111 to book an appointment at one of our skin clinics near you.


About the Author: Dr Dhanraj Chavan

Dr. Dhanraj Chavan is a globally trained, young, and dynamic dermatologist. He is a Consultant Dermatologist and Varicose Vein Specialist at Clear Skin, VeinMD, and HairMD.

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