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Overview of Dark Circles (under eyes): Definition, symptoms, causes and treatment

Team AckoJan 17, 2024

Do you often feel like your skin looks dull no matter how much sleep you get or how much you take care of your skin? If so, you are not alone. Dark Circles (DC) are a common skin problem causing dark, grey, or purple circles to appear around the eyes. Many people turn to over-the-counter treatments to reduce the appearance of DC. These treatments range from creams, concealers, serums, and eye masks, to lifestyle changes and home remedies. This article will give you an overview of Dark Circles under eyes, along with effective home remedies and treatment options.




Signs of Dark Circles

Here is a list of some common symptoms of DC.

  • Visible discolouration or darkening of the skin around the eyes

  • Sunken eyes due to the thinness of skin in the area

  • Puffiness or bags underneath the eyes

  • Reddish, purplish, or bluish tones under the eyes

  • Fatigue and a dull appearance on the skin

  • A feeling of heaviness or dryness in the eye area

Causes of Dark Circles

Listed below is the range of factors that cause Dark Circles under eyes.

  • Genetics can contribute to having DC, as they can run in the family.

  • Aging can contribute to DC, as the skin loses its elasticity and becomes thinner with age. This causes the darkened blood vessels around the eyes to become more visible, making the area appear darker.

  • Allergies may also cause DC due to the inflammation and irritation of the nose and eyes. This results in increased blood flow to the area, which can cause the darkening of the skin.

  • Certain skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, can cause this condition.

  • Inadequate sleep and lack of hydration can cause this condition due to the lack of rest the body needs and the decrease in hydration levels, which can cause the skin to dry out and darken.

  • Exposure to the sun can result in DC. Harmful UV rays can damage the skin and can cause it to become darker and more prominent.

  • Smoking and stress can lead to DC due to the toxins and free radicals released in the body.

Types of Dark Circles

There are mainly four types of Dark Circles, which are discussed below.

1. Bluish tone DC

These types of Dark Circles are generally caused by genetics as well as environmental factors such as stress, poor sleep and lack of nutrients.

2. Prominent vein DC

They are caused by a combination of ageing, genetics, stress and lack of sleep.

3. Greyish tone DC

These are generally caused by allergies, genetic hyperpigmentation or chronic rubbing of the skin around the eyes.

4. Brownish tone DC

These can be caused by genetics, and factors such as stress, smoking, sun damage and lack of sleep. The appearance of such Dark Circles can also be exacerbated by ageing and a poor diet. 

5. Purplish tone Dark Circles

These types of Dark Circles can be caused by allergies, poor circulation, lack of sleep and certain medications. 

Different types of treatment to reduce Dark Circles

Here is a rundown of some of the best treatments for Dark Circles.

1. Treatments with skin care products

  • Apply an eye cream with caffeine or retinol to help improve collagen production and plump up the skin. 

  • Look for eye creams with skin-brightening ingredients such as vitamin C, kojic acid, or arbutin. 

  • Wear sunscreen every day with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect the delicate skin around the eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. 

  • Use eye drops to reduce puffiness and redness. 

2. Treatments with lifestyle changes 

  • Get regular, quality sleep. 

  • Reduce stress by incorporating relaxation and mindfulness into your daily routine. 

  • Eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet. 

  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption and smoking.

3. Treatments with medical procedures

  • A chemical peel can help lighten the dark circles.

  • Injectable collagen can help temporarily fill in the sunken area to create a more even look.

  • Laser treatments or surgery can help reduce the appearance of DC.

4. Treatments with home remedies

  • Cold compresses: Place a cold compress or chilled tea bags to reduce inflammation.

  • Cucumber slices: Place slices of chilled cucumbers on closed eyelids for 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Rose water: Dip a cotton ball in rose water, and then place it on your closed eyelids for 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Potato slices: Place thin slices of potato on your closed eyelids for 10 to 15 minutes to help lighten the dark circles.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some common queries along with answers regarding Dark Circles under eyes.


What causes DC?

DC may be caused by genetics, allergies, lack of sleep, or increased pigmentation. Other factors can include sun exposure, eczema, or even stress and fatigue.

What are some of the best treatments for DC?

Some of the best treatments for DC include laser therapy, chemical peels, skin needling, and using topical creams and serums designed to reduce their appearance. In addition, drinking plenty of water, getting a good night sleep, and using eye cream can help reduce the look of DC

Are DC treatable?

Yes, Dark Circles can be treated with a variety of treatments, depending on the cause and severity. For mild to moderate cases, topical creams, serums, and eye masks may be all that is needed. For more severe cases, you may need to see a dermatologist for more advanced treatments, such as laser therapy or chemical peels.

Which deficiency causes DC?

A deficiency in iron, vitamin B12, Vitamin C, and certain other vital nutrients can cause DC. Also, dehydration can cause this condition, as not enough fluids can cause the skin to lose its elasticity. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of water can help keep your body’s nutrient levels balanced and help reduce the appearance of DC.

Can DC be serious?

In most cases, Dark Circles are not a sign of a serious underlying health issue. However, if you are experiencing persistent DC, it's best to see your doctor to rule out any potential medical conditions.

Is Vitamin E good for DC?

Yes, Vitamin E helps with skin cell regeneration and can help reduce the appearance of DC. Applying Vitamin E oil directly to the affected area or using eye creams or serums containing Vitamin E can help reduce their appearance over time.

Can stress cause DC?

Stress and fatigue can cause DC by reducing blood circulation and making the skin around the eyes look pale or discoloured. Also, lack of sleep can worsen the appearance of DC. Taking steps to reduce stress, such as meditation, deep breathing, and getting plenty of rest, can be helpful in reducing their appearance.

Are Dark Circles hormonal?

Hormonal changes, such as menstruation or menopause, pregnancy, and certain medications, can cause DC.

How can DC be prevented?

Dark Circles can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle and limiting sun exposure. Also, getting plenty of sleep, avoiding irritants such as smoke, and using sunscreen-containing moisturisers can help reduce their appearance. Using a product specifically designed to lessen the appearance of Dark Circles, such as creams or serums, may be beneficial.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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