How to Get Rid of Dark Circles Under Eyes, According to Dermatologists

If you’re wondering how to get rid of dark circles under eyes, you’re not alone: According to dermatologists, dark circles and puffiness around the eyes are some of the most common concerns their patients have.

“Dark circles are a common cosmetic complaint, and unfortunately can be a difficult issue to treat,” Lauren Penzi, M.D., board-certified dermatologist at New York City’s MDCS Dermatology, tells Glamour. Difficult, but not impossible: there are plenty of expert-backed tips and techniques for addressing the issue. It’s simply a matter of finding what causes yours.

“In many cases dark under-eye circles can be improved, but because there are many factors that can contribute, it is important to remember to treat all the possible factors,” adds Marisa Garshick, M.D., board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “Treatments can include at-home products as well as in-office procedures.” There are also at-home DIY remedies and lifestyle changes that can help, such as keeping your head elevated at night.

From DIY treatments to potent skin care products, keep reading for top dermatologists’ guidance on how to get rid of dark circles under eyes.

What causes dark circles under eyes?

“Determining the cause or causes of dark circles is an important first step in deciding which treatments will be most effective for your dark circles, says New York City board-certified dermatologist Brendan Camp, MD. One tip for identifying the root, he says, is holding a mirror in front of your face and looking up. “Gaze up at the ceiling while holding the mirror. If your dark circles improve, they may be caused by shadows from hollowing,” he explains.

This is a natural part of aging, says Dr. Garshick. “As we get older, we lose collagen and volume which may appear as dark circles as a result of the hollowing and increased shadow effect,” she says. However under-eye circles are commonly the result of both volume loss and hyperpigmentation. “The eyelid skin is thin and delicate, and gets thinner with time, so the underlying blood vessels may become more visible which can also contribute to the appearance of dark circles, and hyperpigmentation, or a brown discoloration, can also contribute to dark circles,” she says.

Hyperpigmentation can result from environmental stressors like sun damage or family history, adds Dr. Penzi. “Genetics play a major role in under-eye circles, and some people just simply have more pigmentation in their under-eye skin,” she says.

As for what makes pre-existing dark circles worse? Dr. Penzi points to dry and dehydrated skin, irritated and inflamed skin, and sun damage as common culprits, and Dr. Garshick notes that allergies can worsen the problem as well. “Those with allergies or those who frequently rub their eyes may notice discoloration as a result of chronic rubbing of the skin,” she says.

How to prevent dark circles

Sleep, hydration, and a healthy diet

“Getting adequate sleep, staying hydrated, and maintaining a healthy diet are essential lifestyle factors that are key as a first step to preventing dark circles,” Dr. Garshick explains, and Dr. Camp notes that sleep deprivation can worsen dark circles too. “Sleep deprivation can accentuate dark circles related to blood vessels under our eyes; without enough sleep the vessels dilate and impart a blue/purple appearance due to venous congestion,” he says.

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