If discoloration and swelling appear under just one eye and seem to get worse over time, talk to your primary care doctor.
If you want a more lasting solution than concealers and over-the-counter creams can provide, see your dermatologist for advice. More treatments are available for dark circles under eyes than ever before and range from makeup and laser therapy to, in some cases, surgery. Because results aren't always perfect, however, it helps to have realistic expectations.
Depending on what's causing the circles under your eyes, your doctor may recommend prescription creams or a combination of treatments to erase or reduce discoloration. Laser therapy or chemical peels can be helpful in some cases. Hollows that cause shadows can be smoothed with injectable fillers, and surgery can eliminate puffy lids.
However, dark under-eye circles usually aren't a medical problem, and home remedies for dark circles under eyes may be all you need to help manage this condition.
Mild to moderate dark circles often respond well to simple and inexpensive treatments, such as:
Dec. 11, 2010
- Cold. Try a cold compress, two chilled teaspoons or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a soft cloth to temporarily reduce dilated and discolored under-eye blood vessels. Or try a cooled, used teabag.
- Extra pillows. Elevate your head with two or more pillows to prevent puffiness that develops when fluid pools in your lower eyelids.
- Extra sleep. Although short nights don't usually cause under-eye circles, a lack of sleep makes you paler and more hollow-eyed, so shadows and circles you already have are more obvious.
- Dark glasses and sunscreen. Although a tan might hide dark circles in the short term, in the long run, the extra pigment it produces can make circles worse.
- Saline washes or sprays. Rinsing your sinuses with a saltwater solution (mix 1/4 teaspoon sea salt with 2 cups warm water) or over-the-counter saline spray can help relieve nasal congestion.
- Cosmetics. Hundreds of skin creams that claim to reduce or prevent under-eye circles crowd department store and drugstore shelves. The results of one study showed that a serum containing plant-based compounds, including root extracts and Brazilian suma, significantly improved the appearance of dark under-eye circles.
- Camouflage. The right concealer can do just that — hide dark circles. If the circles under your eyes are bluish, use a peach-colored concealer, not one that's white or gray. And avoid scented products and those containing salicylic or glycolic acid, which can irritate delicate eye tissue, making redness and swelling worse.
- Roh MR, et al. Infraorbital dark circles: Definition, causes, and treatment options. Dermatologic Surgery. 2009;35:1163.
- Eberlin S, et al. Effects of a Brazilian herbal compound as a cosmetic eyecare for periorbital hyperchromia ("dark circles"). Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2009;8:127.
- Oppenheimer JJ. The nose and its relationship to the eyes. Current Allergy and Asthma Report. 2010;10:75.
- Roh MR, et al. Treatment of infraorbital dark circles by autologous fat transplantation: A pilot study. British Journal of Dermatology. 2009;160:1022.
- Momosawa A, et al. Combined therapy using Q-switched ruby laser and bleaching treatment with tretinoin and hydroquinone for periorbital skin hyperpigmentation in Asians. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2008;121:282.