What causes dark circles under the eyes?

6 answers | Last updated: Sep 30, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

What causes dark circles under the eyes?

Expert Answers

Jessica J. Krant, MD, MPH, is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology, including Mohs micrographic skin cancer surgery. In addition to her work in private practice, Krant is assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

The reason for dark circles under the eyes is more complex than it seems on the surface. There can also be more than one cause, and it can differ between people. The tissue of the lower eyelid is complex: it contains skin (including dermis beneath the surface), fat, many blood vessels, tissue fluid, and nerves.

One common cause of dark circles is unidentified allergies. If an allergy is unidentified but causes a low-level irritation of the eye, especially if it causes itching that leads to rubbing of the eye, it can cause dark circles. Another is aging, with the natural thinning of skin that comes along with it. This allows the vessels beneath the surface to show through more, which can lead to a shadow. A third cause is inflammation which can cause the tiny vessels to be a little bit leaky, and leak red blood cells into the tissue, which can appear purplish to brown when they reach the surface. Finally, genetics and family history is a big cause of natural dark circles under the eye which are very difficult to reverse.

Gentle eye treatment, sunscreen, sunglasses, and various creams are used to try to eliminate dark circles and bags under the eyes, but no single treatment is proven to do the trick for all.

Community Answers

Kathleen.j. answered...

As a child and younger adult, I had dark, sunken in circles under my eyes. My doctor said it was due to allergies or ill health. I qualified for both. As I grew older they changed from sunken in & dark to puffy out & dark. All the "helps" I've used produced nothing. Several family members (from cousins, uncles, sister, father,) were blessed with the same puffs. So you are right on track to say heredity & allergies were to blame. No magic solutions!

Biff answered...

preperation H is effective remedy for intermittently reducing lower lid puffiness as it constricts the vessels and can provide intermittent and temporary relief.

also, consider blepheroplasty which is an effective surgical procedure for permanent reduction of lower lid puffiness.

sleep and allergy treatments are also suggested.

Winenot answered...

Caffeine and cold are supposed to help some. So cold wet tea bags might be worth a try.

Oopsadaisy answered...

I did Homeopathic treatment & it helped with allergies. My dark circles seemed to vanish but I do have to keep up with better sleep. What I used was lymph toner tincture so basically draining the lymph nodes. It helped with my immune system & also stress. I was so thrilled to find a great nutritionist who was educated in this area. If you try this treatment you must be patient & open minded also.

Sophie addison answered...

Yes we got dark circle under the eyes when we didnt sleep minimum of 6 hr a day but to remove this you need a good and healty sleep daily so you can recover and try to fill your eyes with kajal(in hindi(black in colour)) lightly on both the eyes by finger it will help you to recover fast.Lots of eye creams[bit.ly] contain caffeine, which does have de-puffing properties.read more on how caffeine works to perk up tired-looking eyes