The Best Ways to Minimize Dark Circles Under the Eyes

by Melissa King ; Updated July 18, 2017

A woman laying down with cucumber slices over her eyes.

moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images

Dark under-eye circles can make you look tired and sap youthful freshness, so you want them gone fast. Dark circles can have different causes, making a one-size-fits-all treatment extremely hard to come by. At-home remedies and store-bought creams might work, but if your circles are caused by genetics or a health condition, getting rid of them isn't as simple. Regardless of the source, it's a snap to cover up those under-eye shadows with a few savvy beauty tricks.

Preventing Raccoon Eyes

Lack of sleep is a major cause of under-eye circles and puffiness. Not everyone needs exactly eight hours, but you should try to sleep until you feel rested. Strangely, sleeping itself can sometimes cause eye circles. To avoid this, sleep with an extra pillow to keep your head slightly elevated to reduce puffiness. Allergies can be another cause. If you've got them, ask your doctor for antihistamines or a prescription allergy medication. UV rays are another culprit; keep delicate eye-area skin protected with SPF 15 or higher sunscreen when you step outside.

DIY Remedies

Hemorrhoid cream isn't advertised as a dark-circle fix, but it may do just that. It tightens loose, puffy skin, which minimizes the way circles look. The cream can have an odd smell and potentially dry the area, so mix a bit with your moisturizer if it bothers you. Cold temperatures shrink dark circles, too. Stick a cold pack or a pair of teaspoons in the freezer for a few minutes, then lay back and rest the icy objects over your eyes. Leave the spoons or cold pack in place for 30 to 60 seconds. Chilled cucumbers have a similar cooling and puff-reducing effect.

Drugstore and Dermatologist Treatments

Press down gently on your under-eye skin. If the circles get lighter, they're probably caused by blood vessels showing through thin skin. Treat the area with a nightly retinoid cream to build skin-thickening collagen. Follow up with a rich eye cream. If the dark circles remain when the skin is pressed on, the likely culprit is sun exposure or hereditary pigmentation. Lighten the skin with a cream containing hydroquinone, kojic acid or licorice extract. If you have hollow spaces below your eyes, ask a dermatologist about hyaluronic-acid filler injections to help minimize the sunken look. Effects typically last for about six months.

Cover Up

Sometimes dark circles just won't go away. Thankfully, there's a concealer for every skin tone and all types of circles. If your circles are blue-tinged, cover them with a peach concealer. Yellow concealer hides purplish circles, and green-toned products cover redness. Before applying a concealer, massage a dab of color-correcting primer under each eye. Put the concealer on after your eye shadow, and only use a small amount -- too much will look caked on. A small, fluffy concealer brush works well for application.

Photo Credits

  • moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images

About the Author

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.