Treatments for Dark Undereye Circles

Image by, courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt

If you've gotten a good night of sleep but still have dark circles under your eyes, it may be the cause of an allergy or aging. Usually, dark circles under the eyes are not the sign of a serious illness, states the Mayo Clinic. Dark circles under the eyes can be treated with a variety of over-the-counter and prescription remedies.


Treatments for dark circles under the eyes have results that can range from subtle to drastic, depending on the price point. Home remedies usually cause gradual results and may not work for everyone. Over-the-counter bleaching treatments and creams may work slightly better than home remedies, but will not bleach the skin as much as prescription treatments, which provide stronger medication. Surgical treatments will provide the most drastic results, but are also the most expensive and require the longest recovery time.


Home treatments for under-eye circles include cold compresses, propping the head up with extra pillows while sleeping to encourage drainage, wearing sunscreen to prevent pigment underneath the eyes from getting darker, and spraying inside the nose with saline solution to relieve sinus pressure under the eyes. Over-the-counter and prescription under-eye creams include vitamin K, vitamin C and bleaching creams. Surgical treatments include laser procedures and fat grafting.


Cold compresses temporarily reduce dark circles under the eyes by reducing the appearance of dark blood vessels under the eyes, states the Mayo Clinic. Additionally, protecting the skin under the eyes from the sun will prevent dark pigmentation due to sun damage under the eyes. Dark pigmentation can be reduced with laser treatments, while fat grafting can disguise dark veins under the skin. Bleaching creams, as well as creams containing vitamin K and vitamin C, can reduce the pigmentation on the skin underneath the eyes.


Effects of home remedies like cold compresses, propping the head up on a pillow and using saline sinus sprays are temporary and must be continued every day to see results. Using sunscreen will prevent under-eye circles from getting darker, but may not reverse the sun damage already present under the eyes. Bleaching creams, as well as creams containing vitamin K and vitamin C, will brighten under-eye circles as long as the cream is being used. Laser treatments may need to be repeated over the course of several months to achieve lasting results, while fat grafting is the most permanent procedure.

Expert Insight

According to the Mayo Clinic, causes of under-eye circles include heredity, eczema, allergies, nasal congestion, drinking alcohol, drinking caffeine, smoking, pigmentation problems in black and Asian individuals, exposure to sun, age, thinning skin under the eyes and loss of collagen under the eyes. After determining the cause of the dark under-eye circles, a doctor can determine the best treatment option for the patient.