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Effective Dark Circles Prevention and Treatment Techniques

Dark circles, caused by either pigment or blood vessel buildup in the area around the eyes, are an all-too-common issue. Fortunately, there are methods to prevent and treat dark circles and maintain a healthy, youthful appearance.

This comprehensive guide covers dark circles under the eyes, their causes, types, and treatment methods to improve not only your appearance but also your quality of life.

Dr. Szerman explains treatment for dark circles:


What Causes Dark Circles and Why Do They Appear?

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Dark Circles

Dark circles around the eyes are a common issue that can cause low self-esteem in those who suffer from them. These circles appear as dark or brown spots below the eyes and can have either congenital or acquired reasons.

Although no definite statistics can be provided, dark circles are much more common than many believe and can affect people of any gender or age. Initially, these under-eye bags may seem harmless, but they can worsen if not given the appropriate care and attention.

What Causes Dark Circles?

Dark circles under the eyes are often caused by inadequate sleep, poor circulation, and genetics. Other potential causes and exacerbating factors include:

  • Genetic and hereditary factors.
  • Dilated blood vessels and poor circulation in the thin skin beneath the eyes.
  • Physical exhaustion and stress.
  • Lack of sleep due to insomnia.
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Smoking habits.
  • Substance use
  • Respiratory diseases.
  • Stress, both physical and emotional.
  • Failing to use UV protection when outdoors.
  • Facial bone structure and eyeball depth.

As time passes, the sagging of skin around the eyes, the remodeling of bones, and the loss of supporting fat can worsen the appearance of dark circles under the eyes that are caused by the natural aging process.

Additionally, weight loss can change the anatomy of the eyelid and create sunken circles under the eyes.

What Are the Different Types of Dark Circles?

There are four types of dark circles under eyes — differentiated by color, pigment intensity, eyelid structure, and underlying causes.

To successfully treat dark circles, it is essential to identify the specific cause. There are four main types of dark circles to distinguish between.

Vascular Dark Circles

Bluish dark circles are often colored purple, red, or blue, are typically caused by poor blood circulation, often due to lack of sleep or very thin and transparent skin beneath the eyes. Vascular Dark Circles appear because the vessels within the region contain dark pigmented blood, easily visible against light skin.

Pigmented Dark Circles

Brownish dark circles around the eyes are caused by excessive production of melanin in the skin of the eyelids, resulting in dark patches or brown spots. This is particularly common in darker skin tones, but may also occur in lighter complexions.

Sunken Dark Circles

Darkish brown/black eye circles, known as “sunken eyes”, are caused by shadows cast due to saggy skin directly under the lower eyelids. They may be caused by a deeper eye socket, or volume loss due to aging or drastic weight loss.

Combination Dark Circles

The most common type of dark circles are combination dark circles, which are a combination of three different types and typically have multiple causes.


Are Eye Bags and Dark Eye Circles the Same Thing?

While always used together, they are actually two different things. Eye bags are caused by fat buildup, sagging skin, and weak muscles around the eyes, while dark eye circles are the darkening of the under-eye skin.

Eye bags can make one appear tired and aged. To reduce these effects a surgical treatment is often performed to remove excess skin and soften the area, rather than a treatment for dark eye circles.

Dark circles are discolored, depressed areas beneath the eyes that usually require non-surgical treatments. They are distinct from bags under the eyes and should not be confused with one another.

However, eye bags can cause dark eye circles, as there are plenty of vessels in the skin that can lead to pigmentation of the under-eye skin.

How Can Dark Circles Be Reduced?

Dark Circles

Your concealer and foundation are not the only options to cover the look of dark circles under your eyes. Adopting healthy skincare and lifestyle habits can also help banish these confidence-sapping shadows.

The beauty industry has developed innovative treatments for dark circles, giving those with this skin problem an effective way to conceal imperfections and enhance their appearance.

Using cosmetics to cover dark circles may provide temporary remedy, but is not an effective treatment. The products do not address the underlying causes of dark circles.

If you want to reduce the appearance of dark circles under your eyes over time, it’s important to find the right treatment for your specific case. Try these recommendations to reduce your dark circles:

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Treatment for Vascular Dark Circles

To reduce the appearance of Vascular Dark Circles, the best treatment is one that improves circulation, brightens pigmentation, moisturizes, and thickens the skin beneath the eyes.

Treatments such as intense pulsed light, laser and lymphatic drainage can improve skin condition. Skinboosters and hyaluronic acid are beneficial for those with very thin skin. Caffeine-based creams can also help to boost local circulation.

Treatment for Pigmented Dark Circles

To soften the appearance of brownish dark circles, consider chemical peels, laser, and alpha arbutin whitening creams. These methods can effectively reduce the dark, brownish pigmentation.

Treatment for Sunken Dark Circles

To reduce the appearance of dark brown/black eye circles and that “sunken eye look,” one of the best treatments is to restore volume with hyaluronic acid fillers. This treatment provides fast, lasting results that not only fill the area, but also hydrate it for a well-rested look.

Treatment for Combination Dark Circles

The causes of combination dark circles vary, so the treatment for them does too. It’s best to seek a professional to identify the specific causes and determine the best treatment and care for the best results.

How Can You Avoid Dark Circles Under Your Eyes?

To reduce the appearance of dark circles, keep up a regular skin care routine and be mindful of the following tips:

1. Get plenty of restful sleep

Lack of sleep can make the eyes look tired and dark. This is due to a decrease in blood circulation caused by high stress levels from not sleeping enough or having many sleepless nights.

Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep daily; shut off lights and screens one hour before bedtime; and prioritize this important part of your day.

2. Wear sunglasses to protect the delicate eye area from the sun

Prolonged sun exposure without adequate hydration and UV protection can cause darkening of the under-eye area and damage to the skin.

To minimize exposure to strong sunlight, plan to spend time outdoors in early morning or late afternoon, and wear sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) even on cloudy or rainy days.

3. Eat a nutritious diet and engage in physical activity regularly

Eating healthy foods is necessary for optimal bodily functioning. Combining this with an active lifestyle helps to balance the body, improve blood circulation and benefit the vessels in the under-eye skin.

4. Thoroughly remove all your makeup before going to bed

Get in the habit of cleansing your face each night before bed to help prevent dark circles. Allowing your skin to breathe and perspire can help improve the circulation in the area and reduce skin pigmentation.

5. Reduce stress

Stress causes many health and mental issues, including dark circles under the eyes. Although it can be hard to avoid stress, take the time to relax and do things you enjoy, such as reading, listening to music, or meditating.

Does Using Home Remedies Reduce Dark Circles?

Home remedies can be effective for treating mild cases of dark circles, particularly when the cause is minor, but a dermatologist should always be consulted for the best treatment.

Some home remedies for dark circles include:

  • Get enough restful sleep – Although it may seem strange, getting enough sleep is one of the best remedies to reduce dark circles under the eyes. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of quality rest every night. True rest is when the body and mind are undisturbed, allowing for a peaceful night’s sleep.
  • Application of cold packs – Cold packs can reduce the intensity of dark circles and improve their appearance. This is because cold has the ability to narrow blood vessels.
  • Lower sun exposure – Decrease sun exposure to reduce the appearance of spots and dark circles, especially when UV rays are strong.
  • Skin hydration – Hydrating the skin around the eyes can help activate the area and improve circulation. A good combination of ingredients for this purpose is caffeine, hyaluronic acid, retinol, and vitamin E.
  • Cucumber – Apply cool cucumber slices to your eyes and leave them on for 10 minutes, repeating this process two or more times a day. This old-fashioned remedy works!

What Are the Treatments for Dark Circles?

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Three treatments often used for reducing the appearance of dark circles under the eyes are Pulsed Light, Peeling and Filling. Learn the specifics of each procedure, their effectiveness, and advantages.

Pulsed Light Therapy

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a pain-free treatment for dark circles and hyperpigmented spots. It works by sending light into the skin where it is absorbed by the tissue, renewing it. This procedure is quick and effective, especially for treating vascular dark circles.


Peeling is a great option for reducing dark circles under the eyes. It works by using acids or substances to soften wrinkles, lighten spots and marks, and renewing the skin cells to eliminate concentrated pigments like dark circles

Dark circles require evaluation to determine the appropriate type of peeling. Common treatments are glycolic acid, hydroquinone, and retinoic acid peelings which lighten skin. Other possible treatments include Jessner peelings, which combine salicylic acid, lactic acid, and resorcinol.

Hyaluronic Acid Filling Treatment

Filling with hyaluronic acid – a substance produced naturally by our bodies – is an effective treatment for dark circles under the eyes. Hyaluronic acid stimulates collagen production and attracts water molecules, keeping the skin hydrated to reduce dark circles. Needles are used to apply the acid to the eye area in a quick, pain-free procedure with no downtime.

When Should You Consult a Dermatologist?

If persistent dark circles don’t go away with home remedies and are making you feel unhappy with your appearance and damaging your self-esteem, seek the help of a dermatologist.

This professional’s evaluation will determine the cause of your dark circles and recommend the best treatment approach.

What Is the Cost for Dark Circles Treatment?

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Take our free online quiz to discover the best treatment option for you. Plus, get a cost estimate by clicking the banner below.

Find out if the treatment works for you.


Frequently Asked Questions About Dark Circles

Can Dark Circles Be Permanently Eliminated?

First and foremost, it is essential for anyone with dark circles under their eyes to be evaluated by a dermatologist before treating the issue. Although treatments for dark circles are effective, their permanence is usually elusive due to the delicate nature of the skin in the under-eye area and individual tendencies. This has been noted by the Brazilian Society of Dermatology. Considering this, treatments for dark circles can help reduce and prevent further damage, as well as soften its appearance.

Do Dark Circles Indicate a Health Problem?

The answer is, yes. Dark circles under the eyes may signify an underlying health issue. If they appear in combination with other symptoms, it is best to seek out the advice of a doctor. Possible diseases linked to dark circles include dermatitis, conjunctivitis, migraine, thyroid issues, fluid retention, kidney or liver malfunction, endocrine diseases, vascular issues, or hepatitis. Especially if the dark circles become more pronounced with time, medical evaluation is recommended.

Are Dark Circles Purely Genetic?

Dark circles under the eyes are not only hereditary. Atopic or contact dermatitis (CDS), pigmentation irregularities, poor blood circulation, excessive scratching/rubbing of the eyes, sun exposure and poor skin cleansing. Failure to remove makeup, lack of sleep, stress, disease, smoking, alcohol/drugs and lack of skin hydration can all contribute to the development of dark circles.

Does Diet Have Any Influence on Dark Circles?

Yes, it does. Consuming nutrient-rich foods can benefit not only your overall health, but also the appearance of dark circles under the eyes. Unbalanced diets and sensitivity to allergens like gluten, milk protein, and soy may also cause dark circles. Pay attention to what you eat and how your body reacts; certain food items such as oily fish, flaxseed, ginger, green tea, olive and macadamia oil, broccoli, Brazil nuts, almonds, lychee, and vitamin E-rich foods can help reduce dark circles under the eyes. Evaluate what you eat, paying attention to how your body reacts. Eating foods rich in antioxidants can benefit not only the treatment of dark circles, but also the entire body. These foods provide firmness to the skin and reinforce the strength of the blood vessels, thus preventing rupture or fluid accumulation. Drinking plenty of water also aids in the prevention and treatment of this issue, as it helps to detoxify and cleanse the body. Water detoxifies, cleans and purifies the body, improving blood circulation and aiding metabolic reactions. 

What Is Blepharoplasty, and When Is It Recommended?

Blepharoplasty is a surgical procedure designed to improve the appearance of sagging and swollen eyelids, or “fat bags” beneath the eyes. By removing excess skin and readjusting eyelid contours, this surgery can help restore a more youthful look. It is indicated for those who are bothered by and have low self-esteem due to their fat bags and dark circles, although it is not necessarily a treatment for the latter.

Can Massage Help Diminish Dark Circles Under Eyes?

Massaging the eye area can help drain fluid and stimulate blood flow, reducing swelling. Try to massage the area daily, preferably before bed. Start with your ring finger, applying gentle pressure from the inner corner of the upper eyelid to the outer corner. Repeat the same motion on the lower eyelid. Repeat a few times, and end the massage by lightly tapping the area with your index and middle fingers, then close the eyes using your ring finger and press the tear duct for 10 seconds with a small circular motion.

Treatment Statistics

A study published in Surgical Cosmetic Dermatol found that 63.7% of participants had dark circles under their eyes, 44.7% suffered from rhinitis (allergy), and 48.4% snored at night.

Dark Circles Before and After

Examine the results of Clinica de Pele’s treatment for dark circles in Rio de Janeiro, comparing the before and after images below.

Olheiras Preenchimento
Olheiras Escuras
Olheiras Tratamento
Olheiras Escuras Tratamento
Olheiras Tratamento



The Clinica de Pele in Rio de Janeiro offers effective treatment for dark circles under the eyes, as evidenced by the following testimonials:

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Dark circles under the eyes are a common concern, but one that can be treated. Specific treatments can reduce the appearance of these circles, enabling those affected to have a better appearance. At Clínica de Pele, we have the gold-standard treatments for dark circles! Reach out to us to find out more and see how we can help you soften dark eye circles and improve your appearance.

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