01-21-15 | Posted by

Unless you’re a raccoon or a panda bear–and we’re willing to bet it all that you’re not–dark circles are anything but cute. They make you look tired, haggard and older than you actually are.

You don’t have to be sleep-deprived to have dark circles. Washington, DC based, board certified dermatologist, Cheryl Burgess, MD, FAAD says “those with seasonal allergies, eczema and lighter-skinned complexions are more prone to dark circles,” but they can happen to anyone.

  • With aging there is loss of bony structure around the eye area. This can cause concavities of the skin which absorb light creating shadowing and darkness.
  • Visibly prominent blood vessels under the skin are caused by red blood cells seeping out of the blood vessels in this area. When the cells die, they leave behind iron which oxidizes and appears as a brown discoloration under the skin.
  • Skin reactions like allergic contact dermatitis can cause itching and rubbing of the eyes which can lead to a darkened, dry and even a leathery appearance around the eyes.

The good news is, a variety of treatments can minimize dark circles so they’re much less noticeable or disappear entirely. Dr. Burgess offers suggestions on how they can be dealt with depending on their origin:


Oral anti-histamine therapy and topical 1% hydrocortisone cream can treat atopic dermatitis and eczema. If the reason for the reaction is exposure to an allergen in your skincare regimen, immediately discontinue using.


Over-the-counter products containing caffeine and other cosmeceutical eye creams can constrict blood vessels and minimize the seepage of red blood cells.

In-office, injectable fillers in the tear trough area will minimize the appearance of visible blood vessels underneath the skin. The filler should not be injected too superficially in order to prevent a bluish discoloration (aka the Tyndall effect). Belotero is highly effective in this area. *If opting to get filler injections, be sure to see a board-certified Oculoplastic Surgeon, Dermatologist or Facial Plastic Surgeon for treatment.


The use of over-the-counter or prescription lightening agents, chemical peels and fractionated laser skin resurfacing can reduce under eye discoloration, but those with darker complexions should always do a spot test first to determine if the procedure will help their condition, rather than cause further darkening.


Lumixyl Revitaleyes ($65) is a unique little eye cream formulated with decapeptide-12 that is a true multi-tasker and works to correct dark circles, eye-area lines and wrinkles, dryness and inflammation.

Glytone Fading Lotion ($46) works well for those with circles caused by hyperpigmentation. Formulated with 2% hydroquinone, 1% kojic acid and glycolic acid, this lightening agent comes with a dab-on sponge allowing for easy application. Also effective on age spots and freckles.

Dr. Brandt Do Not Age Triple Peptide Eye Cream ($80) rejuvenates the entire eye area. It fades dark circles, reduces under eye puffiness, diminishes lines and wrinkles and repairs damaged skin. It contains an exclusive triple peptide complex to support collagen and elastin, caffeine for an anti-inflammatory effect and nourishing ingredients to strengthen and hydrate.

Talika Eye Therapy Patches ($67) are a great option for a quick eye refresh. They contain grape seed oil, safflower oil, and soy extracts along with ceramide III to help restructure the skin and reduce dark circles and puffiness. Enclosed are 6 pairs of patches that can be used multiple times plus a case to store them between uses.

Teamine Eye Complex by Revision skincare ($68) is powered by peptides, antioxidants, Vitamin C and other brighteners to reduce dark circles and puffiness as well as tighten, brighten, smooth and moisturize.

Bellatorra Anti-Aging Eye Cream ($240) tightens, fills and strengthens the delicate eye area with a targeted retinol and plant stem cell formula. It also contains caffeine, anti-oxidants and collagen boosters to dramatically reduce dark circles, puffiness, discoloration and wrinkles.

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