Dark Undereye

Under Eye Dark Circles Treatment

Reviewed by Yael Halaas, MD

Dark circles under your eyes can make you look tired and haggard. But are under eye dark circles inevitable given today's 24/7, fast-paced, snooze-and-you-lose world — or can they be treated?

The first step toward getting rid of your dark under eye circles is to figure out what is causing them. Dark circles under the eyes may be caused by:

  • Iron or vitamin deficiency
  • Lack of sleep or too much sleep
  • Hyperpigmentation (uneven, dark skin patches)
  • Illness
  • Smoking
  • Weight loss
  • Medication side effects
  • Visible blood vessels due to thin, aging skin 
  • Fat loss that causes a sunken look

Once illness, sleep problems, vitamin deficiency and medication side effects are ruled out by your primary care doctor, you should consult with a qualified facial plastic surgeon to determine why you have dark circles under your eyes. Due to the large number of practitioners offering their services, finding the right surgeon can be difficult. To make it easier, All About Facial Rejuvenation has created a directory of highly trained and experienced facial plastic surgeons.

Your chosen surgeon will evaluate your dark circles and suggest treatments based on the underlying cause.

Under Eye Dark Circle Cause #1 – Hyperpigmentation
If your under eye dark circles are caused by hyperpigmentation, topical bleaching agents such as hydroquinone can help. Laser skin rejuvenation, intense pulsed light (IPL) or chemical peels may also be options. Your physician will go over the risks, benefits and costs of each of these hyperpigmentation removal procedures to help you make your decision on how to best eradicate under-eye circles.

Under Eye Dark Circle Cause #2 – Visible Blood Vessels
If superficial vascularization (visible blood vessels) under your eye is the culprit, various laser treatments or IPL can help. These treatments must be done carefully to avoid harming other vessels in the eye area.

Under Eye Dark Circle Cause #3 – Fat Loss
If your dark under eye circles are caused by fat loss that creates hollows and shadows, fat grafting or certain soft tissue fillers such as Restylane may do the trick.

Concealers and Other Cosmetics

Concealers come in liquid, stick and pancake-type creams. These products can be applied and reapplied throughout the day, and can help cover your dark circles regardless of their cause. Their manufacturers also  claim that they do anything from de-puffing your under-eye area to moisturizing the skin in this area and lightening under eye circles.

Many of today's products contain ingredients thought to reduce wrinkles or puffiness such as caffeine, retinoic acid, copper peptides, alpha hydroxyl acids and vitamin C. Our advice? Don't break the bank trying a shelf full of products. That said, a little trial-and-error never hurt anyone, so experiment with some of the dream creams that fall within your budget and see if you like the results. If not, speak to your facial plastic surgeon about the next step in getting rid of your dark circles.

Cost of Treatment for Under Eye Circles

The price for treating dark under eye circles varies a great deal based on the technique used. It can range from $15 for new under eye concealer at your local cosmetic counter to $4,000 for laser skin resurfacing. Make sure you discuss cost with your surgeon before you book your procedure(s).

  • Halaas 58x57

    Yael Halaas, MD, FACS

    60 E. 56th Street
    3rd Floor
    New York, NY 10022
    (332) 239-6439

  • P

    Mune Gowda, MD

    3270 West Big Beaver
    Suite 415
    Troy, MI 48084

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    Sean Maguire, MD

    Physician's Center for Beauty
    24 Chenoweth Lane
    Louisville, KY 40207
    (866) 774-9105