How to Get Rid of Dark Under-Eye Circles, According to an Expert
Dark circles make it nearly impossible to master a fresh-faced, bright-eyed look. Even more frustrating is that these sunken shadows can be difficult to make disappear, but reducing the look of them isn’t impossible. To help us navigate the tricky world of under-eye circles, we tapped board-certified dermatologist and Skincare.com expert Dr. Dendy Engelman. Read on for her tips, plus product recommendations to help make the discoloration, puffiness and bags under your eyes less noticeable.
What Causes Dark Under-Eye Circles?
“Dark circles are the result of pooled blood underneath the skin,” explains Dr. Engelman. “Because skin around the eye is very thin and almost transparent, blood pooled below this area can be visible and very noticeable. Dark circles can also be the result of fatigue or a side effect of aging.” She also notes that dark circles can be a form of hyperpigmentation, often called periorbital hyperpigmentation, caused by chronic eye-rubbing, sun exposure or genetics.
Can You Get Rid of Dark Under-Eye Circles?
“While there isn’t a way to get rid of dark circles caused by thinning skin or aging, you can temporarily reduce the appearance of them with the application of products formulated with ingredients that are vasoconstrictors or hydrators,” says Dr. Engelman. Examples of vasoconstrictors are caffeine and green tea, while hydrators are ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid.
“You can also try thickening the surface of skin with a prescription retinoid,” adds Dr. Engelman. “If you have puffy eyes, cut out salt and alcohol, which can lead to water retention and exacerbate swelling. Sleep on an extra pillow to drain the fluid that can accumulate around the eyes when you’re lying down, and if you still notice puffiness in the morning, try a cold compress.”
The Best Products for Treating Dark Under-Eye Circles
To reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles, we took Dr. Engelman’s advice and rounded up four products that will have you well on your way to brighter-looking eyes.
Vitamin C is a powerful brightener that can fade hyperpigmentation spots. Some vitamin C serums may be too harsh for the sensitive eye area, but this one was made specifically for it. In addition to vitamin C to target dark circles, the formula contains a tri-peptide complex and hyaluronic acid to diminish fine lines like crow’s feet and hydrate dry skin.
To help with morning puffiness, use a product with a cooling roller, such as the Garnier Clearly Brighter Anti-Puff Eye Roller. “A product with a metal roller ball gently distributes lymphatic build-up from underneath the eyes, alleviating the appearance of dark circles,” Dr. Engelman says. This gel formula — infused with antioxidant vitamin C, mint and caffeine — instantly cools and refreshes skin while the micro-stimulating roll-on applicator helps de-puff and reduce the look of under-eye bags.
This eye cream is formulated with a winning combination of phe-resorcinol (an agent known for its targeted action on melanin), caffeine and light-reflective pigments to visibly reduce the appearance of dark circles and brighten the eye contour area. The unique metal applicator also offers a cooling effect that pairs perfectly with the gentle melt-in texture of the formula.
A cult-favorite, the IT Cosmetics Confidence in an Eye Cream is formulated specifically for those with dark circles and anti-aging concerns. It contains a rich ceramide complex to help soothe and hydrate the area. But what really sets this product apart from the rest is its apricot tint, which helps with color correction.
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn