How to Get Rid of Dark Under-Eye Circles, According to An Expert

June 15, 2022
Jessica Khorsandi
By: Jessica Khorsandi | by L'Oréal
Close-up of person's eye with two dots of eye cream udnerneath

Dark circles make it nearly impossible to master a fresh-faced, bright-eyed look. The bad news? The sunken shadows can be difficult to get rid of. The good news? Reducing the look of them isn’t impossible. To help us navigate the tricky world of under-eye circles, we tapped Dr. Dendy Engelman, board-certified dermatologist and expert. 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.

Best Gel Eye Cream

Lancôme Advanced Genifique Yeux Youth Activating Eye Cream

This fresh, gel-like eye cream is powered by bifidus extract to help improve dark circles and hydrate the eye area. After applying it to the under-eye area, it quickly absorbs into the skin, leaving behind a soft, velvety finish without feeling oily or heavy.

lancome advanced genifique yeux youth activating eye cream

Best Cooling Eye Serum

L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Hyaluronic Acid 2.5% Hyaluronic Acid + Caffeine Eye Serum

Try this hydrating hyaluronic acid and caffeine eye serum to reduce the appearance of dark circles and puffiness. The triple roller — which includes three ultra-cooling, stainless steel balls — massages the under-eyes, leaving them looking refreshed and well-rested.

loreal paris revitalift derm intensives hyaluronic acid and caffeine eye serum

Best Brightening Eye Cream

Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Dark Circle Reducing Vitamin C Eye Serum

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.

kiehls powerful strength dark circle reducing vitamin c eye serum

Best Color-Correcting Eye Cream

IT Cosmetics Confidence in an Eye Cream

A cult-favorite, this cream is formulated with dark circles and anti-aging concerns in mind. 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.

it cosmetics confidence in an eye cream
Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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