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dark under-eye circles

Dark Under-Eye Circles - Causes and Solutions

Reviewed by Marta November 12, 2011 14 Comments

Dear Marta, I am 25 and have dark under eye circles……

Dear Marta, I am 42 and have hereditary dark under eye circles.  Please help…..

I get no end of letters about dark under eye circles from both women and men and from all ages. I find it so frustrating when I hear that they have been dismissed by a doctor with the word “hereditary”, as if nothing can be done. Dark circles may be hereditary, but there are solutions.

If your panda eyes are chronic then consider that the source may be have more to do with your nose than how much sleep you are getting. The primary cause of dark circles is a blocked nose. According to the Mayo Clinic, when your nose is congested, veins that usually drain from your eyes into your nose become widened (dilated) and darker. Dark circles can, therefore, be an indication of allergies.

So a nasal decongestant spray may be the first thing that you should invest in. There are also a couple of things that may be best avoided. Over use of retinol creams can cause the skin tissue to become 'vascular' and over stimulate the capillaries. While hemorrhoid cream may help a bit because its purpose in life is to constrict swollen blood vessels. But it smells disgusting, usually contains petrolatum and is way too harsh for under-eye skin. Although vitamin K and vitamin C creams are often recommended, these may having a drying effect on delicate eye-area skin. Furthermore, research does not support vitamin K as an effective solution.

There are potions and lotions in the eye cream dept that can help diminish the appearance of dark circles and there are some ingredients to look out for:

Hesperidin methyl chalcone, which is found in citrus fruits, lowers the filtration rate of capillaries (less blood flowing though capillaries close to the surface of the skin potentially means less discoloration under the eyes). It may also prevent leaking from the veins below the eye and has been shown to help strengthen capillaries. It is one of the key ingredients in Hydropeptide’s Anti-Wrinkle Dark Circle Concentrate ($60 in the TIA shop).

Bioskinup Contour 3r, which is the combination of three plant extracts – Brazilian ginseng, a Brazilian tree called p.olacoides and lily – is also supposed to help dark circles (as well as wrinkles and puffiness by 50%) if used for 28 days. It is in Chella’s Anti-fatigue Eye Mask.

Haloxyl is also a dark circle fader. This is a peptide formulation that also includes chrysin and hydroxysuccinimide. The two color degradation elements in hemaglobin are bilrubin and iron. Chrysin, from passionflower, stimulates the enzyme that clears out bilrubin while hydroxysuccinimide makes the iron soluble so that it can be eliminated. It is in Your Best Face Correct eye cream.

Eyeseryl is a peptide that has been shown in clinical trials (conducted by the company that makes it) to fade dark circles. It is in ReLuma’s eye cream.

In the meantime, camouflage helps. Follow Kristen's tips for effective concealer application and check out our all new Five Best concealer roundup.

  • December 8, 2011

    by Teri

    I'm moving toward my 50's and would love to try La Isha Dark Circle Relief formula. Everywhere you look they are pushing some type of surgery or filler. I'm really looking for a non-surgical solutions.

  • December 7, 2011

    by sylvia

    i would love to give Revitaleyes Brightening Cream a try and of course give feedback!

  • December 7, 2011

    by Denise Miller

    I would love to try La Isha Dark Circle Relief formula. I notice as I get older, I seem to have more dark circles, even though I get enough sleep. Plus I have puffiness which never seems to go away. I've tried so many different eye creams all promising to get rid of dark circles and puffiness but have not found one that works to date.

  • December 7, 2011

    by Kassie

    Hi Marta! I'd love to try La Isha Dark Circle Relief Formula! I typically need to get 8 hrs of sleep each night, but my 3 mo old daughter and my part time night job don't make that possible anymore! My eyes always look tired and the dark under eyes are plaguing me...I'm only 24 - I need a solution!

  • December 4, 2011

    by Barbara

    As I move well into my 50's, dark circles continue to be a frustrating problem. I have tried a multitude of products, yet nothing has helped to date. I have received a lot of good advice, tips and suggestions on the TIA site, and would be glad to try a product that may improve this unsightly condition.

  • December 1, 2011

    by Colleen

    Hi Marta!
    I suppose this would be for men also? My husband ALWAYS has dark crircles under his eyes. I never knew that it could be from blocked sinuses! That is probably the reason! We have a small restaurant business and people always think it's because he works a lot. I'd love to see if it might help his dark circles. Thanks!

  • December 1, 2011

    by Susan

    Marta,
    I have been plagued with almost black bruised looking eyes for over a year now and they are worsening. My eyes were always my greatest feature-big, dark brown, large lid to work with, and very long black eyelashes, so much that I had one lady argue with me when working retail that I was lying and my lashes really were false-yet age has taken that 'best' feature and is turning it into a detriment!
    I know that I won't be 30 or even 40 or 50 again, but I would love to turn back the clock and regain a bit of my old best feature! Getting rid of bruised looking eyes would be a great start!
    I am hoping that I will have our first grandchild in the next 9 months and would love not to look like the stereotypical grandmother my growing up years. At 56 I am still just too young!
    Learning the 'good', the 'bad' and the 'ugly' ingredients is a good challenge to have. I would be more than happy to write a review of the product and about my experience with it.

  • November 30, 2011

    by James

    I would love to do a review on La Isha Dark Circle Relief Formula. I have awful hereditary dark circles--my mother is latina, and my father is a light skinned Irish guy. Both bring terribly dark circle problems together in the form of me.

  • November 27, 2011

    by Martina

    My dark circles and saggy bags finally went away when I started using <a href="http://sevanibeauty.com/products/for-the-eyes">Sevani's Age Defying Eye Creme</a> just a month or so ago. I chose it because it's all natural and I had heard good things about Sevani. The eye creme is amazing. Its eliminated my dark circles and calms puffiness even when I don't get enough sleep! I haven't found anything that's worked this well yet - and the fact that Sevani's Age Defying Eye Creme is all natural and completely non toxic makes me feel even better about using it!

  • November 15, 2011

    by Julie Kay

    Dark circles may be sinus caused, but I'd bet the farm I inherited bad sinuses from my half Polish mother. Her eyes were dark in her 20s and only deepened and got darker as the years went by. I was horrified looking in the mirror when I realized my eyes were genetically following her eyes- to a lesser extent, thankfully. I've tried so many things! It truly gets tiring and my Lennon eyeglasses are my outward best defense with YBF Correct being my champion potion. I have no bags, no sag, no crepe, reduced crows... just dark orbital under eye rings. Yo Momma! ~jk

  • November 15, 2011

    by Cindy Harrold

    I have tried it all I think in my quest for elimination or even improvement of my hereditary dark circles. Hyaluronic acid is certainly not the fix. I don't get it........seems all product has that in it and anyone with true dark circles does not need them dark and prominent which is what the hyaluronic acid does. It makes me look baggy. Any advice?

  • November 13, 2011

    by kelly

    Hi - try www.essenceofargan.com for dark circles... it is of the purest argan oil in the world - direct from a commune in Morocco... this is the ultimate treatment for healthier skin and hair.

  • November 12, 2011

    by Marta

    Thank you Sharon - we'll have to give it a test drive.

  • November 12, 2011

    by Sharon Gnatt Epel

    Marta,
    La Isha Natural/Organic Anti-Aging Skin Care, makers of Breast SOS, has a very effective product called Dark Circle Relief Formula. It works specifically on dark circles that are caused by sinus congestion and inflammation. The essential oils in the formula are anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal, and gently moisturize the delicate under eye area at the same time it does its' magic.
    I have had sinus surgeries (including bone grafts) for most of my life, and Dark Circle Relief Formula has become a staple in my beauty arsenal. Here is a link to it: http://goo.gl/qvbmo. Hope this helps!

    Namaste,
    Sharon Gnatt Epel

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