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April 26, 2024

3 Ways to Get Rid of Dark Undereye Circles For Good

Dr. Sarah Allen

Skin Clique CEO & Founder explains why undereye circles happen and what you can do to fix them    


I’ve got four girls ages 7 through 14 so when I say that our house is busy, it is busy. Even though there are plenty of mornings where one cup of coffee simply won’t do, I rarely use undereye concealer. And it’s not like I’ve won the genetic lottery on that front. (Wouldn’t that be nice though?) Instead, I’ve spent the better part of the last decade as a board-certified physician becoming an expert in skincare. I can assure you that there are clinically proven ways to minimize the appearance of dark circles, no matter how severe they are, but first you need to figure out the root cause of your discoloration. Here are the three most common issues and what you can do in each situation:  

1. Vascular Undereye Circles

This is when the circles are due to the visibility of underlying blood vessels. The skin under the eyes is thin, making the capillaries and veins more noticeable. With this type of dark circle, it often appears more bluish and can worsen when the skin is stretched as we age. When dark circles are caused by vessels under the skin, they tend to be more concentrated just underneath the middle of your eyes and near your nose.  

How to Treat It

Treatments that increase dermal thickness, including a retinol eye cream and Vitamin C, can be beneficial. If these are not sufficient, laser therapy with specific wavelengths, such as 1064 nm Nd:YAG, can target the underlying blood vessels.

2. Hyperpigmentation Undereye Circles

Due to an increase in melanin, the pigment that gives our skin color, there is excess darkness under the eyes. This can be caused by genetics and worsened by sun exposure, or inflammation. The dark circles in this case appear brown to gray and do not change color when the skin is stretched.  It also tends to extend along the length of the eye.  

How to Treat It

Topical treatments like Hydroquinone and Kojic Acid can help lighten the pigmentation. Chemical peels and micro-needling can also be effective. In some cases, laser therapy can be used to target melanin. Daily use of an eye cream is beneficial and I really like Neocutis’ Lumiere Firm, which uses human growth factors, proprietary peptides, and Glycyrrhetinic Acid to lighten the appearance of undereye darkness (in addition to caffeine – who doesn’t love that?).  Camouflage agents, like Colorescience Total Eye 3-in-1 Renewal Therapy SPF 35,  also provide sun protection which are a must to prevent pigment from coming back.  

3. Structural Undereye Circles

This is related to the anatomy of the area under the eyes. Fat pad herniation, skin laxity, and volume loss can create shadows, giving the appearance of dark circles. This type is often seen as a hollow or shadowy appearance, particularly in the tear trough area.

How to Treat It

Volume replacement with hyaluronic acid fillers can help fill-in any hollowness. Almost all patients should start with volume replacement in the mid-face to adequately support any work that needs to be performed under the eyes. In fact, almost all patients with a structural issue, mid-face support alone is sufficient to improve the appearance of under eye circles.  Mid-face support can be achieved with Restylane Lyft and collagen stimulators like Sculptra.  If you are looking for a higher cheekbone that can give you more definition, our favorite product is Radiesse. And don’t forget your temple area! The temporal fat pad is one of the first to go as we age and replacing structure here can be critical to improving the appearance of undereye shadowing.  


Yes, dark circles under the eyes can be frustrating (is there anything worse than looking tired even when you do manage to get your eight hours?). But if you can properly identify the underlying cause of your discoloration, you can effectively treat it.  

Unsure About How to Address Your Undereye Circles? Book a Skincare Consult

If you’re not sure which category you fall into, you can always schedule a quick-and-easy skincare consult with one of our board-certified providers and they can create a custom treatment plan, complete with medical-grade product recommendations, for you. Take it from me, concealer-free is the way to be.