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Best Treatments and Creams for Dark Under-Eye Circles

CEO Tinh Phung
Developing dark circles under the eyes is not necessarily age-related. In fact, there are multiple reasons why people develop dark circles, including genetics, lack of sleep, chronic rubbing, and exposure to UV rays. But fear...

Best Treatments for Dark Under-Eye Circles

Developing dark circles under the eyes is not necessarily age-related. In fact, there are multiple reasons why people develop dark circles, including genetics, lack of sleep, chronic rubbing, and exposure to UV rays. But fear not, because advancements in modern science and technology have provided us with numerous clinical methods and products that can diminish these dark circles.

What Causes the Appearance of Dark Circles Under the Eyes?


Genetics play a significant role in the development of dark under-eye circles, especially among younger individuals. Most patients in their twenties who are concerned about these circles usually have family members who also have them. According to the Mayo Clinic, heredity is one of the most common causes of under-eye circles.

Gravity & Migration of the Eye’s Fat Pad

In older patients, gravity and aging typically cause dark circles. Two main components contribute to this: skin discoloration and shadows. The discoloration occurs due to thin skin under the eyes and the presence of blood vessels. Shadows occur because of hollowing of the space under the lower lid caused by the migration of the fat pad due to gravity. This creates a hollow trough, also known as a "tear trough," which makes the area appear dark.

Chronic Rubbing Due to Allergies

People with seasonal allergies often rub their eyes, which can cause dark under-eye circles. Chronic rubbing or friction on any part of the body can lead to darkening. If you're constantly rubbing your eyes, you may experience darkening of the skin in that area.

The Tyndall Effect

The Tyndall effect refers to how light is refracted when it hits the vessels deep under the skin, making the overlying under-eye skin appear dark. This effect makes it difficult to treat dark circles with lightening creams and chemical peels. However, newer lasers and devices such as CO2, ultrasound therapy, or radiofrequency can help tighten the skin and reduce the Tyndall effect, thus making dark circles less apparent.

Now that we understand the causes of dark under-eye circles, let's explore the best clinical treatments and creams recommended by experts.

Best Clinical Treatments for Dark Under-Eye Circles

Injections of Filler

Injections of filler can improve the appearance of dark circles by filling in the hollow space between the eyelid and the cheek, which reduces the appearance of shadows. This treatment option can last between 3 to 24 months, depending on the type of filler used. The cost ranges from approximately $450 to $800 per syringe or vial of filler.

Erbium or CO2 Laser

Erbium or CO2 laser treatments can tighten the skin and stimulate collagen production, making the skin tougher and less thin. Laser resurfacing using these lasers can improve the appearance of the skin by removing layers of skin. The downtime for these treatments ranges from a day or two to a week, depending on the aggressiveness of the treatment. The cost can range from $200 to $600 per treatment.

Laser Treatments

Laser treatments such as PicoSure, fractionated resurfacing, or RevLite lasers can address pigmentation. However, it is crucial to choose a provider experienced in treating the delicate skin around the eyes and who practices strict laser safety precautions.

Fractionated Resurfacing Laser

Fractionated resurfacing laser delivers laser spots to the skin while preserving normal healthy skin. This treatment can fade fine lines, uneven coloring, and brown spots caused by aging and sun exposure. Multiple sessions may be needed to achieve optimal results, and the cost can range from $1,000 to $1,700.


PicoSure is an FDA-approved aesthetic laser that disrupts pigment particles and stimulates collagen production. It is particularly effective in treating pigmentation issues. Results can be seen within six weeks, and maintenance treatments are recommended every six months. The cost for a package of three treatments is $900.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels designed to address pigmentation can also be effective in treating dark under-eye circles. The Vi Peel® is known for its effectiveness in reducing age spots and brightening stubborn areas of discoloration. Prices for Vi Peel® kits range from $173 to $225.

Radiofrequency Treatments

Radiofrequency treatments such as Pellevé, Forma, or Thermi can tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles. These treatments require multiple sessions to be effective. The cost ranges from $200 to $400 per treatment.

Lower Lid Fat Removal

For patients with more advanced aging and prominent under-eye bags, lower lid fat removal surgery, also known as a lower blepharoplasty, may be considered. This procedure treats excess fat and removes loose skin beneath the eyelids. The average cost is around $3,000.

Best Creams for Dark Under-Eye Circles

When it comes to the best creams on the market, some recommendations include:

  • Hydrafirm Eye Brightening Repair Crème: This product by Zo Skin Health Inc. costs $140 for 0.5 ounces. It improves the appearance of dark circles and hydrates the skin.

  • Teamine Cream: This cream contains natural botanical extracts and is suitable for genetic hyper-pigmentation. It can be found online on various websites like Amazon and eBay, with prices ranging from $57 to $70.

  • Neocutis Lumiere and Micro-Eyes: These eye creams contain antioxidants, growth factors, and elements specifically designed for the eyes. They can be purchased online at sites like Amazon, with prices ranging from $45 to $65.

It's important to note that most creams provide temporary improvement and don't permanently correct the problem.

Preventive Measures to Help Diminish Dark Under-Eye Circles

While it may not be easy to prevent dark circles, there are some practices you can adopt to help minimize their appearance:

  • Get plenty of sleep to avoid tiredness during the day.
  • Wear SPF on all exposed areas of the body to protect the skin from harmful UV rays.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Use hyaluronic acid skincare products to keep the skin well-hydrated.
  • Avoid smoking and excess sun exposure.
  • Avoid chronic eye rubbing.
  • Use good quality skincare products with active ingredients.

Remember, if you're unhappy with the appearance of dark under-eye circles, it's important to consult with a qualified board-certified physician who can guide you toward the best treatment based on your specific needs. In the meantime, taking care of your skin by getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and practicing preventive measures can support the health of your under-eye skin.

Individual results may vary; not a guarantee.