What Causes Dark Circles and How To Get Rid Of Them

Dark Circles — one of the most highly reported skin concerns across the world and even the finest of complexions can be aggravated by them. The skin around the eye is an area with lesser oil glands and collagen as compared to the rest of our body, so it’s more prone to dehydration and fine lines which makes it appear dull. 

Dark circles and under-eye puffiness can be caused by a number of factors: 

• Aging or thinning of the skin which comes with aging
• Lack of sleep
• Stress
• Over-exposure to sun
• Nasal congestion
• Sinus problems
• Genetics

Leakage in the capillaries, due to low levels of Vitamin K or stress, beneath the skin is another major reason. The blood spreads out under the skin and becomes oxidized forming a dark purple hue. This color shows through the skin and gives the appearance of dark circles. 

capillaries - dark circles - diagram

The good news is that there are a few highly researched vitamins that, if applied topically, could help to diminish your dark circles and build the appearance of more youthful, refreshed eyes.     

Vitamin K

It’s a fat-soluble vitamin which not only promotes healthy blood circulation but is essential for blood clotting. Vitamin K repairs interruption of blood flow (hemostasis) in the blood vessel which is the prime cause of dark circles. 

From a study conducted by T Mitsuishi and his team in 2004, It is found that an eye gel containing 2% Phytonadione (Vitamin K), 1% Retinol (Vitamin A) and 0.1% Vitamin C and Vitamin E – when applied twice daily for 8 weeks — reduced both dark circles and wrinkles of 47% of the testers. 

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is both a nutrient as well as an antioxidant, making it quite effective at combating the effects of free radicals produced by the toxins present in the environment. So if you’re someone who mostly stay outdoors, consider applying eye products enriched with vitamin E. 

Aside from scavenging free radicals, Vitamin E also absorbs UVB light – the nasty spectrum of sunlight that’s responsible for burning and aging skin. Research shows that Vitamin E together with Vitamin C may increase the amount of time it takes SPF-free skin to burn, so it has a protective effect.  

Vitamin C

A 2009 study found that Vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin, also known as Ascorbic Acid or Sodium Ascorbate may improve dark circles by thickening the eyelid dermis and concealing dark coloration due to congested blood. 

Because of its antioxidant properties, Vitamin C may reverse the negative effects of UV radiation in the skin as well. 

Vitamin A

Retinol, the most active form of Vitamin A, is a hard-working ingredient found in many eye creams along with Vitamin K and Vitamin E. It can help stimulate the production of collagen, making the skin less thin, increasing skin firmness and minimizing the visibility of dark circles by reducing the transparency of the skin.


» Use a sunscreen around the eye with only zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as the active ingredients.

» Use a more emollient moisturizer at night only and not during the day as it can make foundation/concealer slip into fine lines.

» Skin lightening products do not have any effect on dark circles unless they are caused by sun damage.

» Excess sodium in the diet can contribute to dehydration and make dark circles more noticeable.

» Cold items, such as an ice pack, cucumber slices and cold tea bags can be used to temporarily shrink blood vessels that appear as dark circles.

Whether you want to find the best eye products for dark circles, fine lines or under-eye puffiness, we’ve rounded up our favorite formulas, right here.


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