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I have dark circles under my eyes. Help!

By Dr. José Villamarín.

Today we are going to talk about dark circles, those annoying and unsightly spots that give us the appearance of continuous tiredness.


Why do we have dark circles?

When the eyes begin to show dark areas or slight and discreet sunkenness, especially in the lower eyelids, we have the problem of dark circles. This depression is usually a groove that is reinforced by the appearance of pockets.

There are many types of dark circles, apart from those caused by the passage of years. For example, genetics plays an important role in certain people, such as patients from the Middle East or patients with deep bone structures, or even cases of sunken eyes that favor the presence of dark circles.

They can also be seen with pigmentation of the skin of the lower eyelids after wounds, repeated bruises, or even after rhinoplasties or previous surgeries in the center of the face, a fact that is particularly notable in older people.

On the other hand, frequent exposure to the sun or even chronic diseases, such as allergies or kidney diseases, can cause or worsen them.

But the most common are dark circles due to age. The skin around the eyes is some of the thinnest on the body. Thinner skin makes it easier to see the blood vessels underneath.

Over the years, the skin thins with the loss of collagen, elastin and periocular fat, and the veins progressively distend. This, together with the changes in orbital bone thinning and resorption, the prominent bags, the distension of the skin ligaments in the area due to the passage of years and gravity, ultimately leads us to its appearance.

Finally, note that lack of sleep, stress and tobacco do not directly create them, but worsen them, due to circulatory changes in the skin that make this area stand out.

10 recommendations against dark circles


1- Sleep 7-8 hours every night.

Getting enough sleep can benefit your skin in many ways. Regarding dark circles, when you do not sleep well, whether for too little or too long, circulation in the area is altered, which makes them stand out.

2- Hydrate yourself properly.

The skin benefits from proper hydration. It is essential for proper metabolism and skin circulation.

3- Sleep with your head slightly elevated.

Try sleeping on two pillows, or use a bed with a power-elevating headboard set at 10-15 degrees, if possible, to encourage proper drainage and reduce unnecessary fluid retention in the morning.

4- Avoid the sun, alcohol and excessive tobacco.

The sun, with its UV rays, alters the dermis, causing damage to collagen and elastin that produces loss of turgor and elasticity of the skin (elastosis). That further favors relaxation. It also produces pigmentary changes that highlight dark circles. Tobacco decreases skin oxygenation. For its part, alcohol alters microcirculation and has adverse effects on metabolism.

5- Apply eye cream by massaging it in circular movements.

A quality eye cream is a great way to hydrate the periocular area and make it look brighter over time. Using your ring finger and gentle circular massage will stimulate stagnant blood flow, including lymphatic flow, thereby minimizing the appearance of the area.

6- Use products that contain skin lightening or brightening ingredients.

It is interesting to use products that illuminate and clarify the skin that include vitamin C or kojic acid. They can produce an improvement in some dark circles with a pigment component after 1 month of treatment.

7- Use products with ingredients that have possible vasoconstrictive effects.

Another benefit of using vitamin C is that it appears to function as a mild vasoconstrictor and may help prevent edema or swelling. Another ingredient that seems to work as an effective vasoconstrictor in the area is caffeine.

8- Use products that include peptides.

Peptides appear to help reduce the depth of wrinkles and improve the turgor of the dermis.

9- Apply quality concealer.

A good concealer is the easiest and fastest way to hide dark circles. An added benefit is that it provides additional protection against harmful UV rays. This is important since the sun is one of the main causes of dark circles.

10- Seek professional help.

If dark circles are important or have an impact on your life, seek an expert doctor and surgeon. Apart from dark circles for other reasons, which have special medical treatments, I usually treat dark circles due to age with permanent lipofilling or temporary fillers, depending on the patient’s wishes and needs. Sometimes transconjunctival lower blepharoplasty along with laser resurfacing or peels can normalize things. Other options are mesotherapy, IPL or other similar procedures.

The conclusions…


Dark circles have several causes and specific treatments. Those related to age are usually prevented and treated with simple measures that you can implement from home, but sometimes it is better for a true expert in the eye, eyelid and periocular area, who is an ophthalmological oculoplastic and facial aesthetic surgeon, to treat the dark circles with medical aesthetic procedures or surgery, due to the softness and difficulty of this particular area.

For young patients, I usually inject special fillers or use other non-surgical procedures. When I inject substances, I usually use a special cannula for this area, following the safety protocol specifically designed by me, to minimize the possibility of serious complications.

For older patients I usually recommend surgical techniques, complemented by medical aesthetic procedures.

If you want more information, do not hesitate to contact Dr. José Villamarín for an appointment in person or through his online consultation. Thank you

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