Rodan + Fields / Blog / Skincare Guides

Dark Under-Eye Circles: Causes and Remedies

Rodan + Fields Active Hydration Bright Eye Complex pictured with coffee beans

Dark under-eye circles appear when the skin beneath your eyes takes on a shadowy blue, brown, purple, or black cast. They can affect people of any age, gender, skin tone, or skin type. If you feel that dark under-eye circles make you look tired and less vibrant, you may be wondering why they occur and how to make them less visible. Here, we discuss the probable causes of dark under-eye circles as well as some steps you can take to help the skin under your eyes look healthy and bright.

What causes dark circles under your eyes?

Dark circles under your eyes can develop for many reasons. The skin under your eyes is thinner than the skin on the rest of your face, which makes blood vessels more likely to show through, especially if they dilate or break, or your circulation is poor. If your under-eye area loses fat or collagen or becomes puffy, irritated, or saggy, you may also see a change in the color of the skin. Many conditions can contribute to dark under-eye circles.


Dark under-eye circles can be an inherited condition that first appears in childhood and changes as time passes.

Rubbing your eyes

Pulling and tugging at the skin under your eyes can irritate delicate blood vessels and cause them to swell and break, creating the appearance of light bruises.

Sun exposure

Sun exposure can trigger melanin production and cause the skin under your eyes to darken.


When your skin cells lose water and become less plump, your under-eye area can start to look dull, sunken, and hollowed out as the underlying bone and blood vessels become more visible.

Fatigue or lack of sleep

Dark under-eye circles are commonly associated with tiredness, which can encourage the tissues and blood vessels under your skin to show through, causing the area to take on a dark appearance.


It’s widely believed that dark under-eye circles go hand-in-hand with the natural aging process. As time passes, your skin tends to produce less collagen, causing it to thin out, loosen, and sag. When this happens, the blood vessels beneath your skin may become more prominent, and your tear troughs may look hollowed out, creating the appearance of shadows on the skin.


Inflammation caused by allergic reactions, dermatitis, and eyestrain can potentially cause blood vessels under your eyes to become enlarged and broken, causing the skin under your eyes to look darker.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

Low levels of iron, vitamin B12, and other essential nutrients in your blood may contribute to a pale or uneven skin tone and lead to the appearance of dark under-eye circles.

Lifestyle factors

If you smoke, drink too much alcohol, regularly eat unhealthy foods, or experience a high level of stress, the skin under your eyes may look noticeably darker. These lifestyle factors can divert blood away from your face or cause the capillaries surrounding your eyes to break, contributing to a shadowed and unhealthy-looking under-eye area.

How can I prevent dark under-eye circles?

If dark under-eye circles are making you feel self-conscious about your appearance, you may want to take steps to improve the look of the area and try to prevent them from showing up or worsening. The lifestyle modifications and remedies listed below can potentially help reduce the visible signs of dark circles so that you feel better about facing the day.

Some factors that contribute to dark circles, like aging, genetics, and environmental conditions, may be out of your control, so it may not be possible to completely prevent dark under-eye circles from occurring. Nevertheless, you can take action to get rid of that shadowy look below your lashes by making these adjustments to your daily routine.

Improve your sleep quality

To decrease the chance of developing obvious under-eye shadows, try to sleep for at least seven hours every night. You can also elevate your head with an extra pillow to prevent fluid from pooling under your eyes and causing your lower eyelids to puff up.

Protect your eyes from the sun

Whenever you venture outside during the day, wear sunglasses that block 100% of UVA, UVB, and UV 400 rays. Always apply a non-irritating broad-spectrum sunscreen to your face and eyelids, even on cloudy days. Make sure the sunscreen has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 and reapply every two hours.

Be mindful of your diet

Drinking water throughout the day and including more leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, and foods rich in potassium and vitamins C, E, and K may improve the condition of your skin and prevent or reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles.

Reduce your stress levels

Managing and reducing your stress with exercise, yoga, long walks, meditation, and other forms of self-care can improve the overall health and resilience of your skin and decrease the chance of experiencing enlarged blood vessels or broken capillaries under your eyes.

Reduce your screen time

Prolonged exposure to light emitted by computer, tablet, and smartphone screens has the potential to damage your skin and strain your eyes, which can worsen the appearance of dark under-eye circles. Reducing screen time can help you experience more varied eye movement, which can strengthen your eye muscles and improve circulation in your under-eye area.

What can I do to treat dark circles under my eyes?

If you want to treat your dark under-eye circles at home, these remedies and treatments may help:

Cold compresses

Try holding a cold, wet compress, cold teaspoons, or a cloth-wrapped bag of frozen peas or berries to your under-eye area for 20 minutes. The cool, gentle pressure may help shrink dilated blood vessels, reduce puffiness and inflammation, and reduce the appearance of dark circles.

Chilled teabags

Holding chilled, damp black or green tea bags under your eyes for 10 to 20 minutes can deliver caffeine and antioxidants to your skin cells, which may help increase circulation and improve the look of dark circles.

Specialized eye treatments

When your under-eye area looks tired and dull, using skincare that is specially formulated to treat dark circles can help brighten and refresh your appearance. Topical eye treatments that contain ingredients like caffeine can visibly lighten your under-eye area, moisturize your skin, and reduce puffiness when you use them consistently.

Applying a revitalizing gel cream like Rodan + Fields Active Hydration Bright Eye Complex morning and night can support your fragile skin and help you reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles over time. If you’re also experiencing a loss of firmness and other signs of aging around your eyes, try pairing your brightening treatment with an intensely nourishing moisturizer like Rodan + Fields Redefine Multi-Function Eye Cream. This delightful treatment supports the skin barrier around your eye area with vitamins C and F, antioxidants, and botanical extracts, and it helps the skin around your eyes look plump and youthful.

Keep your under-eye area looking bright and beautiful with treatments from Rodan + Fields

Reducing the appearance of dark under-eye circles can go a long way toward keeping your eyes looking lovely and refreshed. Rodan + Fields’ eye treatments can visibly lighten the appearance of dark circles, wrinkles, under-eye bags, and other signs of aging when you include them in your daily skincare routine. Using these treatments consistently can help ensure that your eyes always look their youthful best.