Chemical Peel Best for Under Eye Circles?

Will chemical peels help improve dark circles under eyes? If so, what type of chemical peel is best for the area? Will chemical peels for home use be also effective?

Doctor Answers 12

Dark circles under the eyes- treatment with peels.

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Short answer, yes it can. My preference? Like Dr Green, TCA. 

First of all one has to determine the CAUSE of dark circle. In most cases this is racial (I have them as well), in some cases, it is due to deep tear troughs, in others a combination of PIH or skin hyper pigmentation due to eczema, and in many cases a combination of factors.

In the US, we use Restylane in this area to correct volume loss due to deep troughs, however in Australia, Restylane and JUVEDERM VOLBELLA can be used. I do place the filler deep- namely on bone, this reduces the chances of a Tyndall effect (blue tinge).

Other ways to treat dark circles under the eyes include -

1. Treat any skin irritation - namely simplify your skin care regime- use a good eye cream- this can reduce inflammatory changes on the skin
2. Low dose Q switch lasers
3, Microneedling and PRP
4. Low strength HQ creams – this is used to decrease melanin activity
5. Multiple sessions of either Clear + Brilliant or Low Level Fraxel 1550 ( I do however believe that Picosure Focus is better than Fraxel in my hands for dark circles- 3-4 sessions needed)
6. Very low strength peels including 6-8% TCA – five to six peels in combination with fading agents.

Even with multiple treatment methods, dark circles can only be reduced, and not totally eliminated. Realistic expectations are crucial in treatment of this problem, and combination tailored to EACH patient.

All the best
Dr Davin Lim
Laser and aesthetic dermatologist
Brisbane, Australia.

Lower eyelid circles: Correction of lower eyelid circles with chemical peels

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Lower eyelid circles arise from a variety of conditions, including:

  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Hemosiderin deposition
  • Thin skin
  • Subcutaneous veins
  • Loss of subcutaneous and periorbital fat

Chemical peels will reduce the pigmentation and improve the quality of the skin in terms of overall collagen content. It should be used as a combination approach to the management of under eye circles.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Best to try a concealer first

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Most chemical peels will not correct the very dark circles under the eyes. Some of the conditions that lead to dark circles are the thinness of the skin coupled with multiple blood vessels below the skin. Also if there are bags of the lower eyelids this casts a shadow and will accentuate the deepness and the darkness of the area. In my experience chemical peeling is not of much benefit and can also cause a darkening of the skin. Try to use products that conceal the darkness. One such product is Teamine Eye Complex. I hope that this helps.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Chemical peels in undereye area.

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In assessing dark circles we have to establish whether it is from volume loss, and is maybe an illusion of shadow and contour, or is this truly a pigmentation issue. Is it brown and velvety, like rubbed skin from a chronic allergy? Or, is it bluish pink discoloration that appears deeper in the skin and is usually familial, and difficult to treat.
If it truly seems to be a pigmentary issue where it is a darker shade, then a milder peel 20 - 30% glycolic is a good starting point. We have to be very cautious with using chemical peels so close to the eyes during a procedure.

Kaleroy Papantoniou, MD, FAAD
Great Neck Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Chemical Peels under the Eyes

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Chemical Peels are a great way to reduce pigmentation under the eyes. They are best combined with other topical products and TCA usually works best in that area.  I often combine these peels with Restylane under the eyes.  Best, Dr. Green

TCA and Glycolic are great for under eyes

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TCA and Glycolic chemical peels are great for under your eyes. It really depends on your skin type and your expectations. I hope this is helpful.

Different options exist

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Chemical peels act by removing the superficial layers of the skin. Different types are available e.g. Glycolic, TCA, etc...The deeper the peel the more effect you get but also the more risk of having hyperpigmentation or Hypopigmentation.

The eye lid skin is very thin and a lesser concentration is always advised. Different skin types react in different ways to peels. Skin types are divided from 1-6 depending on the degree of pigmentation(one is very fair,six is very dark)

A consultation with a licensed plastic surgeon or dermatologist will give you the best and safest way to proceed.

I hope that helps.

Hisham Seify, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

It depends on your skin type

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This would really depend on your skin type and the cause of the discoloration.

TCA peels are commonly used but it would be best to seek a qualified physician who can guide you in the correct choice of peel or other treatments.

Sometimes medications such as those used for the mask of pregnancy may be a better way of treating your condition.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Ultherapy Can Be Helpful

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I believe dark circles are the single most disappointing cosmetic issue we treat as dermatologists and plastic surgeons. There are chemical peels of all kinds (trichloraceitic acid, glycolic acid, Jesners, phenol, etc.), but never have I looked at a set of peel before/after shots and thought, “wow, that looks amazing”. Instead, my strategy is to add subcutaneous layers of hyaluronic acid to thicken tissue in the area and improve shadowing. Moreover, I find use of ultherapy can be super helpful here to bring under eye circles out from the shadows.

Bobby Buka, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

It depends on what is causing the appearance of dark circles.

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Dark circles of the lower eyelid area can be due to a number of factors including excess pigmentation (hereditary or melasma), allergies, loss of soft tissue resulting in a shadowing effect. If sun-related or melasma-type pigmentation is the problem, consider a Jessners or salicylic acid peel as these peels tend to be safer for ethnic skin.

Bryan K. Chen, MD
San Diego Dermatologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.