Remedy for Hereditary Dark Under Eye Circles?

I'm a female, and I have terribly dark circles around my eyes that unfortunately, are hereditary. My father's side of the family have the dark circles and I notice that as they age, the circles grow darker and darker. The circles on my eyes, on any given day, can appear to be light brown but at others they're really dark brown. I don't like the idea of concealer simply because I don't want to HAVE to need it everyday to look normal, but I'm tired of looking drained. What can I do?

Doctor Answers 2

Treatment of dark under eye circles

Dark discoloration under the eyes can be due to shadows created by the

  1. surface topography that creates a shadow,
  2. actual skin darkening or
  3. thinning of the skin which allows the color of the underlying muscle to show through.

You can also have various combinations of these factors causing the darkness like 75% of 2 and 25% of 1 etc. Also 1 can be due to swollen eyelid skin from allergies, insufficient eyelid fat etc. Without a face to face examination it is impossible to say what the exact cause is and therefore what the treatment should be. If the darkening is changing during the course of a day the cause cannot be solely due to 2 as skin color does not become lighter and darker like that. For pure 2 your best options are laser or cover up makeup. For pure 1 due to excess eyelid skin unrelated to allergies surgery is the best option. For pure 1 due to a depression like a tear trough only then an injectable filler may be your best option.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

Under eye fillers can help some.

Hi SMonique

Dark circles trouble everyone to some degree.  However some have much worse darks circles than others.  The dark circles are affected by shadowing, pigment in the skin, but the biggest culprit is thin lower eyelid skin.  This allows the thin muscle just under the skin to absorb much of the light that penetrates the skin.  This leaves this area looking very dark.  Understanding this helps you appreciate that bleaching the skin will be relatively ineffective.  Filling the circle with hyaluronic acid fillers does help but is not perfect.  Laser resurfacing is disappointing.  Concealers put a reflective layer on the skin which helps lighten these areas.  

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Los Angeles Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

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.