What causes dark circles and how to prevent them

Hannah Wilson

Dark circles are a common condition that the majority of people have either experienced or struggle with on a daily basis. The skin around the eyes is the thinnest on the body, hence why it is one of the first areas on the face to show signs of ageing, for example, puffiness, crow’s feet, loose skin and dark circles. We'll go into detail as to what the causes are, and some ways you can help to diminish the appearance of under eye dark circles and eliminate puffy eyes.

Want to skip straight to our eye skincare product recommendations? View our Eye Care Collection here.

What is the cause of dark circles?

Genetic factors


 Mother and daughter


Dark circles can be caused by a number of environmental and biological factors. Something we see a lot of at Face Dr is dark circles coming down to the client’s genetic component. Some individuals have a family history of dark, puffy lower eyelids. Unfortunately, if this is the case it can be harder to treat the issue. However, there are a number of ways you can look to treat your dark circles, even if they are caused by genetics.



Pigmentation under the eye is a common cause in darker skin types. Again, this can come down to genetic and hereditary components. Something else to consider is hayfever and allergies. If you are constantly rubbing at your eyes, the friction overtime can cause pigmentation or skin laxity.
On this note, be mindful when you are removing harsh eye make-up as again this can cause inflammation on the skin, leading to dark circles.


Tiredness or feeling run down

Man sitting on bed, head in hands


Another cause can be a sign of feeling run down. It could be that you are not getting enough sleep, drinking enough water or your body is lacking in vital nutrients.


Lighter skin types and skin ageing

Thin skin and hollowing underneath the eyes can also contribute to dark circles. If you are a fairer skin type your skin is more transparent meaning your veins and muscles are more visible. Loss of volume in the eye area happens as we age which creates a dark shadow.

So what can you do to reduce your dark circles?


Close-up of woman's eye with colour corrector underneath


Hereditary causes of dark circles are almost impossible to avoid, however there are a number of treatments to help mask and minimise the appearance.

  • Consider a concealing and colour correcting products. If there is a blue undertone to your skin, look for yellow to counteract.
  • For lifestyle factors, take a look at your sleeping pattern, how much water you drink, alcohol consumption, smoking and stress-levels. Although there are no quick fixes, changing small elements of your lifestyle could have a big impact over time.
  • Light-reflecting eye creams with Retinol can help to reduce the darkness in the skin.
  • Filler is an option for those with hollowing underneath the eye. However, do remember that filler doesn't last forever and will need to be maintained.


How can I prevent dark circles?

There are a number of things you can do to prevent dark circles from appearing or getting worse over time. Simple things like making sure your blue light is switched off on your phone at night time, to avoid blue light exposure, to drinking plenty of water each day. Toxins can be present under the eyes which can be the culprit to puffiness. Water will also help to increase the blood flow in the area. Below are some handy hints and tips to help you maintain a healthy eye area:

  • When applying eye products, massage the eye area gently to promote lymphatic drainage. This promotes drainage and gets rid of any lymph contributing to puffiness and dark colour.
  • Vitamin C - this powerful antioxidant strengthens blood vessels and improve pigmentation on the skin.
  • Retinol - this ingredient will minimise fine lines and wrinkles, brighten the skin and reduce imperfections.

Our top 6 skincare product recommendations for dark circles

Below, we have recommended specifically designed products for the delicate eye area. All of these eye serums should be used on cleansed skin and applied morning and evening. Apply a small amount on your ring finger and gently work the serum in circular motions under the eye to the end of the eyebrows.

1. ZO Eye Brightening Creme


ZO Skin Health's Eye Brightening Creme provides a targeted treatment to reduce puffiness and lightens the signs of dark circles. This product is suitable for an individual who has greater signs of ageing. It contains Retinol and caffeine to stimulate production of collagen, elastin to improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

Find out more about ZO Eye Brightening Creme


2. iS Clinical Youth Eye Complex


Youth Eye Complex is a corrective product for anti-ageing to provide instant and long term improvement to the delicate eye area. It will smooth, hydrate, firm and reduce the appearance of puffiness/dark circles around the eye area.

 Find out more about iS Clinical's Youth Eye Complex 


3. ZO Growth Factor Eye Serum


ZO Growth Factor Eye Serum

ZO's Growth Factor Eye Serum targets deeper eye wrinkles, crease formation, hollowness and microcirculation decline. Cooling massaging applicator soothes the skin and re-invigorates the look of tired eyes. This product is ideal for reducing signs of ageing in the skin and providing plumpness to the undereye area.

Find out more about ZO Growth Factor Eye Serum


4. ZO Intense Eye Creme


 ZO Intense Eye Creme


Ideal for a younger skin or if you are noticing the skin is starting to show early signs of ageing. It contains a small amount of retinol to promote collagen and elastin production. If you are experiencing pigmentation, this product will help to break up the pigment to even skin tone and reduce the appearance of dark circles.

Find out more about ZO's Intense Eye Creme


5. AllSkin Med GF Firming Eye Cream

GF Firming Eye Cream


This is a lightweight cream gel that brightens and firms the skin, with active regenerative and hydrating ingredients. Brightening pigments help to soften fine lines and reduce dark circles under the eye.

Find out more about AllSkin Med's GF Firming Eye Cream


6. AQ Skin Solutions Growth Factor Eye Serum


AQ's Growth Factor Eye serum is a rich antioxidant eye cream to brighten dark circles and “under-eye bags”. It will smooth out and reduce the appearance of crow’s feet, wrinkles and fine lines. This Eye Serum is filled with peptides which will stimulate and improve the skin’s overall health to repair and rejuvenate.

Find out more about AQ's Growth Factor Eye Serum


In summary


In this article, we have outlined a few reasons why you might have dark circles under your eye and have provided a few tips on how to reduce them. However, we always recommend a good eye skincare product to keep the sensitive, delicate skin around your eye in top condition. Our top six eye care products are all fantastic for your overall eye health. However, you might be wondering which is the perfect choice for you?

Here at Face Dr, we offer free video skincare consultations with advice on which products are right for your specific eye skincare concern. We will analyse your skin, and taking your concerns into account, will provide you with the correct recommendation for your skin.

Book your free online skincare consultation with a Skin Expert here

The best part is that we only recommend high-quality, cosmeceutical skincare products that will actually work. There is no obligation to buy, so if you don't think the products are right for you, you don't have to purchase anything with us.

Want to find out more about our Skin Experts? Meet the Team here.

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