Eye Spy: 7 natural ways to erase under-eye circles

There's a natural way to get rid of those dark under-eye circles—starting with an early bedtime. (Photo: Weheartit.com/superficialfish)

There’s a natural way to get rid of those dark under-eye circles—starting with an early bedtime. (Photo: Weheartit.com/superficialfish)


So many of the creams that claim to combat dark, puffy under-eye circles either aren’t effective (“Eye cream is a marketing bonanza!” says Cybele Fishman, M.D., an integrative dermatologist in New York City), or are full of can’t-pronounce-them chemicals. But why would you treat such a sensitive, delicate part of your face so harshly?

Fortunately, mellower options abound, and they can effectively erase those blue half-moons—up to a point. “How deep your eye sockets are in relation to your brow and cheek bones will make light reflect in different ways,” Fishman explains. “That’s why some patients say, ‘I’ve always had dark circles, even when I was a child and got lots of sleep.'” Here are seven natural under-eye remedies that’ll help you work what your momma gave you.

RMS-uncover-011. Sleep. It’s obvious, yes, but it’s so fundamental. “Lack of sleep is the number-one cause of dark circles under the eyes,” says dermatologist Amy Wechsler, M.D., whose practice focuses on the mind-body connection. Turn in early and “begin winding down and distancing yourself from all electronics 30 minutes before you want to go to sleep,” she says.

2. Avoid sugar; load up on antioxidants. “What you eat matters!” Fishman says. “A diet rich in antioxidants and low in processed sugars will decrease inflammation in your body, including your skin.” Load up on things like berries, beans, Brussels sprouts, and dark leafy greens, and avoid alcohol.

Tata Harper3. See an allergist. “One of the biggest dark circle contributors is allergies,” says Jillian Wright, a facialist and founder of the New York Cit-based Jillian Wright Skin Spa. When your body detects an allergen, it goes into inflammation mode and the eyes are one of the first places to show it. A saline solution can help with nasal congestion, Wright says, as can manual lymphatic drainage—a gentle massage around the eyes, face, and neck.

4. Wear sunglasses. No, not to cover up those circles (that’s what natural concealers are for). “Sun weakens the collagen in blood vessels,” Fishman says, “weak collagen means the blood vessels are more likely to rupture, releasing blood into the tissues.” And that’s how the under-eye area darkens, she warns.

5. Try tea. Wright’s favorite “old-school” remedy is two black tea bags, steeped in warm water (go for organic, non-GMO options, she says). Squeeze them so they don’t leak, lay down, and relax. “The tannins in black tea help reduce blood vessel dilation,” she says. Fishman likes green tea bags, chilled. The cold reduces puffiness, she explains, and ECGC (a phytochemical in green tea) is a potent antioxidant that helps repair damaged cells.Vered

6. Or a milk mask. Many of the best natural remedies for eye circles come from the kitchen, Wechsler says. A milk compress will help brighten dull, dark skin and soothe irritation thanks to its combo of fat and lactic acid. “Simply soak a compress in whole milk and rest it over your face or eyes for a few minutes,” she recommends.

7. Moisturize. While eye creams rarely live up to the hype (“So many claims, so little effectiveness,” Fishman says), hydrating your under-eyes, which get irritated just by rubbing them too much, can help with overall quality. Look for a light moisturizer with soothing ingredients (think Tata Harper’s Restorative Eye Creme) or that’s full of natural, nourishing oils (like Vered Organic Botanicals’ Anti-Wrinkle Eye treatment).


10 Comments | ADD YOURS

  1. April 9th, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    I have had dark circles under my eyes as long as I can remember. It has nothing to do with sleep or any of the above mentioned things. I grew up eating very healthy and my mother insisted on plenty of sleep. I did not have allergies. If I did not feel well the dark circles became even worth. I have never found a remedy or a concealer that does a good job of covering up.

  2. April 10th, 2014 at 7:05 am

    Hey Rennie, me too. They forgot to mention that some people have dark circles because of heredity. Nothing will change this…and when i go to a deserted island i will bring concealer.

  3. April 11th, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Try Physicians Formula concealer stick. It is so cheap, in the drug store and helps if you have dark circles on olive skin. Another that works well, but is heavy feeling…Benefit concealers. Not sure if these are chemical free.

    Good Luck :)

  4. April 27th, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    I find that Bye Bye Under Eye Corrector Concentrate Cream by IT Cosmetics does a great job. It comes in a small jar with their brush. Dab plenty on all over and then just pat in with ring finger. It last a long time. I got mine at QVC. My dark circles and puffiness is also hereditary.

  5. May 16th, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    I think herbal based products are more effective in curing dark circles.

  6. June 15th, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Rennie, are you from east Africa by any chance?

    Jeannette is correct, dark circles tend to be found in people from certain cultures so you may have a large genetic predisposition to the appearance you dislike. Exposure to weather that your skin type is not suited for is also a risk factor.

    It does not mean it is impossible to change but does mean that it may be very difficult to do so. So if you see any improvement when doing something different, hold on firm to it as a reduction of the darkness under your eyes should be your aim rather than a complete change.

    Obviously cleaning up your diet an dlifestyle should largely have positive effects in may areas of your health and external appearance iA.


  7. December 16th, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    I’ve tried a lot of eye creams and most just don’t do it…my good friend told me about an organic eye cream she got in a Hollywood swag bag from some event she was at. Its the Made from Earth Olive Night Cream – and she fell in love with it so I went on line and ordered it myself from their website – I also fell in love with it …the cream works, you should check this out..

  8. Mohammed Basheer
    June 27th, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    I’ve realized getting healthy and getting plenty of water and sleep lightens the circles.

  9. September 24th, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Yes ladies I had really bad dark circles my whole life. Now they are completely gone!
    Not involved a 2 step process, and it was not cheap, but soooo worth it! So first my doctor folded the skin underneath my eyes, and used a laser to eliminate the broken blood vessels that were under the skin. Second the doctor took fat from my thighs and inserted it under my eyes! Within one month I was completely healed, and bye- bye dark circles! Completely gone! The skin under my eyes was perfection- no fine lines, no dark circles perfect! The procedure was over 2,000.00 dollars but well worth it. Creams do not work, but this does. Good bye concealer – I don’t use it ever under my eyes anymore!

  10. October 12th, 2015 at 7:42 am

    I purchased DermalMD Serum because at 36 I’m noticing more wrinkles and dark circles around my eyes. This product went on smoothly, cooled the area around my eyes and helped reduce some of the darkness underneath. It also had a pleasant scent.

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