Dealing with dark under-eye circles

Aurora is now part of The Private Clinic, a nationwide group of clinics with over 35 years of experience specialising in Cosmetic Surgery and Skin and a Trust Pilot 5 star rating. For comprehensive information, before and after photos and costs on Blepharoplasty procedures click here.

Our expert Plastic Surgeon Adrian Richards is the Medical Director for The Private Clinic. Clinics are located in BirminghamBristolBuckinghamshireGlasgowLondon Harley StreetLeedsManchester and Northampton.

What are Dark Circles? Shadows, Bags and Puffiness

One of the areas disliked most by visitors to Aurora Clinics is the area under their eyes: dark circles here can appear even more ageing than wrinkles or grey hair.

One of the common misconceptions is that under-eye dark circles, bags and puffiness are the same thing. In fact, they vary in looks and are generally caused by different factors.

Under-eye bags are due to an excess of skin when the delicate under-eye area loses elasticity as a natural side-effect of ageing. Hereditary conditions can worsen this i.e. if your parents had particularly pronounced under-eye bags.

Although certain creams and serums can help tighten this area, unfortunately little can be done long-term to drastically improve under-eye bags except resorting to blepharoplasty surgery.

Under-eye puffiness is typically linked to fluid retention (often hormonal or connected to the weather and stress, but equally diet and allergies may play a part).

Puffy under-eyes, therefore, respond best to addressing the cause of the swelling and either relieving it with natural remedies, or fixing it with the necessary changes to lifestyle. They are tricky to disguise with make-up (which often just accentuates the area) and is really just masking the problem.

The rest of this article focuses on the most common complaint we hear of at Aurora; the dreaded “dark circles”.

Causes of Dark Circles

It is vital to try and identify the cause of your black circles before attempting to remedy them. This is because there are numerous factors which cause dark circles under the eyes, and the choice/success of treatments used is directly dependent on the “type” of dark area you suffer from.

Some causes of under-eye shadows include lack of sleep, hereditary conditions and thinning skin due to age. Hyperpigmentation, facial structure and deep tear troughs are others.

Ongoing dark circles, however, can indicate underlying health issues, so should not be taken lightly. Allergies and gluten intolerance, for example, are a common cause of skin discolouration around the eyes, as are kidney problems (internal dehydration) and iron deficiency anaemia.

Who responds to treatments

Certain people are more responsive to particular remedies for under-eye shadows. If your dark circles are hereditary, for instance, you may face more of a struggle: it is still worth trying to treat this problem area, but you may need to resort to surgery or concealing with make-up rather than treating with creams.

If your eye shadowing is caused by lack of sleep, poor nutrition, excess alcohol and caffeine, then you may benefit from changes to your lifestyle more than quick-fix treatments.

Natural remedies

There are some natural remedies that you can try for your under-eye circles. The effectiveness of these is largely dependent on the cause of your shadows.

If you feel you are suffering from dehydration, try to increase your water intake. At Aurora, we recommend this to everybody regardless of whether you are dehydrated; it is likely to help improve your skin condition and could well improve the dark area under your eyes.

Avoid salty food and red meat, but try increasing your Vitamin C intake. Get plenty of rest and try cooling the area with refrigerated cucumber slices for 15 minutes.

Always use sun protection with a minimum of SPF30 on the under-eye area to avoid further damage to thin skin.


For some people suffering from under-eye shadows, few remedies are effective. People who’se dark circles are caused by shadowing from their facial build, for example, will only really benefit from careful use of make-up, but there are a number of very good light-reflecting products on the market for this purpose.

Make-up products should also ideally neutralise the bluish tinge and treat the area. At Aurora, we particularly recommend two products: Cernor Cover Stick, a moisture rich concealer which not only camouflages dark circles with light reflecting and tinting agents but infuses the area with Vitamin K Oxide.

For younger ladies suffering from fatigue shadows, bareEscentuals Well Rested for Eyes is a lovely light-reflecting powder which blends easily into your mineral foundation without caking.


People are generally sceptical about under-eye creams (us included!) There are lots of gimmicky products out there simply not living up to their claims. This is largely due to the issue of identifying the cause of your dark circles: creams tend to treat shadows caused by tiredness and dehydration, not pigmentation, ageing or genetics.

At Aurora, the only long-term treatment cream we endorse for this area is Cernor XO. This cream does work to lighten pigmentation under the eyes and also tightens the area and reflects light.

You need to be particularly careful about the strength and fragrance of products that you are putting under your eyes because the skin there is so thin and delicate: Cernor are careful to point out that the cream should be tested for sensitivity.


If your under-eye circles are caused by a deep tear trough, then it may be possible to treat this with a Non-Surgical treatment like Juvederm Hydrate dermal fillers.

You can try to assess whether your dark shadows are due to deep tear troughs by applying pressure to the area. If it is due to a deep tear trough, under pressure it will form over at the inside corner of the eye (where a tear would flow).

Dermal Fillers can also successfully treat shadows caused by under-eye hollows due to fat loss in the area after weight loss, or as a natural side-effect of ageing.

Juvederm Hydrate to this area can give instant and dramatic results (after possible initial bruising) but you will need a thorough consultation first to establish whether this is a suitable treatment for you.

If your dark circles are due to Hyperpigmentation, (dark, uneven skin patches) then you may possibly respond well to a series of Chemical Peels: again, a consultation with an experienced Aesthetic Practitioner is vital to determine whether this is the right course of action for you.

To book your consultation with one of our Aesthetic Practitioners, call us on 01324 578290.