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How Can I Lighten Dark Circles?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Feb 16, 2024
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Dark circles under the eyes are a common problem for many people. They can be caused by a number of things, from lack of sleep, smoking and alcohol use, or allergies and sinus congestion, just to name a few. Fortunately, there are a few different ways to try to lighten dark circles and reduce puffiness around the eyes, which can make you look younger and more awake. Concealing cream for dark circles is one way to camouflage the problem, but it won't actually lighten dark circles; some beauty stores sell actual lightening cream to try to target the problem directly. At-home remedies, such as applying cucumber slices or vitamin E oil to the eyes, can be effective as well.

Sometimes, dark circles appear because the body is dehydrated or because you aren't getting enough sleep. Drinking alcohol can cause dehydration; this behavior and smoking are some of the leading causes of dark circles, so try to cut back or quit, and drink more water to combat dehydration. Getting six to eight hours of sleep a night may also help to lighten dark circles and reduce puffiness around the eyes; sleep with the head elevated on a pillow for an extra preventive step. In addition, be sure to wear sunscreen every day to prevent causing damage to the sensitive skin around the eyes, which can cause dark circles as well.

To attempt to lighten dark circles, there are a few different things to try. Using a neti pot to clean out the sinuses and reduce congestion can lessen swelling in the face, and reduce the appearance of dark circles. Placing chilled spoons, chilled tea bags, or cucumber slices on the eyes may also be able to help lighten dark circles. Another remedy that can be effective is to break open a vitamin E gel capsule, and apply some of the liquid under the eyes on a daily basis; over time, this should really help to improve the condition of the skin.

Concealing and lightening creams are another way to lighten dark circles. If you choose to use concealer to camouflage it, it should be slightly lighter than your skin and the foundation you use, which helps the eyes to appear brighter. Lightening cream sold in stores can also make a difference if used every day, though it typically just includes ingredients like vitamin E, which can be applied directly anyway, and which is usually much less expensive.

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Discussion Comments
By wavy58 — On Jul 27, 2012

I have heard of putting raw potato slices on your eyes to reduce dark circles. I don't know if this works, but I have tried using cucumbers. Though they work great for some people, I could not tolerate them.

The problem was that I couldn't leave them on my eyes long enough to do any good. The cucumber juice burned my skin a little. I don't know if I'm allergic to it or what, but I wasn't about to sit there for fifteen minutes with something burning my eyelids.

How effective are lightening creams? Has anyone here tried one specifically designed to lighten dark circles under the eyes?

By healthy4life — On Jul 27, 2012

I never knew how much drinking water could make a difference in the appearance of dark circles until I started taking a diuretic. This medicine made me extremely thirsty, so I drank an abnormal amount of water.

It seemed that no matter how much I drank, I could not quench my thirst. I would never be able to drink this much without the medicine, but once I saw the good that it did for my undereye area, I decided to drink as much water as I could possibly stand after I got off the medication.

My dark circles had nearly disappeared. The puffiness that always hung under my eyes after I woke up simply vanished.

By kylee07drg — On Jul 26, 2012

@OeKc05 – You can't just apply concealer and go. You have to actually take steps to conceal the concealer, or rather blend it in with the rest of your makeup.

I have a roll-on concealer that I use daily on my dark circles. Once it has set, I apply the same foundation that I use all over the rest of my face on top of it. I use my fingertip to gently pat the edges of the concealed area into the makeup of the surrounding area.

Once I have done this, I apply pressed powder with a pouf. I apply this over my entire face, so this is something else that helps blend the concealer in with everything else.

By OeKc05 — On Jul 25, 2012

I've tried using concealer under my eyes to camouflage my dark circles, but it just ends up making the area stand out even more than it did before. No matter what shade I use, I look strange, because it makes the area look different than the rest of my face.

I have just given up and let the dark circles show. Does anyone have any other makeup tips for hiding dark circles? I'm obviously doing something wrong, and if it is possible to fix the problem, that would improve my confidence.

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