How to lighten dark circles under your eyes

Tell-tale dark circles under the eyes can make people appear older than they are. Surprising enough, circles aren't necessarily caused by lack of sleep or illness. According to the Mayo Clinic, dark circles are often due to allergies, nasal congestion, frequent eye rubbing, heredity, eczema, sun exposure and thinning of the skin from aging. Daily stress, smoking and alcohol, however, are contributing factors. Mild darkness under the eyes responds well to several treatments, but if you seek long-term results, consult your dermatologist to discuss prescription creams, laser therapy or injections.

Things You'll Need

  • Frozen peas or used teabags
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Vitamin E
  • Neti Pot
  • Makeup concealer
  • Translucent powder
  1. Home Remedies for Dark Eye Circles

    • 1

      Lie down for 10-15 minutes and apply a cold compress to your eyes, such as frozen peas, two chilled spoons or a used teabag that has been cooled. Herbal chamomile teabags work, but otherwise use caffeinated tea.

    • 2
      Spas often use cucumbers to help reduce puffiness and dark circles.
      Spas often use cucumbers to help reduce puffiness and dark circles.

      Apply a thin slice of cucumber to each eye rather than a cold compress, but take care not to get cucumber juice in your eyes -- it may sting.

    • 3

      Get more sleep. Even though lack of sleep doesn't necessarily cause dark circles, it can accentuate them.

    • 4

      Use a saline spray or neti pot to rinse your sinuses daily. Relieving sinus congestion can help reduce darkness.

    • 5

      Dab a small amount of vitamin E under each eye. If you don't have vitamin E oil, pierce a vitamin E capsule. This method does not work for everyone.

    • 6

      Drink plenty of water every day to help your body flush impurities that contribute to under-eye darkness.

    • 7

      Avoid the sun and, if you haven't already done so, quit smoking.

    Cosmetic Concealer for Dark Eye Circles

    • 1

      Choose a concealer one shade lighter than your foundation. If you have excess discoloration, choose two shades lighter.

    • 2

      Wash, dry and moisturize your face before applying concealer and allow your facial moisturizer to soak in completely. Blot any excess.

    • 3

      Use a small amount of concealer on the tip of your finger and dab lightly under each eye. Work from the outside corner toward the inside.

    • 4

      Blend concealer completely with your fingertips using a gentle back-and-forth dotting method. The skin around your eyes is very delicate; don't rub or pull.

    • 5

      Cover concealer with translucent powder to set it and prevent creasing.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pigment-lightening creams and lotions available at drugstores or beauty counters can be effective in reducing under-eye darkness. The Mayo Clinic suggests choosing a cream that contains plant-based compounds.
  • Don't apply more than one coat of concealer or it will look obvious that you're trying to hide facial blemishes and discoloration.
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  • Photo Credit Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

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