Eye circles

Your eyes are the window to your soul, but what do dark circles reveal about you and why do you have them? Discover the causes and possible solutions to restore the radiance of your eyes.

  • Dark circles under the eyes are often more than just a lack of sleep – skin aging, genes and diet play an important role.

  • From skincare to your lifestyle to aesthetic procedures – there are ways for everyone to minimize dark circles.

Medically reviewed by:

Medically reviewed by:

Eye circles: Simply explained!

You probably know the feeling: after a night out or a stressful week, deep shadows put a damper on your radiant face. Dark circles. Just like forehead wrinkles, they can appear earlier than we would like. But what is behind it?

There are many causes of dark circles under the eyes. It can be genetic, but sometimes it is also the tiny blood vessels that show through the thin skin under the eyes. Fatigue, stress, an unhealthy diet or even allergies can increase this effect.

Now the good news: there are ways to do something about it! But first we need to clarify what types there are, because unfortunately not all of them can be treated equally effectively. And please note: dark circles are not crow’s feet. You can find out more about the different dark circles in the next section.

What types of dark circles are there?

Did you know: Not all dark circles are the same? Let’s take a look at the differences to find out what they mean for you.

  • Vascular dark circles: Blood vessels, especially fine veins, can show through the particularly thin skin under the eyes, casting a bluish to purple shadow. They become particularly noticeable when you are tired, as the blood vessels dilate.
  • Pigmented dark circles under the eyes: This is an increased production of melanin in the skin under the eyes. The result? A dark, brown shadow. This can be genetic or caused by exposure to the sun, such as pigment spots or inflammation.
  • Structural dark circles: These are caused by changes in facial tissue or ageing processes. If the fatty tissue under the eyes shrinks or shifts, this can lead to depressions that cast shadows. The same applies when the collagen in the skin is reduced and the skin becomes thinner.
  • Fluid-related dark circles under the eyes: Water retention can also create shadows under the eyes. This can be caused by a high-salt diet, allergies or the menstrual cycle.

Now you know that dark circles can be far more than just a sign of a lack of sleep. What type are you? And more importantly, how can you treat your dark circles effectively?

When dark circles become a problem

Dark circles often appear as silent witnesses to a long night. But there is sometimes more to this shadow than we suspect. Genetics can play a major role, especially at a young age. However, dark circles can be a real emotional balancing act, especially in the formative years of adolescence and childhood.

However, genetics is not always behind this. Because if you are struggling with persistent shadows despite getting enough sleep, this could paradoxically be a sign of a sleep disorder. While occasional itching or watering of the eyes is not yet an alarm sign, in combination with dark circles they sometimes indicate a hidden allergy. And pale skin with shimmering blood vessels? This may be due to an iron deficiency. Hormonal fluctuations can also cause dark, pigmented circles under the eyes.

Important: No matter what the cause of your dark circles is, it is always advisable to listen to your body. Do not hesitate to seek medical advice. Because your well-being comes first.

How do dark circles form?

The skin under our eyes is thin with many small blood vessels. If the blood circulation in these vessels slows down – due to tiredness or stress, for example – the red and blue blood cells accumulate in these capillaries. As the skin here is so transparent, this appears as a dark, often bluish shadow.

Another common reason is the natural ageing process. Over time, we lose subcutaneous fat and collagen in the facial area, especially under the eyes. The result: the skin becomes more transparent, making the blood vessels stand out even more clearly. The impression is reinforced by the loss of volume in the tear trough area, which makes the face look even more tired. At the same time, the marionette and nasolabial folds deepen, emphasizing the aging process.

Fluid dynamics also play a role. If fluid is retained in the tissues under the eyes, this can lead to swelling. These puffinesses, combined with the shadow of the overlying skin, deepen the impression of dark circles.

How are dark circles caused?

Now you have already learned some important things. Now let’s take a look at the causes. This is because dark circles can be caused by many factors.

  • Genetics: Yes, sometimes our genes are the reason. If your parents or grandparents were prone to dark circles, you are more likely to have them too.
  • Age: As we age, our skin loses elasticity and collagen, making changes to the face such as facial wrinkles more visible.
  • Lifestyle habits: Smoking, high alcohol consumption and inadequate sleep can not only lead to blemished skin or acne, but also to dark circles under the eyes.
  • Diet: An unbalanced diet, especially a high salt intake, could aggravate dark circles due to increased water retention.
  • Health condition: Certain illnesses, allergies or iron deficiency can also be a possible cause.

Of course, not all causes can be treated well, because genetics and ageing can hardly be influenced. But at least dark circles can often be concealed somewhat.

How can dark circles under the eyes be treated effectively?

You may be surprised, but the first step starts with the right skin care. Creams & serums – enriched with vitamin C, retinol or hyaluronic acid – are real secret weapons in anti-aging medicine. This is because these ingredients can help to strengthen the skin under the eyes, brighten it and increase its elasticity. Please note: Not all of the above products can be taken during pregnancy or when planning to have children.

Of course, there are also medical solutions. Treatments such as radiofrequency microneedling or laser can achieve impressive results. They stimulate collagen production and can significantly improve the appearance of the skin. However, if you are looking for an immediate solution, fillers or
hyaluronic acid injections
are the key. This is because they fill out the volume under the eyes and make the skin look fresher and more youthful. But beware: pigmented or vascular dark circles can usually only be minimally improved.

Any questions? Our FAQ section has the answers!

The reason for dark circles can be as individual as your fingerprint. Sometimes it is genetics and in others, advancing age may make the skin under the eyes thinner and the blood vessels more translucent. Because a life in overdrive, with stress and lack of sleep, also causes the skin to suffer. Circles under the eyes can also give an indication of the general state of health.

Sometimes dark circles are more than just a cosmetic concern. They can be a mirror of your general well-being. A lack of sleep, dehydration or stress often cause dark circles under the eyes. At times they are also a sign of allergies, iron deficiency or, in rare cases, an indication of kidney problems. However, it is important to look at the overall picture of symptoms and complaints. If you are unsure or have any questions, be sure to consult a doctor to rule out possible underlying health problems.

Yes, a vitamin deficiency may indeed contribute to dark circles under the eyes. If your body does not get enough iron or vitamin K, for example, this can lead to a pale complexion, making the blood vessels under the eyes appear more prominent. Vitamin B12 deficiency also affects blood and collagen formation. As you can see, our skin is often sensitive to internal imbalances, and these subtle changes in complexion can sometimes be the first indication that something is missing in our nutrient balance.

Getting rid of dark circles is often a difficult challenge. Apart from sufficient sleep and a healthy lifestyle, there are various methods to minimize them. Skin care products with ingredients such as vitamin C, K, retinol or hyaluronic acid can help to improve the appearance. Aesthetic procedures, such as
hyaluronic acid injections
can restore lost volume under the eyes and thus reduce shadows and wrinkles. For stubborn dark circles or those that have appeared late in life, often only
radio frequency needling
or laser treatments. We will be happy to advise you on site about what is suitable for you.

More questions? Simply make a personal consultation appointment online.


Last updated: 21.10.2023