Dark Circles Under Eyes

Is it possible to get a cosmetic procedure to rid dark circles COMPLETELY under the eyes? (And I mean JUST dark circles, NO bags, NO wrinkles.) Also, can spider veins a long with darkening on the actual eyelid going all the way up to the eyebrow be completely removed? Thank you, this has bothered me my whole life and I’m finally going to do something about it, I need your help!  -Heidi B.

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The Plastic Surgery Channel Surgeon Answers: (4)

  1. Heidi

    Dark circles under the eyes can be a difficult problem to treat. Part of the issue is in determining the cause of the pigmentary issue. If there are a lot of small veins entering into the eyelid, treating the veins with a vascular laser helps. Bleaching creams may work for some people  while laser resurfacing may work for others. If the skin is very thin and the cause of the dark circles are related to the underlying muscle color than filling the space with fat or sculptra can work. Best is to see a plastic surgeon or dermatologist familiar with the treatment options.

    Posted on January 2nd, 2010
  2. Dear Heidi

    One must differentiate whether the dark circles are due to pigmentation within the skin or perhaps a shadow phenomenon.  You can easily differentiate by casting a light directly level with your face while looking into a mirror.  If the dark circles (which may be due to shadows beneath eyelid bags) diminish or disappear, then treatment may be directed to removal of the eyelid bags.


    If the dark circles are due to pigmentation of the skin, then no surgery can be of help.  Rather, various peels, lasers or skin bleaching creams may offer some help.  The easiest alternative, though, remains with the use of concealing make-up.


    One myth which must be discarded however.   Dark circles are not due to "free blood" under the skin from leaking capillaries. 


    Best of luck!


    Elliot Jacobs, MD, FACS

    New York City

    Posted on January 3rd, 2010
  3. When we talk about dark circles under the eyes, people don't always mean the same thing so it is good that you pointed out that you don't have bags or skin laxity. The solution is more likely to be nonsurgical in that case, though there are no miracles here so you may have to adjust your expectations. The treatments that are most effective would include lasers or IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) that target the brown pigment. There are skin care products that inhibit the pigment production that would also be used. Success with these depends a lot on your skin type and natural pigment, so you need to consult a qualified plastic aurgeon or dermatologist.

    Posted on January 4th, 2010
  4. Treatment of dark circles depend upon the cause. Contour issue can be adressed by blepharoplasty surgery. Most young patients, however, have these dark circles under their eyes due to the translucency of the skin. the underlying muscle shows through the skin. In this situation, cover-up makeup make be your best alternative.

    Posted on January 5th, 2010

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