Dark Circles

The first step in effectively lightening your dark circles is to understand the cause. This includes increased pigment production, blood flow, shadows or allergies. From there we target the cause with skin care, lasers, soft tissue injectable & other directed therapies.


5 minutes


3+ weeks

Treatment Time

2-4 minutes



Treatment science score

The science of treating dark circles

  • Dark circles can be due to a multitude of conditions
  • Understanding the type of dark circles & the cause is the first step in treatment
  • Skin care pigment correctors can reduce pigment production
  • Picosecond lasers are highly effective in removing most cases of it
  • Dermal fillers are effective in hiding shadows due to deep set eyes

The picosecond laser has revolutionized the treatment of pigment associated with dark circles. This laser gives fast results without any downtime.

What causes dark circles?

Understanding the cause of dark circles will save you a whole lot of time, money & unnecessary or inaccurate treatments. In simple terms dark circles can be acquired or genetic. Acquired causes are easier to treat, genetic causes do not respond well to treatment, or conversely, made worse with treatment.

Acquired causes include post inflammatory pigment, atypical melasma & pigment or blood vessel congestion secondary to allergies. Genetic causes run in families & have a specific pattern, more on this later.

What is the best way to treat dark circles?

Matching an appropriate treatment method gives the highest chances of success.

  • Dark circles due to pigment: pigment correctors & lasers.
  • It is due shadows from tear trough: dermal fillers.
  • It due to vessels & congestion: skin care & vascular lasers.
  • It due to allergies: desensitization, skin care & lasers.

Book an appointment with our clinical team if you require any guidance with diagnosis & treatments.

Will all cases of dark circles respond to treatment?

We can improve most, but not all cases of dark circles. Good response is seen in cases due to inflammation (PIH or post inflammatory hyperpigmentation) & dark circles due to tear troughs. These cases are treated with creams, lasers & dermal fillers.

Poor responses are seen in pigment due to genetic causes, termed constitutional hyperpigmentation. This includes pigmentation demarcation lines or PDL. Our clinical team can accurately diagnose your type of pigment & provide recommendations on whether you should embark on a course of treatments.

What is the role of dermal filler for dark circles?

Dermal fillers are used to treat shadowing due to tear troughs. They improve the deep furrow that sits just below the lower eyelid. Not all patients are candidates for dark circle treatment with fillers. Expect a 20-40% improvement in suitable patients after 1-2 sessions.

When are lasers indicated for pigment around the eyes?

Pico or dermal toning lasers are indicated when –

  • Dark circles are secondary to pigment; examples include post inflammatory hyperpigmentation or melasma.
  • There is thin skin as lasers increase the thickness of the dermis. In these cases, other treatments may be indicated, including the use of collagen stimulating dermal fillers.

Pigment due to vascular causes & congestion may also respond to vascular lasers.

What is the role of microneedling PRP?

Microneedling & PRP has a very narrow window of application in the context of dark circles. It is primarily used to treat thin under eye skin in suitable skin types. Microneedling PRP is not used to treat dark circles due to vascular causes, inflammation, or genetics. If applied in these cases, it often worsens it.

What results can I expect from a treatment?

Depending on the type of pigment, you can expect a 30 to 80% improvement in it. As a guide, fillers for tear trough can correct pigmentation by up to 30%, whilst dark circles due to inflammation can markedly improve after 6 to 12 months of therapy.

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Can creams fade dark circles?

Creams can be effective in some patterns of dark circles, including those secondary to post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, increased blood flow, & some cases of ‘atrophic’ skin.

The ideal cream formulation will be determined by your treating clinician.

What ingredients should I look for in an eye cream?

Eye creams contain many ingredients, however the key ones include-

  • Peptides: to increase collagen production
  • Anti-inflammatories: to reduce pigment due to irritated skin
  • Vitamin K: to help with pigment binding & antioxidants roles
  • Caffeine: modulates blood flow
  • Retinol: for collagen production
  • Boron; for light reflectance

The Melasma Clinic treats all forms of pigmentation

Our specialist clinic is overseen by dermatologists who have extensive experience in the treatment of darker skin types, including management of Hori & Ota naevi. Our doctors have spent many years lecturing in Asian countries on the topic of pigmentary disorders. Combined with the very best in laser technology they deliver outstanding results in the shortest possible time.

How do we manage skin allergies & dark circles due to rubbing?

Allergies are a common cause of dark circles, especially in patients with recurrent sinusitis, conjunctivitis & hayfever. This can lead to itchy eyes, which leads to rubbing. Rubbing can lead to pigmentation, especially in darker skin types.

Allergies are managed by a medical dermatologist at the Skin Hospital in Darlinghurst, often in conjunction with an allergist.

How to treat dark circles due to excess filler under the eyes?

Filler under the eyes can migrate, or attract excess water over time. This can cause a blue hue under the skin named Tyndall. Removal of dermal filler using a reversal agent called Hyalase is required.

Ideally the injector who placed the filler has the responsibility of removing the filler as they know the product & level of placement. Failing that, our dermatologists & doctors can assist in dissolving the filler .

Dr Davin Lim

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If I can identify the cause of pigmentation, chances are I can treat it. This can only be achieved with careful real time examination…

More of our mostFrequently asked questions

What lasers are best for dark circles?

What does it mean by ‘vascular’ dark circles?

What are the genetic causes of dark circles & how do we treat them?

What forms of dark circles are hard to remove?

How does Picosure Pro clear up pigment around the eyes?

What is the role of fat transfer for dark circles?

What about Rejuran?

Is retinol safe to use under the eyes?

Can BBL or IPL be used to treat dark circles?

A SummaryTreating dark circles

Dr Davin Lim | Dermatologist
The Melasma Clinic, Brisbane | Sydney

It is really complex as most cases of dark circles are multifactorial, namely genetic (seen in darker skin types), coupled with exogenous causes, namely contact dermatitis as well as iatrogenic causes- microneedling is a common example.

Some cases respond to lasers, especially if it is due to vascular causes, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. If the cause is multifactorial, then treatment should be aimed at addressing all the factors.