Dermatologists use laser resurfacing and hyaluronic acid fillers, such as Restylane and Juvéderm, to target the root causes of dark circles by reducing hyperpigmentation and plumping up the under-eye skin. But these treatments are expensive, have a long recovery time and can cause unwanted side effects, including bruising and long-lasting lumps [source: Zezima]. Luckily, there are less invasive steps you can take to minimize and prevent dark circles on a daily basis.
- Banish bags by getting plenty of sleep and exercise. Avoid snoozing on your side or stomach, which can cause fluid to collect under the eyes. Instead, prop up your head with an extra pillow [source: Levitt].
- If you suffer from seasonal allergies and hay fever, take an over-the-counter antihistamine. This can reduce puffiness and keep itchiness at bay so you won't be tempted to rub your eyes [source: Danoff].
- Don't smoke. The unhealthy habit prematurely ages your skin, and studies suggest nicotine may also disrupt sleep patterns [source: Fine]. Don't drink heavily either, since alcohol can lead to water retention.
- To minimize under-eye pigmentation, apply sunscreen all the way up to your lower lash line every day, Dr. Wechsler advises. Wear large sunglasses for further protection.
- Choose a daily eye cream with ingredients that target under-eye circles and puffiness. According to cosmetics companies, caffeine deflates bags, vitamin C minimizes melanin and vitamin K repairs broken capillaries.
- Topical retinoids, including over-the-counter versions, can make blood vessels less visible by promoting the building of collagen and plumping the skin under your eyes, says Dr. Wechsler. "Use the retinoid with a rich eye cream to reduce potential irritation and further nourish the skin," she counsels.
- Some experts believe vitamin deficiencies can exacerbate dark circles, so cover your bases by taking a daily multivitamin. Since anemia is also a suspected cause, eat plenty of iron-rich foods, such as beans and dark leafy greens [source: Ni].