How To Get Rid Of Undereye Circles On Darker Skin Tones

Photographed by Michael Beckert.
Some say that the best inspiration strikes at night. But most would also agree that an all-nighter of creating — or just partying — is a surefire way for dark circles to creep up underneath your eyes.
This especially affects those with darker skin tones, according to Heather Woolery-Lloyd, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Specific Beauty. "They're more noticeable since there is more melanin in their body," she says. "This makes it more challenging to treat dark circles for people of color versus fairer skin because the formulations need to be adjusted to be more effective. Also, hyperpigmentation in general is more common in darker skin-toned women, so dark circles are a more common complaint."
While there are plenty of great concealers out there to hide whatever it is you were doing the night before, first, let's get to the root of the issue. Ahead, the common culprits and solutions for dark circles on dark skin.
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Photographed by Rochelle Brock.
Hit The Sack — Immediately

Unsurprisingly, lack of sleep is a huge culprit for dark circles. When you're tired, your undereye circles flourish because the dilation causes shadows, says Dr. Woolery-Lloyd.

Try not to sacrifice your beauty rest in exchange for a night out on the town. Most studies say that seven to nine hours is ideal. While you're catching those zzz's, William Kwan, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and ethnic skin expert, suggests this: Sleep with your head slightly elevated to fight puffiness. Poor circulation is another reason for circles, and this position keeps the blood flow going.

Before you hit the sheets, place compresses, eye masks, or cooled-off brewed tea bags on your lids to decrease the puffiness. That way, you get to #treatyoself and wake up prettier.
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Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Pay Attention To The Seasons

If your allergies are already out of control during the spring, well, here's another reason to hate them: "When you rub your eyes, that leads to darkening," Dr. Woolery-Lloyd notes. "If the skin is rough, it may be an effect of dust or pollen and the itching that it causes." Sadly, we're not safe during summer, either. "Darkening and sun exposure can increase the level of skin pigmentation and melanin in that area," she adds.
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Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
You Are What You Eat

Dr. Kwan says that puffiness contributes to undereye darkening, which is exacerbated when you consume salty foods. "Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties — especially those that are highest in vitamin C, including red and green hot peppers, red and yellow bell peppers, kale, strawberries, and guava," says Nicholas Perricone, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and nutritionist and author of Forever Young.
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Photographed by Michael Beckert.
Or, It Could Just Be Your Genes

"Many of my ethnic patients with darker skin types have darker skin under their eyes, which they usually inherited from their parents," Dr. Kwan says. "My Indian patients complain about this genetic trait most."
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Photographed by Michael Beckert.
How To Pick The Right Eye Cream

"Skin color does matter when it comes to eye creams," Dr. Woolery-Lloyd says. "Those with darker skin tones are more prone to discoloration and hyperpigmentation due to higher levels of melanin."

She recommends botanical brightening ingredients like licorice extract, kojic acid, and bearberry extract. Products with iron chelators and light-diffusing particles help to reduce the appearance of darker pigments, too, according to Dr. Kwan.

Ahead, the creams that both derms recommend.
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Don't be taken aback by the blue hue — the cool-toned tint helps color-correct your dark circles, while the collagen and caffeine firm the under-eye area.
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We already love this brand's Super C Brightening Serum — and its under-eye treatment contains the same hero brightener. Of course, we wouldn't expect anything less than perfection from the melanin experts.
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R29 associate content strategy editor Nana Agyemang says that this date seed and avocado protein extract cream is extremely hydrating; a little goes a long way. "I feel refreshed and hydrated after putting it on," she notes.
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The vitamin E and hyaluronic acid in NeoCutis' formula deliver hydration to dry, tired skin.

NeoCutis Lumiere Bio-restorative Eye Cream With PSP, $97, available at Dermstore.
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The peptides in this derm- and editor-favorite promote cell turnover for fast brightening results.

SkinMedica TNS Illuminating Eye Cream, $92, available at Dermstore.
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This rich cream goes on like butter and works while you sleep to keep your undereyes looking refreshed and youthful.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Cream Synchronized Complex II, $60, available at Sephora.
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If you're not into creams, this hyaluronic acid-packed gel is a potent solution.

Kate Somerville Wrinkle Warrior Eye Visible Dark Circle Eraser, $60, available at Sephora.
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Your under-eye area is home to some of the most sensitive skin on your body — this cream has collagen and elastin to firm it up without any aggression.

Obagi ELASTIderm Eye Treatment Cream, $112, available at Dermstore.

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