Noticed that your eyes look like you’ve joined a COVID-secure Fight Club? You’re not alone. Dark circles are an extremely common concern and, although not life threatening, may have an impact on emotional wellbeing.


The skin around the eye is thin and delicate, covering dark blood vessels and the muscle responsible for moving your eye lid. The dark colour can shine through the thin skin making the area appear darker.

Dark circles, or periorbital hyperpigmentation, have many causes including genetics, allergies, excess skin pigment deposits, ageing, anaemia, hormones, stress, and – of course – lack of sleep. There may be multiple factors at work, each requiring different treatments.

First, one needs to identify the cause before selecting the appropriate treatment. If, for instance, excessive skin pigmentation is to blame, you can help prevent further skin pigment deposits by applying sunscreen.

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Cold tea bag compresses might also be useful. Although there is limited research that caffeine works to diminish dark circles, it can narrow the blood vessels and stimulate circulation. Plus, antioxidants, which can be found in green and black tea, have been shown to improve skin health and help prevent ageing.

If all else fails, destressing, getting enough sleep (and using a good concealer!) may help.

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Stephanie Organ
Stephanie OrganScience editor and writer

Stephanie holds a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences and a Master’s in Science Communication, and has an interest in health and wellbeing.