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Lighten dark circles

Published: Oct. 25, 2017
Updated: Oct. 25, 2017

I am 28 and looking forward to getting married next month. I have lost weight and undergone keratin therapy to smoothen my hair. However, my face is marred by dark circles under my eyes. I have tried some home remedies and commercial cosmetic creams, but they have not been effective. Please advise.

Gayatri Vishwanath


Under-eye dark circles can affect both men and women. The skin around the eyelids is the thinnest skin on the body. A deficiency of nutrients or the lack of a balanced diet can contribute to discolouration of the area under the eyes. Lack of sleep or excessive fatigue can also result in paleness of the skin which again allows the blood underneath to become more visible and make the skin appear darker.

Dark circles can also result from allergies, excessive sun exposure, fluid retention and aging, which thins the skin under the eyes. The role of heredity can also not be ruled out. Stress and hormonal changes can contribute to dark circles. Iron and Vitamin B deficiency too can lead to dark circles. In such cases, a few dietary and lifestyle changes along with the application of a gentle under-eye cream should reduce the dark circles.

Dark circles are likely to become more noticeable and become permanent with advancing age. As we get older, skin loses collagen and gets thinner and more translucent. As the skin ages, its water retaining property is compromised.


Drinking adequate quantity of water, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly (which helps improve blood circulation), avoiding excessive exposure to the sun, using a good sun protection cream when outdoors and applying an under-eye cream before going to bed can all help address this problem.

Drink lots of water, eat more fresh fruit and sleep well.

Home remedies: Soothe your eyes with cotton wool dipped in rose water. Place the cotton pads on your eyes for 10-15 minutes and lie still to ease away tension. Later, wash with cold water. Repeat every night for about a month for best results.

Mix one tablespoon of crushed de-skinned almonds with enough whole, fresh milk to make a nice paste. Apply to the under-eye area and leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse with cool water.

Apply a few drops of sweet almond oil on the dark circles and massage gently into the skin. Leave the oil on overnight. Wash off the oil with a gentle face wash the next morning. You can repeat this every night until the dark circles are gone.

Dipping cotton pads in fresh, chilled cucumber juice and placing them over your eyes for 15 minutes daily for about 15 days will be helpful.

Apply fresh aloe vera gel under the eyes and massage for a few seconds. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes. Clean with a moist cotton pad.

Make a mixture of fresh paste of sandalwood, turmeric (of equal quantity) and milk cream and apply as a thin coat over the dark circles. Allow it to dry and wash off with cold water. Do this once daily for about a fortnight for visible results.


Kumkumadi taila (from Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala or Vaidyaratnama Oushadhasala) – apply a few drops on the dark circles and massage gently into the skin at bedtime. Leave it overnight and wash off with a gentle face wash the next morning. For stubborn dark circles, you may have to repeat this procedure for about a month.

For those who dislike applying oil because of its stickiness, you may try:

Himalaya’s Under Eye Cream or Youth Eternity Under Eye Cream — gently massage the cream into the delicate area beneath the eyes after thorough cleansing. Use twice daily.

Kumkumadi lepam (Imis Pharmaceuticals) — apply a small quantity to the affected area twice daily, after washing and drying the skin.

Recurrence of dark circles might be because of stress, depression and a hectic lifestyle. No amount of home remedies will work if the mind isn’t calm. Regular practice of yoga and meditation are found to be effective in decreasing dark circles, as they are helpful in calming the mind.

However, if the condition persists despite following the above measures, it is important to consult a dermatologist to rule out any other underlying cause that might be major.  

Dr Srikanth is a postgraduate in Ayurveda and has been a consulting physician for the past 17 years. He is currently  National Manager, Scientific Services,  at The Himalaya Drug Company.



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