Dark circles under the eyes are discolorations around the eyes within several poorly defined causes. In most cases, the dark circles are caused by visible blood or blood vessels that can be seen through the skin. The skin around the eyelids (peri-orbital skin) is the thinnest skin in the body. When blood passes through the large veins close to the surface it can produce a bluish tint, similar to a bruise. The thinner the skin the darker the circles appear. In people with deep-set eyes, the shadow of the hollows will contribute to the dark color.
The condition, although it can begin in teenage years, does worsen with age and progressive sundamage which continues to thin the skin around the eyes. In addition to chronic fatigue, any condition that causes the eyes to itch can contribute to darker circles due to chronic rubbing. On occasion, hyperpigmentation of the top layers of skin adds to the problem. This is often seen in individuals with darker skin.
Dr. Paul Frank demonstrates treatment of dark under-eye circles
Although to date, there is no cure to dark circles, there are many topical and procedural methods to improve them dramatically. Topically, green tea extracts, anti-imflammatory antioxidants, and vitamin K have proven to have some efficacy. These are found in the pfrankmd skincare line. Procedurally, there are a few options; many of which are used in combination to achieve the most ideal and minimally invasive result. For discoloration and eye hollows, fillers, topical treatment, and Botox/Dysport provide significant results (see Non Surgical Eye Lift) When skin tightening is required and bags are present, The Fraxel Repair provides excellent efficacy.