If you have dark circles under your eyes, you might assume that you're not getting enough sleep. Puffiness and discoloration can be caused by a lack of rest, but allergies and thin eye skin can spur dark circles, too. Prescription-strength eye creams and dermatologist treatments lighten circles and fade discolored spots fast, but they're often pricey and inconvenient. Instead, head to the nearest drugstore and pick up an over-the-counter remedy. You'll pay much less for comparable results.
Color correcting creams are widely available at drugstores. Look for a CC cream that says "minimizes dark circles" or "eye brightening" on the label. These versatile creams use iron oxide or titanium oxide to conceal under-eye circles. Some creams contain aloe, cucumber extract and B vitamins to help ease puffiness. They hydrate your face and temporarily reduce the appearance of fine lines and uneven skin texture. Some CC creams come with a built-in brush for easy application. Expect to pay less than $20 for a CC cream at drugstores.
Retinol and Brighteners
If you have thin skin under your eyes, blood vessels can show through. This is usually hereditary, so your dark circles may never seem to go away. To fix the issue, apply an over-the-counter retinol cream to skin every night. Retinol helps build collagen, which thickens skin over time. If you need something tougher, ask a dermatologist about prescription-strength retinoid creams. To correct discoloration on the skin's surface, use a bleaching cream that contains daisy extract, licorice or other natural brighteners. Creams containing 2-percent hydroquinone will fade dark patches under eyes and elsewhere on your face.
Antihistamine, Sunscreen and Other Treatments
If you suffer from allergies, take an over-the-counter antihistamine to ease inflammation, which can cause dark eye circles. Sun exposure makes eye circles look darker. Shield your delicate under-eye skin with sunblock whenever you're headed outside. If your under-eye skin tends to get puffy in the morning, treat the area with a caffeine-based cream at night. After you've applied the cream, put a piece of medical paper tape under each eye to keep blood from pooling there. Products that contain grape seed oil or green tea may strengthen capillary walls. Arnica-based creams help fight inflammation. Look for arnica cream at a health-food store's drug or beauty department.
Cover Up With Makeup
Dark-circle correctors may take a few days or longer to work. In the meantime, hide the discoloration with cosmetics. An apricot- or peach-colored concealer helps conceal bluish circles. Combine a few drops of liquid concealer with a pinch of loose powder and then dab it under your eyes gently. If you have under-eye bags, use a concealer pen to trace a line just below the puffiness. Putting concealer directly on bags will make them more noticeable. Dark eye shadow can draw attention to circles, too. Instead, stick with a coat or two of volumizing mascara.