Side Effects of Cream That Treats Dark Under-Eye Circles

Many people are afflicted with dark circles, whether it’s from lack of sleep or other reasons. Dark circles under your eyes can make you look tired and keep you from looking your best. Under eye creams can help reduce the effect of these dark circles, but they are not without side effects. Generally, the side effects of under eye creams depend on the primary ingredient of each product.

Woman with dots of eye cream under her eyes (Image: Kazzakova/iStock/Getty Images)

Skin Sensitivity

Dark circle creams are often combined with wrinkle creams for the eyes and sometimes contain various forms of mild acids that can cause a burning sensation, especially on the sensitive skin around the eye. Read manufacturer ingredients and instructions carefully, because some instruct that mild burning is a sign of the product working. Eye Wrinkle notes if your anti-wrinkle, anti-dark circle eye cream does not contain acid within it and stinging or burning still occurs, stop using the product.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a popular primary ingredient in eye creams for dark circles as it is thought to repair blood vessels that can create the dark pigmentation. Consumer Search notes experts are divided about the effectiveness of vitamin K applied topically versus the proven benefit of taking it orally. In very rare cases, people have reported having an allergic reaction to vitamin K. Allergic reactions are usually confined to those taking vitamin K as a supplement or as an injection, and even rarer for topical applications.


Hydroquinone is a bleaching agent used in skin bleaches to diminish the appearance of freckles, age spots, acne spots and dark circles under the eyes. Dark notes that if not used exactly as recommended or prescribed, hydroquinone can cause hyper and hypo pigmentation. These are near permanent skin discolorations, and it is recommended to cover skin treated with hydroquinone with sunscreen before exposure.


Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A used in many anti-aging products, including treating dark circles under the eyes. Consumer Search reports retinol can cause some irritation of the skin cream, though the skin can adjust to the treatment, causing the irritation to stop. Some users switch to using the product every other night to help prevent irritation.

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