Under-eye dark circles


Is concealer the only solution for my panda eyes?

Pandas are cute, but not many of us want to look like one! Most people however can relate to the bear’s most recognisable trait at least some of the time…the famous panda eyes.

Historically this has always been attributed to a variety of reasons including poor sleep, wearing makeup to bed, sleep position…I could go on! Furthermore the shop counters are strewn with millions of beauty creams claiming to erase the dark haloes that make us look aged and tired. But why do they appear and how can we (realistically) get rid of them?


  1. Thin periorbital skin: For most people the underlying cause is the thinness of skin around the eyes. Periorbital skin is naturally much thinner than rest of the face measuring only 0.5mm in thickness on average. As a result, it is very easy to see underlying blood vessels, which will give a dark/bluish tinge to the skin.

  2. Bone structure: This is little known, but for those with deep-set eyes, your bone structure may naturally cast darker shadows, giving you the appearance of under-eye circles.

  3. Lack of sleep: An almost universal myth about the cause of dark circles, the mechanism remains unclear. It is thought that having a good night’s sleep helps to restore blood flow to the face after a whole day of being upright. Lack of sleep therefore renders the facial skin more pale and makes underlying vessels more visible.

  4. Medical problems: Anaemia is a known cause of pale complexions, once again making under-eye vessels more obvious. Hayfever, which causes itchy, irritable eyes can contribute to thinning of the skin and also puffiness around the eyes.

  5. Skin problems: Not too infrequently dark circles around eyes can be due to pigmentation in the skin - eg melisma, which may be amenable to treatment with various skin lightening creams.

Top tips for treating panda eyes:

  1. Exclude and treat any correctable underlying medical problem.

  2. If you’re unsure, arrange to see a dermatologist to exclude a pigmentation problem, as you could be wasting your time and money on skin lightening creams if you don’t actually have an underlying pigmentation problem.

  3. It is super important to protect the delicate skin around the eyes by investing in a good quality moisturiser and by minimising the ageing effects of the sun….think sunblock, sunglasses and a hat, and it will be more than just your eyes benefiting from this in the long run.

  4. The cold teabag and cucumber story is not totally nonsense….Tea bags contain tannins which are vasoconstrictors that shut down blood vessels as does the cooling effect of cold, wet teabags and cucumber slices, but any effect would probably be short-lived.

  5. And finally, if the issue is thin skin, visible blood vessels and deep set bone structure a combination of clever pigment correcting/concealing technology and handy tips from a skilled make-up artist will completely remove any trace of the panda eye before you even leave your front door!

Christina Vlachou