- Coconut oil is sometimes recommended for treating dark circles
- However, studies have not proven the efficacy of this treatment
- On the contrary, coconut oil may clog pores and cause acne
Dark circles are caused by lack of sleep, dehydration, sun exposure and genetics. One of the many remedies purported to treat them is coconut oil.
Although coconut oil may have health benefits when incorporated into your diet, using it on your skin is not recommended. Coconut oil is not particularly effective at treating dark circles and may instead cause clogged pores and breakouts.
Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dark Circles
Coconut oil has moisturizing properties and has been demonstrated to increase cell turnover rate, improve the protective barrier of the skin and reduce inflammation. It is thought that this combination of effects may improve the overall quality of the skin below the eyes and reduce the appearance of dark circles.
Does Coconut Oil Get Rid of Dark Under-Eye Circles?
There are no scientific studies that prove coconut oil can improve under-eye circles. It may be that anecdotal evidence pointing to its efficacy is wishful thinking.
Coconut oil is comedogenic, meaning it clogs pores. This makes it unsuitable for use by nearly everyone except those with extremely dry skin.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Dark Circles
Using coconut oil for dark circles is a simple process.
- In the evening, wash your face with a gentle cleanser to remove all makeup and dirt from the day
- Measure 1 tsp of coconut oil that is at room temperature
- Using your fingers or two cotton balls, gently massage the oil in a circular motion into the skin below each eye until absorbed into your skin.
Coconut oil is best used at nighttime as it makes the skin appear greasy. Discontinue use of coconut oil if you experience any signs of irritation.
Choosing a coconut oil product
Cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil is considered the best and healthiest form of the oil. This oil is pressed from fresh, raw coconut instead of dried or bleached coconut and is not further refined.
Alternatives to Coconut Oil
Other treatments may be more effective at treating the appearance of dark circles than coconut oil. These include both natural ingredients and dermatologist-developed skin care products.
Other natural options
Turmeric, lemon juice and almond oil are among the other natural treatments and DIY home remedies that can be used to treat dark circles. Lemon juice has been proven to reduce hyperpigmentation, while almond essential oil has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Over-the-counter (OTC) ingredients
OTC solutions may treat dark circles more quickly than natural remedies can, as they are specifically formulated to do so.
Hydroquinone and arbutin, available in cream and serums, are effective in lightening pigmentation and discoloration around the eyes.
A wide variety of oils, vitamins and proteins have been proven to treat dark circles due to thinning skin and visible blood vessels in the under-eye area. These include retinoids, peptides, vitamin E, C and hyaluronic acid. They are active ingredients in a wide range of anti-aging products including eye masks, eye creams and moisturizers.
Coconut oil has health benefits but is not proven to be effective as a topical treatment for dark under-eye circles. While this oil was previously touted as a miracle beauty product, its comedogenic properties can increase the likelihood of clogged pores and acne.
More effective treatments for dark circles exist in the form of both at-home remedies and OTC products. These treatments can resolve many of the causes of dark circles by improving skin quality and lightening hyperpigmentation.
- Lin, T. K., Zhong, L., & Santiago, J. L. (2017). Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. International journal of molecular sciences, 19(1), 70. doi:10.3390/ijms19010070
- Smit, N., Vicanova, J., & Pavel, S. (2009). The hunt for natural skin whitening agents. International journal of molecular sciences, 10(12), 5326–5349. doi:10.3390/ijms10125326
- Pilkington, S. J., Belden, S., & Miller, R. A. (2015). The Tricky Tear Trough: A Review of Topical Cosmeceuticals for Periorbital Skin Rejuvenation. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 8(9), 39–47. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4587894/