- Dark circles may be treatable with dermal fillers, depending on their cause.
- Fillers have little to no recovery time; side effects include bruising and swelling.
- As an alternative, over-the-counter (OTC) options are available to treat dark under-eye circles.
Dark circles under the eyes can be divided into two categories: those caused by hyperpigmentation and those caused by thinning skin and visible veins under the eyes. In the latter case, dermal fillers can be used to plump the under-eye area to reduce the appearance of dark circles.
Can Dermal Fillers Treat Dark Circles?
Dermal fillers instantly add volume below the eyes to fill out “eye hollows,” which occurs when the tear trough (the ridge of bone under the eyes) is especially prominent and casts a shadow on the under-eye area.
However, dermal fillers cannot treat dark circles caused by hyperpigmentation, which require other modes of treatment.
Most fillers used to treat dark circles are hyaluronic acid-based. A few well-known brands are Restylane, Juvederm, Voluma and Belotero.
The best candidates for under-eye fillers are those with naturally pronounced tear troughs whose dark under-eye circles are unrelated to lifestyle habits. Fillers are also appropriate for people who have experienced volume loss and fat pad bulging under the eyes as a result of aging.
What to Expect During the Procedure
During the procedure, your doctor first applies a numbing cream to the under-eye area. They then cleanse your skin to remove any makeup or dirt and to prevent infection.
Next, the doctor injects the filler using either a needle or a tiny tube called a cannula. Small amounts of filler are injected at a time until the desired result is reached; injecting too quickly can traumatize the delicate tissue and increase swelling.
The doctor may shape the filler under your eyes with their fingers before it settles. They then apply an ice pack to the area to minimize bruising and swelling.
Recovery and Results
After receiving an injectable filler, your eyes will feel tender for the rest of the day. Avoid touching the under-eye area and do not apply makeup.
You’ll likely experience bruising and swelling for the next few days and should regularly ice the area.
The final results will be visible after one week. Dermal fillers can last up to one year, but many people go for touch-ups every few months
Before and Afters
Side Effects and Safety Considerations
Under-eye fillers are generally considered safe. However, the under-eye area is considered one of the riskier places to inject a filler. As such, the procedure should only be performed by a plastic surgeon, dermatologist or experienced medical doctor.
Side effects include infection, which can occur even months after the procedure if your body develops a sensitivity to the filler. Occlusion is another risk, in which the filler enters a blood vessel and blocks it. This is usually treatable, but in extremely rare cases, can lead to blindness.
Cost of Fillers for Dark Circles
Dermal fillers can cost from $300 all the way up to $1,500 per syringe, depending on the brand and where you live. Most people can achieve their desired results with only one syringe, but others may require two or three to adequately address their tear trough shadows.
Alternatives to Fillers for Dark Circles
Many OTC skin care products are formulated to get rid of dark circles. Eye creams and serums containing retinoids, antioxidants, hyaluronic acid and peptides have been shown to improve the appearance of dark circles. These active ingredients promote collagen production and hydration in the tear trough area. By restoring hydration and volume to the under-eye area, dark circles can be minimized or eliminated altogether.
For an instant but temporary solution, application of a concealer below the eyes can hide the appearance of dark circles.
In the long term, getting a good night’s sleep, staying hydrated, and eating well can be your first defense against dark circles under the eyes. Adopting these habits may eliminate your dark circles without further intervention.
For dark circles caused by pronounced tear troughs and fat pad bulges, dermal fillers can be an effective temporary solution. The procedure is quick with little downtime. Dermal fillers below the eye are generally considered safe, but the rare complications associated with them are serious and can lead to blindness.
As an alternative to dermal fillers, many OTC treatments are available to hydrate and plump the under-eye area, helping to reduce dark circles and prevent their appearance in the long term.
- 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/
- Berguiga, M., & Galatoire, O. (2017). Tear trough rejuvenation: A safety evaluation of the treatment by a semi-cross-linked hyaluronic acid filler. Orbit, 36(1), 22–26. https://doi.org/10.1080/01676830.2017.1279641
- Hwang C. J. (2016). Periorbital Injectables: Understanding and Avoiding Complications. Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery, 9(2), 73–79. doi:10.4103/0974-2077.184049
- Rzany, Berthold MD, ScM; DeLorenzi, Claudio MD. (2015) Understanding, Avoiding, and Managing Severe Filler Complications. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: November 2015 – Volume 136 – Issue 5S – p 196S–203S. doi:10.1097/PRS.0000000000001760