Dark Circles

Eyes | General Practice | Dark Circles (Symptom)


Periorbital dark circles, also known as dark circles or raccoon attack, represent dark blemishes around the eye area. Heredity and bruising are causes that can produce this symptom, but there can be many other causes. Both men and women can suffer from this condition, dark circles under the eyes, although they can occasionally be seen in children. Dark circles under the eyes are not necessarily a sign of tiredness, but particularly stress and fatigue seem to worsen the facial appearance of many people, including their tendency to develop dark circles.


Some of the most common causes of true under-eye circles may be: allergies; atopic dermatitis (eczema); heredity — dark under-eye circles can run in families; lifestyle factors, such as physical or emotional stress, smoking, or chronic alcohol use can take a toll on a person’s appearance; nasal congestion (which can dilate and darken the veins that drain from the eyes to the nose); pigmentation irregularities (a particular concern for people of colour, especially blacks and Asians); rubbing or scratching the eyes; sun exposure (which prompts the body to produce more melanin, the pigment that gives skin its colour); thinning skin and loss of fat and collagen (common as a person ages — can make the reddish-blue blood vessels under the eyes more obvious).

Diagnosis and Treatment

Mild to moderate dark circles often respond well to simple and inexpensive treatments, such as: cold, extra pillows, extra sleep, dark glasses and sunscreen, saline washes or sprays, cosmetics.