Main causes of dark eyelids

Main causes of dark eyelids

Most people think dark eyelids make them look fatigued. Although this symptom is not harmful, a person’s well-being and self-esteem may sometimes be affected.

Depending on the origin of the dark eyelids, a doctor may be able to suggest ways of reducing a person’s appearance. Several preventive treatments can help people who have dark eyelid risk factors, too.

Continue reading to learn more about the various causes of dark eyelids, and treatments and remedies. We’ll also discuss several forms of prevention.


A lady with dark eyelids
Pregnancy, genetics, and hyperpigmentation are all possible causes of dark eyelids.

There are various possible reasons for dark eyelids. Understanding the trigger will help a doctor recommend the most appropriate treatments.

1. Pregnancy

Women can notice changes to their skin during pregnancy. Melasma is one of the most common skin conditions which occurs during pregnancy. Pregnant women with melasma may find hyperpigmented brown or grey-brown areas on their faces.

They can trigger dark eyelids when those marks appear on the eyelids.

The dark spots are skin patches with increased melanin which is a pigment formed by the skin cells to give the skin color. For hyperpigmented areas too much melanin is released by the cells.

Some doctors think that melasma may appear during pregnancy because of changes in hormone levels, but the exact cause is still unclear.

2. Genetics

Several researchers also indicated our genes that influence dark eyelid development. Many family members may be more affected by this condition than others.

These researchers also note that during puberty, people reported seeing dark eyelids that were darkening further with age. Some individuals have suggested the darkening increased when stressed, while the dark colour was lessened by rest and good health.

3. Hyperpigmentation due to inflammation

Chronic eczema and eye allergic inflammation can cause hyperpigmentation, as well as dark eyelids.

Many people can grow dark eyelids from rubbing the skin around their eyes and scratching it. The deposition of fluid from allergies can also lead to dark eyelids.

4. Dermal melanocytosis

Melanocytes are skin cells which produce melanin, the pigment which gives the skin color. Individuals with dermal melanocytosis may have melanocytes in the skin dermis which can cause dark eyelids. People with dermal melanocytosis typically carry gray or blue-gray patches on their eyelids.

Dermal melanocytosis can result from congenital or acquired causes. Such acquired dermal melanocytosis causes include:

  • sun exposure
  • hormonal changes in pregnancy
  • chronic eczema

5. Increased number of blood vessels

Another common cause of dark eyelids is skin thinning, and blood vessels around the eyelids. During menstruation, people can find a skin obscuring around the eyes. Increased vascularity usually causes darkening under the eyes.

Doctors can confirm the diagnosis of decreased vascularity around the eyes under the skin by manually stretching out the tissue. If the cause is an increased number of blood vessels, then when the doctor spreads the skin, the color will not vanish or blanch.

6. Drugs

Some medicines can cause obscure eyelids. Analogs of prostaglandin used by doctors for the treatment of glaucoma, such as latanoprost (Xalatan) and bimatoprost (Lumigan), can induce dark eyelids after about 3–6 months. Eyelid darkening may also be accompanied by other side effects, for instance, eye color change as with Latisse’s side effects. Doctors have found the darkening will disappear completely when people stop using bimatoprost.

7. Tear trough with aging

People can develop tear troughs with age which are depressions in the region under the eyes and close to the nose. Tear troughs develop as a result of the fat loss and skin thinning in the region.

These age-related changes seem to hollow out the rim around the eyes, and shadowing can intensify the dark circles ‘ appearance.

8. Swelling around the eyes

Both local and systemic causes may increase swelling around the eyelids. A person with dark eyelids that look worse in the morning or may have swelling around the eyes after eating a salty meal, which decreases all day.

9. Environmental causes

Ultraviolet radiation will make dark eyelids even worse.

Although they have not yet been confirmed by clinical studies, doctors suggest that other environmental factors can cause or worsen dark eyelids too. These factors cover:

  • poor sleep
  • stress
  • alcohol misuse
  • smoking


Although there are no official guidelines for treatment of dark eyelids, dermatologists recommend that current melasma therapies be used to treat dark eyelids. Nevertheless, physicians need to determine what is causing the appearance of dark eyelids before choosing a specific treatment choice.

Many lifestyle changes may improve the appearance of dark eyelids, depending on the cause. Changes in lifestyle and home remedies which might help include:

  • getting enough sleep, if darkening worsens with poor sleep
  • reducing salt intake, if darkening becomes more apparent after eating a salty meal
  • wearing sunscreen, if the eyelids look darker after sun exposure
  • applying cold compresses, if swelling from allergies or other causes worsens dark eyelids
  • elevating the head during sleep, if darkening seems worse in the morning

Many of these changes in lifestyle will enhance the appearance of dark eyelids as well as improve overall health.

Doctors may also prescribe various topical products, depending on the cause of dark eyelids.

Some people may want to try to bleach or depigment creams to minimize dark eyelid appearance. These include:

  • hydroquinone
  • tretinoin
  • kojic acid
  • azelaic acid
  • topical retinoic acid

Those agents work by preventing the skin cells ‘ conversion of dopa to melanin. Decreased melanin production can improve the appearance of dark eyelids. People may need to use depigmenting agents for a couple of months to have a significant effect on their eyelid colour.

The topical vitamin C and arbutin are some of the natural treatments that people can seek. Arbutin originates from the bearberry shrub leaves and cranberry, pear, and blueberry plants. It has similar effects to hydroquinone, but excessive dosages can cause hyperpigmentation.

Some experts suggest that vitamin C can boost the appearance of dark circles because it stimulates the development of collagen and masks the color of blood that flows poorly in the vessels at the surface of the skin.

Physical therapies such as chemical peels, surgical corrections, and laser therapy may also help to reduce dark eyelid appearance.


It is possible that pregnant women can not prevent melasma. Since giving birth, the spots may fade or disappear but some women may have spots that last for years. Dermatologists recommend pregnant women can avoid worsening melasma by wearing sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat when spending time outdoors.

Avoiding direct sun exposure is a standard advice to promote healthy skin for everyone. People should apply regular sunscreens or moisturizers that contain sunscreen to their faces and eyelids. Although some people have risk factors for dark eyelid growth, restricting sun exposure can help minimize obscuring.

Noticing when dark eyelids appear can help people determine their cause and contribute factors. Limiting salty foods and preventing allergy season rubbing of the eyes can also help prevent their growth.

Many people might also use makeup to cover dark eyelids. Nevertheless, covering up dark eyelids does not prevent or treat them.

When to see a doctor

Doctors have classified dark eyelids into four categories, depending on their appearance:

  • pigmented (brown)
  • vascular (blue/pink/purple)
  • structural (skin color)
  • mixed

Individuals should consult a doctor before trying to treat the dark eyelids. For some people some therapies may be unsuccessful, and other treatments may not work, depending on the cause and extent of hyperpigmentation.

Some medications can cause mysterious eyelids. People should keep taking their medications and first consult a doctor before stopping.

Dark eyelids are typically a cosmetic issue, and people may not have to consult a doctor at all. People who feel like dark eyelids affect their quality of life or cause poor self-esteem should speak to a doctor before attempting to solve dark eyelids by themselves.


Dark eyelids are a growing beauty problem treatable by dermatologists. You have numerous possible factors, including poor sleep, salty foods, allergies, pregnancy, chromosomes, etc. Many people are more likely to grow dark eyelids, than others.

Depending on the cause of dark eyelids, physicians that prescribe changes in lifestyle, medicine, or physical treatment, such as chemical peels and laser treatment. Individuals often have to take several months of treatment before they see a significant effect.

Some lifestyle habits may help to prevent the occurrence of dark circles or reduce them. These include getting better quality sleep and applying sunscreen everyday on a regular basis.


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