What Deficiency Causes Dark Circles & How to Get Rid of Them

Dark circles refer to the discoloration or swelling around the eyes. They may make you look tired, older, or unhealthy. While there are many reasons for dark circles, one of the most common ones is a nutrient deficiency. When the body lacks certain nutrients, it can affect the skin’s health and appearance, leading to dark circles.

In this article, we will explore what deficiency causes dark circles and ways to address this issue.

What Deficiency Causes Dark Circles


Iron is an essential mineral that helps transport oxygen throughout the body. When the body lacks iron, it can cause anemia, which can lead to paleness and dark circles. A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that women with iron deficiency were more likely to have dark circles than those without.

To boost your iron levels, incorporate a diet rich in iron-containing foods. These include red meat, poultry, fish, beans, lentils, and leafy green vegetables. Additionally, consider cooking with iron-fortified foods like cereals and bread to further increase your iron intake.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a role in blood clotting and bone health. It is also believed to help reduce dark circles by strengthening blood vessels. According to a study in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, applying topical vitamin K cream can significantly reduce the appearance of dark circles.

You should focus on consuming leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens to bolster the amount of vitamin K in your body. You can also include other vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts in your diet to help meet your vitamin K requirements.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that helps maintain healthy nerves and red blood cells. A deficiency in this vitamin can cause anemia, fatigue, and pale skin, all of which can contribute to dark circles.

So, prioritizing foods from animal sources such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products is necessary. If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, it’s advisable to supplement with vitamin B12 to ensure an adequate intake of this vital nutrient.

Vitamin D

Vitamin K plays a role in blood clotting and maintaining healthy blood vessels. A deficiency in vitamin K may contribute to the fragility of blood vessels under the eyes, potentially leading to dark circles.

To increase your vitamin D intake, eat plenty of fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. You can also fortify your foods with vitamin D or take a vitamin D supplement.

Other Causes of Dark Circles under eyes

While nutrient deficiencies can cause dark circles, they are not the only reason for this issue. Here’s how nutrient deficiencies compare to other causes:

Genetics – Dark circles can be inherited, especially if your parents have thin or fair skin. However, genetics alone cannot explain severe or sudden onset dark circles.

Age – As we age, our skin becomes thinner and loses its elasticity, making it more susceptible to discoloration and swelling.

Lack of sleep – Not getting enough sleep can cause blood vessels under the eyes to dilate, leading to puffiness and dark circles.

Allergies – Allergies can cause inflammation and swelling around the eyes, resulting in dark circles.

Medical conditions – Certain medical conditions, such as thyroid problems and kidney disease, can cause dark circles.

How to Address Nutrient Deficiencies and Dark Circles

If you suspect that your dark circles are caused by a nutrient deficiency, here are some ways to address this issue:

Talk to your doctor

You should talk to your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be causing your dark circles. Your doctor can also recommend a blood test to check your nutrient levels.

Eat a healthy diet

Eating a healthy diet is essential for addressing nutrient deficiencies and improving overall health. Make sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You should also include lean protein sources in your diet, such as fish, poultry, and beans.

Take supplements

If you are found to be deficient in any nutrients, your doctor may recommend taking supplements. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the best dosage for you.

Make lifestyle changes

There are a number of lifestyle changes that you can make to help reduce the appearance of dark circles, such as:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Staying hydrated
  • Reducing stress
  • Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
  • Wearing sunscreen to protect the delicate skin around the eyes

How Can I Remove Dark Circles Permanently?

If you have tried topical treatments and are still unhappy with the appearance of your dark circles, you may want to consider getting professional treatments. There are a number of different procedures available:

Chemical peels

Chemical peels use a mild acid to remove the top layer of skin. This solution exfoliates the top layer of the skin, which can help improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of pigmentation irregularities.

Laser treatments

Laser treatments use laser energy to target the blood vessels beneath the eyes. Specifically, laser treatments can target the blood vessels beneath the eyes, making them less visible. By reducing the prominence of these blood vessels, the overall appearance of dark circles is improved.

Dermal fillers

Dermal fillers are used to inject hyaluronic acid into the skin. When applied under the eyes, dermal fillers can help plump up the skin, reducing the appearance of hollowed areas and shadows that contribute to dark circles. The hyaluronic acid in dermal fillers attracts and retains moisture, providing a natural and rejuvenated appearance. 


  1. Can stress cause dark circles? Yes, stress can cause dark circles by making blood vessels under the eyes dilate.
  2. Can sun exposure cause dark circles? Yes, excessive sun exposure can damage the skin’s collagen and elastin fibers, making it more prone to discoloration.
  3. Can drinking water reduce dark circles? Drinking water can help improve the overall health and appearance of the skin, but it may not directly reduce dark circles.
  4. Are there any home remedies for dark circles? Some home remedies for dark circles include applying cold compresses, cucumber slices, and tea bags to the eyes.
  5. Can makeup hide dark circles? Yes, using concealer and other makeup products can help cover up dark circles.

Final Takeaway

Dark circles are a common cosmetic concern that can be caused by various factors, including nutrient deficiencies. Understanding what deficiency causes dark circles is crucial for addressing this issue effectively.

If you are experiencing severe or sudden onset of dark circles, it’s essential to consult with your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions. By taking a comprehensive approach to skincare and addressing nutrient deficiencies, you can achieve brighter, healthier-looking eyes.