Can Arnica Really Help Treat Dark Circles? A Dermatologist Says Yes

Photo: Stocksy / Studio Firma
Okay, so you didn’t get enough sleep last night—or maybe you did, but because of genetics or vitamin deficiencies, it doesn’t look like it. Don’t fret! You can still look bright-eyed with the proper skincare products.

While vitamin C- and hyaluronic acid-infused creams can absolutely brighten and plump the under-eye area, when it comes to notably diminishing the appearance of dark circles, TikTok users are touting arnica as the be-all, end-all treatment—and board-certified dermatologist Kim Nichols, MD, the founder of NicholsMD in Greenwich, CT, agrees.

Arnica is a botanical ingredient known for its anti-inflammatory properties (you may already be familiar with it from your muscle-relief routine), and works by stimulating white blood cells to relieve congestion under the skin. Not only does this boost healing by reducing the appearance of edema and dark bruising ("I encourage all my patients to incorporate topical arnica into their post-treatment regimens to reduce swelling and bruising,” says Dr. Nichols), but it also translates into helping diminish dark circles.

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Though arnica-infused eye creams do exist (like the Eight Saints All In Eye Cream, $36), TikTok users are popularizing the use of Arnidol Gel Sticks ($12), which are marketed as bruise solutions for kids, as the miracle solution for their under-eye concerns. The drugstore-priced balm combines arnica with another botanical anti-inflammatory called Devil's Claw, and can quite literally make dark circles disappear in a single swipe. Take a look:

@filipavcarreiraa #dueto com @Amy - Your skincare bestie ? definitely im gonna do it. Every moms will gonna do it for sure! ? #momsoftiktok #momstips #tiredmomsoftiktok #fyp #pt #worldwide #babies #kids ♬ Anti-Hero - Taylor Swift

Since arnica can hydrate skin, reduce redness, and lend to a brighter overall appearance, "why limit its benefits to just the eyes?" asks Dr. Nichols. She says that full-face products can elevate your entire complexion, as opposed to just your under-eyes. “It’s a great way to nurture the face and give you a well-rested look,” she adds. To witness the benefits for yourself, try the NicholsMD Soothing Arnica Masque ($45), which is formulated with both arnica and hyaluronic acid, or just go ahead and swipe that bruise stick all over.

One last thing to note? If your skin typically reacts to plant-based ingredients, it’s best to perform a patch test or consult your dermatologist before adding arnica, which is plant-derived, into your skin-care routine. From there, you'll be good to swipe away those circles.

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