A peek into any stocked skin-care cabinet will reveal an alphabet soup’s worth of vitamins. There’s vitamin A for stimulating cell turnover, vitamin B for strengthening the skin barrier, vitamin C for brightening your complexion… the list goes on and on. But there’s one lesser-known letter ingredient dermatologists say is worth adding to your arsenal—particularly once you hit 50—and that’s vitamin K.
As you get older, the skin under your eyes begins to weaken due to general wear and tear, which can make it more sensitive to damage. That’s where vitamin K comes in, which Brilliance By Brown founder Heidi Brown calls out as one of the most important ingredients women should be using in their 50s and beyond. “The undereyes often look dark because of an accumulation of a pigment called hemosiderin, which comes from broken down blood cells after trauma or inflammation—this can happen from frequent eye rubbing or makeup removal” says board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD. “Vitamin K can help the body clear up the hemosiderin deposits, and is a useful ingredient in clearing bruises in general.”
Vitamin K can help with the appearance of dark circles. “As we age, both men and women lose elasticity in our skin and depending on our lifestyle, and our blood vessels can stiffen too,” says cosmetic chemist David Petrillo, founder of Perfect Image. is popular among experts for helping reduce dark circles under the eyes. Research shows a mixture containing vitamin K and caffeine can noticeably reduce the appearance of under-eye sagging, wrinkles, and puffiness.” Petrillo points to a 2004 that study found that Vitamin K combined with retinol and vitamins C and E was effective in treating under eye circles and wrinkles, and another study, from 2015, which found that 2015 study found that when paired with caffeine, it also improves elasticity. And one more bonus? The ingredient also acts as an emollient, locking moisture under the skin.
Vitamin K is a popular ingredient in brightening eye creams, but according to Petrillo it can also be used to treat crow’s feet, varicose veins, and stretch marks. Plus, says Dr. Zeichner, “if someone gives you a hickey, you’re under eye cream and will do double duty.” Below, six products to help you add the ingredient into your own routine.
Shop now: Naturopathica Vitamin K Brightening Eye Serum, $78
While the vitamin K in this serum works to fend off dark circles from beneath the surface, a combination of mica and silica sit on top of the skin to provide an instant brightening effect.
Shop now: Biopelle Dark Circle Relief Cream 1 Percent Vitamin K Oxide, $42
With a one percent concentration of vitamin K, this luminescent cream stimulates circulation under your eyes. It’s made with mineral pigments, which help to cover dark circles while the vitamin K treats them.
Shop now: Sanitas Skincare Vita K, $27
Thanks to vitamins K and E, plus botanical extracts, a single swipe of this serum will help to treat nearly all of your under eye issues. It diminishes dark circles, reduces puffiness and redness, and nourishes the delicate skin while also protecting from free-radical damage.
Shop now: Omorovicza Reviving Eye Cream, $149
Designed by a Nobel Prize-winning laboratory, this vitamin-K packed serum is also loaded with arnica, cucumber extract, and hazelnut peptides to reduce puffiness and smooth and plump the under-eye area, making any sort of sunken appearance a thing of the past.
Shop now: Youth to the People Superfood Peptide Eye Cream, $35
This nutrient-rich eye cream blends vitamins E, C, and K with kale, and has soothing, moisturizing, and cooling properties.
Shop now: Cicatricure Blur and Filler Antiwrinkle Eye Treatment, $14
For a vitamin K-enriched eye cream that won’t cost you more than a designer salad, look no further than this drugstore option. It promises to “blur and fill” the area,
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