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Vitamin K against dark circles?

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin known for its essential role in blood clotting. It may also have an effect on dark circles under the eyes. Here is how Vitamin K could act against dark circles.

Published April 15, 2024, by Kahina, Scientific Editor — 4 min read

How does Vitamin K act on dark circles?

The vascular dark circles are due to the accumulation of waste (pigments) from the blood that have not been drained, and which show through the thin skin around the eyes. Due to its various characteristics, the vitamin K plays an important role in managing dark circles, and more broadly, issues with micro-blood circulation. The scientific literature has studied these roles.

Leslie BAUMANN and her colleagues analysed the impact of topical vitamin K on bruising (blues) following laser treatment for telangiectasias in two patient groups. The first group applied a vitamin K cream (5%) to one half of their face and a placebo (control) to the other half, twice a day for two weeks prior to the laser treatment. The second followed the same procedure for two weeks after the laser treatment. There was no difference between the scores of the vitamin K cream (4.577) and the placebo (4.778) in the first group. However, the scores of the vitamin K cream (3.858) and the placebo (4.364) were significantly different in the second group.

In parallel, Mohammad ALI SHATALEBI and Fatemeh AHMADRAJI investigated the effectiveness in vivo of an anti-dark circle patch composed of 3% caffeine and 1% vitamin K for the eye contour. A trial was conducted to study its visual effectiveness on eleven healthy women. The targeted dark circles are the bluish, or vascular, ones. Compared to the use of the placebo, the skin around the eye of all subjects experienced a decrease in dark circle pigmentation after four weeks. This result could indicate that vitamin K helps to reduce vascular dark circles.

Finally, Seiji KAWANA and his team evaluated the effects of the topical application of a gel containing 2% phytonadione (vitamin K), 0.1% retinol, and 0.1% vitamins C and E on bluish dark circles. 57 adults with dark circles participated in an open study. The gel was applied twice daily to the lower eyelid for eight weeks. Haemostasis (coagulation) and pigmentation were evaluated using a camera and a visual scale, respectively after four and eight weeks of treatment. The topical application of the gel reduced haemostasis. Out of 57 patients, 27 (47%) showed a decrease in haemostasis. However, pigmentation was not clearly eliminated by this gel.

According to this research, the topical application of Vitamin K may be effective on dark circles of vascular origin. No clear mechanism of action has been identified. However, it can be assumed that its effect on blood coagulation could potentially be responsible, for instance, through the strengthening of vascular walls. It may promote more efficient blood circulation by synthesising proteins of the walls, and by reducing the fragility and permeability of the vessels. The lymphatic drainage will be accelerated, and will further stimulate the elimination of accumulated waste and toxins.

However, these last two studies do not provide evidence of the effectiveness of Vitamin K specifically on dark circles, as other active ingredients were incorporated into the formulas used. Furthermore, only the vascular dark circles are targeted.


  • BAUMANN L. & al. The effects of topical vitamin K on bruising after laser treatment. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (2002).

  • KAWANA S. & al. The effects of topical application of phytonadione, retinol and vitamins C and E on infraorbital dark circles and wrinkles of the lower eyelids. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (2004).

  • AHMADRAJI F. & al. Evaluation of the clinical efficacy and safety of an eye counter pad containing caffeine and vitamin K in emulsified Emu oil base. Advanced Biomedical Research (2015).


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