We know we’ll still feel hungry after eating a big bag of chips. But when has that ever stopped us from going arm-deep into that bag until we see the end of it? Similarly, the fact that genetically dark under-eyes can’t be completely treated doesn’t mean we give up. We have vitamin C, niacinamide, caffeine, and licorice extract in our arsenal. And now, the best vitamin K eye creams strengthen our hands to better target dark circles and discoloration under the eyes.
Vitamin K is being incorporated into more and more skincare products, especially eye products. But is the science behind it solid? I found out.
But before I deliver, remember that the narrative changes notably when you talk about an ingredient in the context of diet as opposed to topical skincare.
As always, we’re going to focus on the latter and talk about vitamin K in topical skincare products.
What is Vitamin K?
Vitamin K, also known as vitamin K1, phytonadione, phytomenadione, is a fat-soluble vitamin (1). It’s commonly found in green plants. It’s been increasingly popular and usually found in skincare products formulated to target dark circles under the eyes.
Vitamin K on its own is an important nutrient. In your body, it helps your wounds heal properly (2). But the fact that it’s beneficial when ingested does not mean the same benefits apply when used topically as skincare.
Compared to other vitamins we use in skincare such as vitamins C, E, or A, vitamin K lacks a significant amount of research confirming its benefits for your skin.
Does Vitamin K Really Help with Dark Circles?
Yes and no. Follow me here. The hype behind vitamin K can be traced back to its wound-healing properties, especially bruising. The studies about vitamin K and its benefits on the skin are mostly about patients who have gone through skin treatments (3) like lasers.
As a side note, these facial treatments are controlled trauma to the skin and sometimes you can deal with post-procedure redness and bruising. These studies suggest that vitamin K accelerates the healing of bruising (purpura) after treatments.
The keyword here is bruising! Dark circles are not bruises! They do not happen as a result of an injury. To test this out, there’s another study where participants used vitamin K before the laser treatment to see if vitamin K prevents bruising.
We can assume it was to see if it helps with discolorations such as dark circles even if there’s no trauma to the skin. The study concludes that vitamin K did not prevent bruising but accelerated healing after the bruising occurred (4).
Even though it seems like vitamin K is not such a big deal, it may very well be. Because there are other things that can cause/worsen dark circles.
These include lack of sleep, allergies, stress, tiredness, and even excessive crying that causes the tiny blood vessels to break and give you red and purple spots under the eyes.
Also, the fact that vitamin K helps with broken capillaries, bruising, and swelling makes it a great option for people who are dealing with rosacea flares and under-eye discolorations that are not due to genetics. These are the concerns vitamin K seems to be more useful for.
Plus, vitamin K eye creams are sometimes paired with other potent brightening ingredients like vitamin C and retinol, which increase effectiveness. Whether it’s genetics or not, there’s no harm in trying as long as you manage your expectations.
The Best Vitamin K Eye Creams
If you’re ready to give it a shot, below are the best vitamin K eye creams to target dark circles under the eyes.
Offering one of the best vitamin K eye creams on the market, this natural option targets dark circles on even the most sensitive skin. It has a moisturizing base made with avocado oil to soften and nourish the eye area. And it contains a replenishing blend of hyaluronic acid and aloe to plump up fine lines. It pairs vitamin K with the potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory green tea to brighten, soothe, and depuff the eyes. It also has soothing Centella Asiatica, which is great for sensitive eyes. The formula is cruelty-free and super affordable!
Boldly disclosing the concentration, this one packs 1% vitamin K to target dark circles and discolorations. The minimal formula is one of the few eye creams that offer an isolated vitamin K eye product. It also has light-reflecting pigments to help you cover dark circles as well. It’s a potent and minimal vitamin K eye cream. And it’s perfect for reviving the look of tired eyes especially when you’ve been skipping your beauty sleep and spending too much time in front of the screen.
This one combines vitamin K with brightening niacinamide and anti-inflammatory horse chestnut extract. Its rich, moisturizing base made with camellia oil is perfect for dry under-eyes, which happen to be more prone to dark circles. The eye cream helps with the look of dark shadows and keeps the under-eyes hydrated and plump. It’s also excellent for getting rid of flakiness under the eyes.
If you’re prone to milia under the eyes, exfoliating eye creams are the ones to go for. Needless to say, exfoliating acids in these types of eye creams are formulated much less potent to avoid irritation. This one combines glycolic acid with vitamin K to target both wrinkles and pigmentation around the eyes. As a result, the eye area looks smoother, brighter, and more youthful. The cream also has soothing aloe, Centella Asiatica, and panthenol. And it also has antioxidant-packed bilberry extract and skin-replenishing avocado oil. It’s hydrating, moisturizing, and madly anti-aging.
This is a potent eye cream specially formulated to improve the look of dark circles. It has vitamin C as the ultimate skin brightener and the antidote for dark circles. It also has coenzyme Q10 to address fine lines and crow’s feet. Besides vitamin K, it also has caffeine to boost circulation and fade out discolorations. The eye cream is incredibly nourishing with nutrient-rich avocado oil and grape seed oil and is great for smoothing out the under-eye area. It plumps the skin with hyaluronic acid and aloe and de-puffs with squalane and green tea.
This is amazing if you’re looking for a vitamin K eye cream with retinol. Because retinol is the gold standard for reducing signs of aging around the eyes. But that’s not all. The eye cream is a brightening bundle to maximize your effects. Besides vitamin K, it has vitamin C, niacinamide, as well as caffeine, which are all known to help with under-eye discolorations. And because it has a replenishing and soothing base made with hydrating hyaluronic acid and anti-inflammatory green tea, you don’t need to worry about irritation either.
If you want to try retinol but you’re not sure if your under-eye area can tolerate it, you can try this one. Because it’s made with a retinol ester, which is much gentler than retinol. Plus, it has vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea, and coenzymeQ10 to protect the eye area from free radicals while reversing existing damage. And of course, it contains vitamin K as well as super moisturizing botanicals to reduce the visibility of dehydration lines around the eyes too. The texture is super lightweight and disappears into the skin.
Similarly, this one packs just the right bunch to reduce dark circles. But it’s also incredibly anti-aging because of its antioxidant-rich formula. First of all, it’s made with a vitamin C derivative, so it’s already gentler than pure ascorbic acid. And second of all, it contains kojic acid, which is also helpful in reducing hyperpigmentation. And lastly, the vitamin K eye cream treats free radical damage around the eyes with antioxidants like green tea and coenzymeQ10. The unique texture of the cream packs microbeads that release the antioxidants as you blend the cream into the skin. And it’s worth every penny!
If you’ve ever used a Jade roller to depuff the eye area, then you know the cooling feeling. And if you’ve enjoyed that feeling, this vitamin K eye cream comes with an applicator tip to help you work the cream into the skin. And to renew and brighten the eye area, the cream contains pure vitamin C as well as vitamin E. The light formula works better if you keep it in your fridge. The cooling tip will boost circulation and reduce under-eye bags too.
Last but not least, here’s a vitamin K serum you can use both for under-eye circles and for your entire face. And that fact that it’s in serum form makes it ideal for people who don’t like emollient eye products, have oily eyelids, or are prone to milia under the eyes. The vitamin K serum also utilizes rutin, a plant-based antioxidant, as well as vitamin E to help repair and protect the skin. Plus, this one is more on the affordable side.
This concludes our list of the best vitamin K eye creams you can use to target dark circles. The science is new and the products are scarce and expensive. But as long as you get a potent formula that’s enriched with other well-researched under-eye brighteners, you’re very likely to get notable results.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information (2021). PubChem Compound Summary for CID 5284607, Vitamin K1. Retrieved March 4, 2021 from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Vitamin-K1.
- DiNicolantonio, J. J., Bhutani, J., & O’Keefe, J. H. (2015). The health benefits of vitamin K. Open heart, 2(1), e000300. https://doi.org/10.1136/openhrt-2015-000300
- Cohen, J. L., & Bhatia, A. C. (2009). The role of topical vitamin K oxide gel in the resolution of postprocedural purpura. Journal of drugs in dermatology : JDD, 8(11), 1020–1024.
- Shah, N. S., Lazarus, M. C., Bugdodel, R., Hsia, S. L., He, J., Duncan, R., & Baumann, L. (2002). The effects of topical vitamin K on bruising after laser treatment. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 47(2), 241–244. https://doi.org/10.1067/mjd.2002.120465
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