Is Vitamin K Really An Effective Treatment For Dark Circles?

by Gio
vitamin k treats dark circles

A, B, C, D, E, K…


Yes, vitamin K. You’ve never heard of it? It’s the underdog of the vitamin world. While everyone’s busy fawning over retinol or vitamin C, no one gives a crap about Vitamin K.

I guess that’s cos no one knows what it does. I’m not sure myself and I blog about this stuff! You see, the problem with Vitamin K is the lack of studies. Without them, no one can be really sure just how powerful it is.

Here’s what we know so far about Vitamin K:

What Is Vitamin K?

Vitamin K sometimes hides under the name phytonadione. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin you liver makes naturally. You’ll also find it in chicken, cottage cheese and some fermented cheeses (vitamin K is a waste product of the bacteria used to ferment milk into cheese).

Vitamin K helps blood to clot. It plays a big part in the coagulation process. That’s why it takes its name from there (the German word for coagulation starts with “K” 😉 ).

Can Vitamin K Treat Dark Circles?

If Vitamin K is involved in the coagulation process, it follows it can treat dark circles caused by blood pooling under the skin. That’s what it fans says.

Science seems to agree. A 2004 study found that an undereye gel with 2% vitamin K, 0.1% retinol, and 0.1% vitamins C and E reduced both dark circles and wrinkles in 47% of the testers!

The catch? Vitamin K wasn’t the only goodie in that gel. How do we know for sure it was responsible for this feat? Maybe some of the other stuff did the heavy work. Maybe a combo of vitamins did.

Until someone does a study on dark circles using vitamin K alone, there’s no way to tell how powerful it really is.

Can Vitamin K treat purple discolouration?

A 1999 study  found that vitamin K may help treat the purple discolourations pulse-dyed laser treatment can leave behind. (FYI, this laser is usually used to get rid of spider veins, warts, and other vascular lesions).

In this study, the researchers asked different groups of patients to try several types of treatments to reduce the purplish hue.

A cream containing 1% vitamin K and 0.3% retinol turned out to be the most effective treatment of all, speeding up healing time to 5-8 days (it usually takes about 11-13 days to disappear).

What are the best products with vitamin K?

Here comes the tricky part. If you’re willing to give Vitamin K a go, you’ll have a hard time finding a product that contains more than a drop of it. These are your best bets:

  • Donell K-Derm Cream ($49.00): available at Dermstore.
  • Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Rescue Dark Circle Eye Treatment ($100.00): available at Skinstore and Look Fantastic.


The Bottom Line

Research on Vitamin K is scant. But that little says it can help treat dark circles and purple discolourations, especially when used with its vitamin siblings.

Have you ever used vitamin K? Share your experience in the comments below.



LYNND July 1, 2016 - 2:51 am

Vita-K Professional for Deep Facial Lines was very much like what was indicated in the study (identical combo of ingredients). It was inexpensive — used to be sold in Walmart, even — and after it was only available online I continued to buy it and apply it twice daily with good results. I used the product, which like the study was also in a gel form, for about five years and didn’t stop until it was discontinued earlier this year. Now, little more than 90 days after discontinuing, my dark circles are back and the facial lines are significantly worse. I wish Freeman Beauty, manufacturer of the product, would not have recently discontinued it because, unlike other wrinkle formulas, it was also free of the heavy use of silicones common to drugstore products (it absorbed into the skin better and didn’t interact with makeup the way creams and more filmy serums tend to do). Products containing Vitamin K really do work on dark circles, unlike most anti-aging skin care products, BUT one of the reasons you don’t see vitamin K in more products is because some people can experience irritation or allergy to the stronger concentrations. That’s why you typically only see it in products that are for bruising and spider veins.

Gio July 2, 2016 - 12:31 am

Lynnd, oh no! What a shame it was discontinued. It always happens to the best products, doesn’t it? Hopefully, someone will come up with a dupe, soon.

jin December 10, 2018 - 6:18 am

What is the product of this combination?I have not found this combination of products. My dark circles are very serious. thank you!

Gio December 13, 2018 - 5:33 pm

Jin, I haven’t found the exact combination used in the study in any product yet, but the products I’ve mentioned are the closes thing you can find on the market now. Keep in mind, though, that they will only help if your dark circles are caused by blood pooling. If not, you’re better off with concealer.


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