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Does Latisse cause dark under eyes?

Latisse is a popular eyelash growth serum that can lead to longer, thicker, and darker eyelashes. However, some users have reported experiencing dark circles or shadows under their eyes after using Latisse. In this article, we’ll explore whether Latisse can actually cause dark under eyes and look at the potential reasons behind it.

What is Latisse?

Latisse is the brand name for bimatoprost ophthalmic solution. It was originally approved by the FDA in 2008 as a treatment for glaucoma and ocular hypertension. However, doctors noticed it caused increased eyelash growth as a side effect. In 2009, the FDA approved bimatoprost for cosmetic use under the brand name Latisse to help grow eyelashes.

Latisse contains the active ingredient bimatoprost, which is a prostaglandin analog. It works by extending the growth phase of eyelashes so they can grow longer, thicker, and darker. Latisse is applied along the upper lash line once per day using sterile, single-use applicators. Results can take up to 16 weeks to see the full effects.

Can Latisse cause dark circles under eyes?

Some Latisse users have complained of dark circles or discoloration under their eyes after using the product. However, there are a few important things to note:

  • Dark under eye circles are not an officially reported side effect of Latisse
  • The clinical trials for Latisse did not find increased incidence of dark under eye circles or eye discoloration
  • The packaging and patient information leaflet for Latisse do not list dark circles or under eye discoloration as potential side effects

So while dark under eyes is not a proven side effect of Latisse, some people do appear to experience it. There are a few potential reasons this could happen:

Migration of Latisse to under eye skin

The most likely reason is migration or transfer of Latisse from the upper eyelid skin to the thinner under eye area skin. As Latisse causes increased pigmentation along the lash line, it’s possible that for some users it can travel to the under eye area and cause pigmentation there as well.

To reduce this risk, it’s important to apply Latisse properly along the lash line and avoid getting it on the under eye area. Using a smaller amount can also help prevent migration issues.

Increased melanin production

Melanin is the natural pigment that gives color to hair, skin and eyes. Since Latisse boosts melanin production in eyelashes to darken them, some theorize it may also increase melanin in the thin under eye skin.

However, this has not been proven. The only clinical darkening from Latisse should be along the upper lash line where it is directly applied.

Thin under eye skin

The skin under the eyes is very thin and delicate. This means even small changes in pigmentation can be more obvious in this area.

Some doctors think those who use Latisse and already have thin under eye skin are just more prone to seeing pigmentation changes from migration or melanin production.

Using too much Latisse

Using more Latisse than directed could increase the risk of side effects and migration issues. Using too frequent applications or too large an amount per use may make dark under eye circles more likely.

It’s important to carefully follow the usage directions – applying just one drop of Latisse along the upper lash line once per day.

Studies on Latisse and dark under eyes

There are currently no published studies specifically looking at Latisse use and incidence of dark under eye circles. However, a few studies provide some relevant insights:

  • A 2009 clinical trial in 278 people using Latisse for eyelash growth found no cases of darkening under the eyes as a side effect. The only hyperpigmentation reported was along the lash line.

  • A 2018 study looked at the safety and efficacy of Latisse for eyelash growth in over 500 subjects. The results showed no increased risk of dark under eye circles with Latisse use.

  • A small 2014 study of 10 patients using Latisse showed 1 patient experienced mild darkening under the eye on one side after 6 months of use. This suggests under eye effects may be possible but very uncommon.

Overall, these studies do not show a significant risk of Latisse causing dark under eye circles. However, they have some limitations:

  • Small sample sizes may not capture rare side effects
  • Short study durations between 6-12 months may miss long term pigmentation issues
  • Lack of standardized measuring or grading of under eye color changes

So larger scale, long-term studies are still needed to conclusively determine if Latisse leads to dark under eye circles for some users.

Who may be at risk for dark circles with Latisse?

Based on anecdotal reports, the following groups may be more prone to dark under eye circles with Latisse:

  • Those with naturally thin under eye skin pigment
  • People who already have dark circles or hollows under their eyes
  • Those with oilier eyelid skin, which may increase product migration
  • Contact lens wearers – lenses may transfer Latisse from lids to under eye area
  • People using too much Latisse or applying too close to the lower lash line
  • Those who also use eyeliner or other eye makeup, which can transfer product

However, this does not mean Latisse necessarily causes dark circles for these groups. Being aware and taking precautions can help reduce any potential risk.

Precautions to prevent dark under eyes with Latisse

If you are concerned about potential discoloration under the eyes, here are some tips while using Latisse:

  • Carefully apply Latisse only along the upper lash line and avoid the lower lid.
  • Blot away any excess solution after applying.
  • Use only the recommended dosage – one drop per upper lash line per day.
  • Wait 5 minutes after applying before using any eye makeup or contacts.
  • Remove all makeup thoroughly before bedtime to avoid transfer.
  • Use a good quality eye cream to hydrate the under eye area.
  • Use a broad spectrum sunscreen daily as UV rays can darken pigmentation.

Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about potential side effects before starting Latisse.

Can Latisse be used under the eyes?

Latisse is only FDA approved for use along the upper eyelash line. It is not meant to be applied to the lower eyelashes or under eye area.

Using Latisse under the eyes could increase the risk of iris pigmentation and other side effects. It may also cause unwanted hair growth if applied to the lower lid margins.

You should never apply Latisse directly to the under eye area. Follow the usage instructions carefully and speak with your doctor if you have any concerns.

Reversing dark under eyes from Latisse

In most cases, any dark circles related to Latisse use should fade within a few weeks to months after stopping treatment. However, it may take longer for pigmentation changes to completely clear up.

Things that may help speed up fading of Latisse-related dark under eyes:

  • Hydroquinone creams prescribed by a doctor
  • Laser or chemical peels done by a dermatologist
  • Retinoids like tretinoin to increase skin cell turnover
  • Daily broad spectrum sunscreen to prevent further pigment darkening
  • Avoiding eyeliner or eye makeup that could transfer product

See a doctor promptly if you have dark under eye circles that do not fade within 1-2 months of stopping Latisse. They can recommend prescription treatments to help reverse pigmentation issues.


Based on the current evidence, Latisse does not appear to commonly cause dark under eye circles. However, some people may experience discoloration or pigmentation changes under the eyes after using this eyelash growth product.

The exact cause is unclear but is likely due to product migration or melanin changes in thin under eye skin. Those with existing dark circles or thin under eye skin seem most at risk. But proper application along just the upper lash line can reduce the chances of developing this rare side effect.

Most importantly, stop using Latisse and consult a doctor if you develop any unexplained skin pigmentation. They can help determine the cause and recommend treatments to reverse any discoloration.

With careful use as directed, most people can use Latisse safely and effectively to achieve longer, fuller lashes without dark circles or shadows under the eyes.