Move over, microblading—dark circle camouflage is the beauty tattoo trend. (And—surprise!—derms say it could be really damaging.)

By Jahla Seppanen

Post Malone isn't the only person who loves face tattoos. Celebrities like Lena Dunham, Minka Kelly, and even Mandy Moore have jumped on the face-tat bandwagon with the recent trend of microblading (to make your eyebrows appear fuller). And now there's a new beauty tat fad called dark circle camouflage-aka tattooing the dark circles under your eyes to make the skin lighter.

Professional tattoo artist Rodolpho Torres has gained over 2 million Instagram followers in part for his "eye camouflage" work of covering up dark circles via tattoo. He also uses this tattooing method to "camouflage" stretch marks on the legs and chest. (Side note: We love our tiger stripes and so does Padma Lakshmi.)

While Torres has more than 10 years of tattooing experience, derms say you shouldn't trust anyone with such fragile skin if they aren't a doctor. "No nonmedical personnel should be touching that area of your eyes-especially with a sharp instrument," says Lance Brown, M.D., a leading dermatologist in New York City and the Hamptons. "Under the eye, you need to be very cautious-you can cause an infection around the eyelid, or a sty or cyst could grow around the hair follicles," says Dr. Brown.

It is common for tattoo scarring to occur if the artist is inexperienced or presses too deeply with the needle. Apply these potential mishaps to the skin beneath your eyes and it's a recipe for serious concern. Scarring on the lower eyelids, in particular, can create a contraction in the skin that pulls the lower eyelid down, causing ectropion, a condition where the lid pulls or sags away from the eye. "Ectropion can lead to tear duct issues, cysts, and more," says Dr. Brown.

For the record, traditional tattoos are largely safe (and can even boost your health according to the American Journal of Human Biology) but it's probably not worth taking the risk when it comes to the sensitive skin under the eyes-especially considering the new report from the FDA that they've seen an alarming rise of infections and adverse reactions to tattoos as a result of moldy ink. (One woman recently experienced a life-threatening infection after her microblading appointment went south.)

If vanity wins out over your health concerns, consider this: While tattooing your circles may save you from having to pack on the concealer (I mean, we can't deny that the before-and-afters look pretty impressive) since it doesn't address the underlying cause of dark circles, it's likely just a temporary band-aid solution. "The common reason for under-eye circles is changes in the fat pads under your eyes," says Dr. Brown. Too little and too much fat tissue under your eyes can both result in the visibility of dark circles, and the best way to correct this shadow is actually to fill in the crevice either "surgically or with an injectable filler," he says.

Of course, there's also the nonsurgical route. If you have dark circles (which, by the way, are largely genetic) you can try these simple (needle-free) tricks. Or, you know, take a cue from Elizabeth Moss and simply learn to love and embrace them.

Comments (3)

March 16, 2019
What if I told you it’s now possible to make your skin cells get YOUNGER… So that you actually "turn back time" on your facial wrinkles and droopy skin? And what if I told you, you can do this all-naturally, and in just minutes per day, from the comfort of your home? Would you want to know this closely-guarded secret? I know you real quick, let me introduce you to this ordinary, middle-aged woman who discovered this amazing, wrinkle-erasing secret while traveling through Asia... =>
December 15, 2018
Tattoo artist Rodolfo Torres has been camouflaging under dark circles for over 10 years without medical issues....this dermatologist "warning" is not any different than the warnings they read you of anything that could go wrong when entering surgery. 10 out of 10 times nothing goes wrong. Anyone who suffers from the horrific look of dark under eye circles know very well that it's nothing you ever wish to "embrace". I would do it tomorrow if I could find an experienced tattoo artist in the Dallas/Ft Worth area that does dark circle camouflage. Suggestions welcomed!
November 28, 2018
I agree, risky as with any procedure that's near the eye. I do have to admit that I personally wouldn't try it, but the before and after is remarkable.