Eyes are often called the ‘windows to our soul’ and rightly so. Our emotions are conveyed more through our eyes than our expressions or words. This is why it becomes imperative to take good care of them and keep a check on under eye problems like dark circles and under eye bags among others.
Ok, so you have a great skin care regime, are using the best skin care products can get your hands on and yet those pesky under eye problems refuse to go away. Add to this, puffy eyes, eye bags and wrinkles and they are enough to give any girl sleepless nights.
So let’s talk about some common problems for the under eye.
1. Dark Circles: These are the most common. Despite our best efforts, they are difficult to cover up and even more difficult to get rid of. They are like a constant companion often making you look older, tired, depressed or even ill. Let’s look at some of the reasons for dark circles.
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a. Physiology: The skin under your eyes is many times thinner than the skin on the rest of the face, thus making it extremely delicate. The capillaries under the skin around our eyes are so small that many a times, the blood cells entering them leak into the surrounding skin. To clear up this leakage, the enzymes in our body break down the red blood cells. When the hemoglobin in the blood gets broken down, it produces a blue black color. This is the color that shows up under our eyes because the skin in those areas is extremely translucent and the capillaries are closest to the skin here. Sometimes rubbing the delicate skin under your eyes can also break capillaries causing dark circles.
b. Heredity: In some cases dark circles maybe hereditary. Take a look at your mom or your aunt. Skin tone plays an important role here. The more translucent your skin is the more dramatic your dark circles look. Some people have excess pigment around the eyes that may also be hereditary. Apply pressure on your dark circles with your fingers – if it doesn’t disappear, it is pigment.
c. Visible veins under the eyes are also capable of producing dark circles. If you apply pressure to the circle or shadow under your eyes, and it disappears, your problem is due to visible blood vessels underneath the thin skin of the eye area.
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d. Allergy: Allergies and dark circles have a deep association. An allergy means that your eyes would be teary and itchy which causes you to rub your eyes. Rubbing your eyes too much breaks the delicate capillaries underneath the skin thus causing dark circles.
e. Nutrition: Lack of proper nutrition, deficiency of vitamins and minerals is also a major reason for dark circles to appear
f. Fatigue: Lack of sleep, menstruation, pregnancy can all cause you to be exhausted thus making your skin pale. This will in turn make your dark circles look worse. These are however not a direct cause of dark circles.
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g. Age: Our skin tends to lose its elasticity with age due to the breakdown of collagen. This leads to thinning of skin under the eyes, thus allowing the discoloration to become more visible.
h. Nasal congestion causes the veins that drain from your eyes into your nose become dilated and darker again causing dark circles
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i. Sun exposure: We are all aware of the evils of sun exposure. Whenever our skin is exposed to sunlight it produces melanin as a defense against the harmful effects of UV rays. So when melanin comes to the surface of skin, it makes dark circles look darker.
Remedies For Under Eye Circles:
- If your problem is due to allergies use a mild cleanser and moisturizer for sensitive skin. You might also want to consult your doctor for a prescription to relieve the itching
- For shadows caused by excess pigment, retinol creams or even prescription retinoids can be useful. You can even try under eye creams with vitamin K soy, niacin, licorice or kojic acid.
- Limit alcohol intake. Excessive drinking can cause dehydration causing further dryness which will highlight your dark circles.
- Reduce salt intake: Too much salt in the body causes fluid retention in the body leading to puffy eyes and under eye bags.
- Make sure your diet is well balanced and nutritious. Eat foods that are rich in vitamins and iron. Include fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.
- Reduce stress and combat fatigue. Sleep well.
- Wearing sun glasses is important for protection of the delicate under eye area. A good pair of shades will not only protect from harmful sun rays, they will also keep you from squinting out the sun.
- No smoking: The nicotine in cigarettes can cause constriction in the blood vessels, resulting in poor circulation, which enhances the appearance of dark circles.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Exercise regularly. Yoga can help
Home Remedies for Dark Circles:
I developed dark circles and generally tired looking eyes last year when I would wake up often during the night to feed my baby. All these remedies have helped me immensely in getting rid of my dark circles.
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- Tomato juice mixed with a few drops of lemon juice is known to lighten dark areas around the eyes.
- Cotton balls dipped in chilled rose water can help in cooling the eyes and reducing stress thus lightening dark circles.
- Almond oil or a paste of milk and almonds applied under the eyes regularly will reduce the darkness. So will Cucumber slices and tea bags.
- Drink tomato juice with a little mint leaves, lemon juice and salt.
- Sliced potato strips placed over the eyes are also an easy way to cure dark circles and bags under your eyes.
- Aroma Magic Under Eye Gel (Rs. 90 for 20 gms) has also helped my under eye skin to bounce back. Another product I have used is SEBAMED Q10 Lifting Eye Cream (around Rs. 600 for 15 ml!) which was recommended to me by a doc as I use contact lenses. This one also gave me good results but I would suggest you give the Aroma Magic one a try first as there is a huge price difference between the two.
Puffy eyes and under eye bags:
Puffy eyes and under eye bags are mostly mistaken for the same thing. They are however two different issues which appear to be similar. The main difference is that puffy eyes are generally a temporary problem caused mainly by retention of fluid in our body. Under eye bags are often caused by fat pads under the eyes which accumulate slowly over time.
Causes of puffy eyes include high salt intake, lack of sleep, emotional or physical stress, too much alcohol consumption, irritation from contact lenses or even allergy and sinusitis.
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Prevention is the best cure for puffiness of the eyes. If your puffiness is mostly visible when you wake up in the morning, then it is due to fluid retention. Reducing salt caffeine and alcohol along with sleeping with an extra pillow under your head so as to keep your head elevated, will help control this. Drinking plenty of water and a well balanced healthy diet also go a long way in reducing puffiness under the eyes.
Cucumbers are really good at helping to reduce puffiness under your eyes. Tea bags also work to reduce swelling under the eyes. The tannin in tea bags helps reduce swelling and darkness under the eye.
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Under eye bags: If the bags under your eyes are always there and not just during mornings or when you have allergies, they may be hereditary. In such cases, phosphatidylctholine injections can also help dissolve the fat under the eyes. Surgery is the only way to totally cure these bags.
There are also a few health problems like a thyroid condition and diabetes that can cause puffiness or dark circles under or around the eyes. If you have chronic puffiness, dark circles, or bags under your eyes you should consult a physician to determine if they are a symptom of a more serious health concern.
Fine lines under eyes and crow’s feet: The skin around the eyes (which is many times thinner than the skin on the face), loses its elasticity and becomes even thinner due to the breakdown of collagen as we age. Sun and environmental exposure can aggravate this. This is the main cause of fine lines under the eyes. Crow’s feet around the eyes are caused due to expression like smiling and squinting. Prevention is again the best cure for fine lines and crow’s feet.
Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB rays and always wear sunglasses. Topical retinoids have been shown to help crow’s feet by inducing collagen growth, Injectable fillers can be used to plump up the lines, and chemical peels and lasers can also improve crow’s feet by stimulating collagen.
Some general tips to take care of your under eye area:
- Use a good concealer. For lighter circles use a concealer one shade lighter than your foundation and for very dark circles use one that is two shades lighter. Try not to use a very pale color as this will only highlight the circles more. However, if the circles are of a more grey tone, then you may find a pink toned concealer works better in disguising them. I have personally never used a concealer as my dark circles were quite temporary so I would not be able to suggest any here. 🙂
- Do not tug at eyes while applying makeup
- Use a gentle makeup remover. Olive oil will also get even stubborn mascara off without harmful rubbing, scrubbing or tugging and pulling.
- Use the ring finger to apply cream or make up around the eyes as this finger exerts the least pressure on the delicate under eye area.
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