Many people suffer from dark circles and puffiness under their eyes. It can be a chronic problem or one that simply pops up when it is least wanted! The reason why we don’t like it is because having dark areas under the eyes makes us look older than we actually are. It’s an age-old story that we, in clinic, are often asked about: Dark circles, Puffiness and Fine lines.
The skin under the eyes is naturally up to 10 times thinner than on the rest of your face. It has less oil glands so can become dehydrated quicker than other areas. The blood vessels, because the skin is thinner, are more noticeable and at times when they leak and break, the blood pools causing the skin to look blue/grey/black – dark circles and along with this to become puffy. Puffiness creates fine lines and the total effect may cause shadows making the whole area appear worse than it probably is.
Bad luck with your genes! Dark circles are often passed down in families and can start as early as childhood. Some children may grow out of them, others might not. Darker skinned races are more likely to suffer from what is termed hyperpigmentation in the eye area and really there is nothing that can be done for these people. However, looking after the delicate area and understanding what can worsen it will help to minimise the problem and improve the look.
We all know that when we have a few late nights in a row, those dark shadows start to appear under our eyes. Lack of sleep is one of the most common causes of dark circles, however, too much sleep can cause them too! A happy medium is what we want and generally, this is one easy thing that we can change.
When we are congested through our nasal passages, fluid can build up causing the puffy look and the blood vessels that drain from around our eyes often dilate with the thinner skin making the darkness more prominent. Many facial products contain ingredients that are more likely to irritate the eye area so added care needs to be taken when deciding which products to use around the eyes. If the area needs to deal with substances it doesn’t like, puffiness and inflammation are more likely. Traditional, and modern therapists often say that this area relates to a general body toxicity, especially relating to the kidneys and liver. If you suspect this is the case you should see a Doctor.
Too much salt in the diet puts added pressure on the body’s blood vessels resulting in fluid retention including around the eye area. This makes the blood vessels more prominent and causes puffiness.
Some medications can cause dilation of the blood vessels within the body, this also occurs in the eye area and due to the skin being thinner in this area, they are more visible. Of course, sickness is often first noticed in the eye area, even a simple cold, however more serious conditions such as Iron deficiency anaemia will cause the under eye area to look darker as the amount of oxygen reaching the area is reduced.
thins the skin giving that gorgeous translucent glow many women have. It may also, however enhance the appearance of dark circles. Luckily, if they manage sufficient sleep, once the baby is born the dark circles will fade.
As we start to age, the delicate skin around our eyes begins to thin due to a break down in the collagen and elastin. This makes the blood vessels around our eye area more visible and causes shadows to accentuate the problem. The fine lines begin to appear. Damage from UV will produce uneven skin colours as well (pigmentation) and remember we have been using this area constantly and simply the wear and tear means that the area ages faster than other areas of our face.
How to help reduce the issue
- If you wake up puffy then sleep on your back. Ensure you get sufficient sleep and manage your stress. Avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed.
- If allergic, use protection on your pillow cases and change your bed linen regularly, use an anti-histamine. Don’t rub at your eyes.
- Be gentle removing eye makeup, minimise trauma to the area by avoiding scratching and rubbing. Use products which contain no nasties.
- Reduce your salt intake, eat well especially foods high in iron and Vitamin C and drink at least 2 litres of water per day. If you smoke – DON’T!
- Use eye area specific products including Vitamin C, Vitamin A, growth factors, peptides and don’t forget your daily sunblock.
Tea Bag trick – put 2 black tea bags in hot water, remove them and let them cool. Place each one over an eye for 5 min. This cools the area, constricts the blood vessels and helps to drain some pooled blood. You will feel better and look less dark and puffy though it is only temporary.
Specific products we love for your eye area
Osmosis Colour Melt Away Gelee – soft, gentle and effective eye makeup remover.
Osmosis Age-defying Concealer – The perfect duo to conceal dark circles! The Osmosis age-defying concealer has a moisture stick on one end, infused with argan, apricot and coconut oil to nurture the delicate eye area. On the other end, the concealer minimises the appearance of dark circles, pigmentation and redness.
Colorescience Mineral Corrector Palette – A versatile mineral palette that camouflages uneven skin tone, dark circles, pigmentation and other imperfections. This palette comes with five shades to minimise red, blue and yellow tones and provides natural and long-lasting coverage.
Sunforgettable Lip Shine SPF 35 – for you lips you say? Sometimes it is difficult to find a sunblock which your under-eye area likes. If this is you then this is the product for you. Designed to use over lipstick or alone it gives good UV protection wherever you use it. I like it on the end of my nose!
Creams and serums
All the products below will help with dark circles, puffiness and fine lines under the eye area; lightening, brightening and improving blood flow to the area. You only need enough of each to balance on the top of a match head, warm it up between your fingers and press onto the area – only under your eyes and around the sides, using what is left on your fingers for the top lids and your lips. Your top lids have lots of oil glands and actually only need product for some extra moisture and your lips can almost always do with some extra anyway.
The list begins for you younger ones and progresses as we age…
Aspect Eye Lift 3 – Under 30 and guilty of burning the candle at both ends – then This complete and effective clinical strength formula will treat your dark circles and under eye puffiness.
Aspect Dr Eye Lift – Safe to use whilst pregnant and breast feeding and yet sooooo effective at treating all under eye skin concerns.
CosMedix Opti-Crystals – A serum that is delicate enough for sensitive eye tissue, packed with antioxidants such as Spin Trap, which repairs and protects damaged skin. Alpha Lipoic Acid binds moisture and plumps the skin to reveal a more youthful-looking eye area.
Osmosis MD Refresh – This powerful eye serum contains ingredients, such as niacinamide and hyaluronic acid to plump, firm and reduce the appearance of dark circles by increasing cellular respiration and reducing inflammation. Refresh also is available in a slightly thicker medium for evening use: Osmosis MD Illuminate.
CosMedix Elite Eye Doctor – A rich antioxidant eye serum that contains AGP complex; this helps to smooth and firm the delicate eye area, without irritation, whilst reducing inflammation in the area. It is the only eye cream containing Vitamin A. We do suggest though that you use one of the other eye creams, such as Opti-crystals before using this one; just to prepare your yes.
Final note: These eye creams are pretty serious and some people find they make their eyes what I term “sweaty and tired feeling”. It tends to be people who wear glasses. If this is you, back off a little and use your product every 2nd or 3rd night and try to use less product – just a tiny titchy bit. Applying it only at night also helps. Aspect Dr Eye Lift does not seem to create this problem for people.