Dark circles, fine lines, dry eyes and puffiness — NOT CUTE!
You probably heard the phrase: “Eyes are truly the windows to our soul”, but did you know that your eyes are the windows to your whole body?
The reason why eye bags exist, aside from being due to genetics, is because they are biological reflections of your body’s current state of health. Whether you sleep well at night, maintain lower stress levels, or eat a balanced meal every day are factors that contribute to eye puffiness overall. There are also eye creams marketed to help control these issues, but are they really worth the hefty price tag?
First things first, let’s learn about the skin around our eyes a little better.
The skin around our eyes is called the periorbital skin and is significantly thinner than the rest of our body. It lacks many oil glands, collagen or elastin compared to the rest of our face and body. Since this area is thin, it shows the first signs of moisture loss, dryness, and aging. The periorbital skin also has capillaries, small blood vessels that lie just beneath the thin surface, which transports blood throughout the body. These capillaries may expand and contract, when that happens, the periorbital skin will appear darker (A.K.A. dark circles).
Before we get into how to get rid of dark circles, it’s important to understand how it forms. Although they are mostly caused by genetics, contributing factors include sinus problems, allergies, adrenal fatigue, stress, and lack of sleep.
As mentioned earlier, the reason dark circles appear so dark and intense is because of the capillaries expanding and contracting from beneath the thin skin. The bluish-purple color you often see is due to the blood cells pooling in that area while the capillaries expand.
When we get things like stress, nervousness, anxiety, and other mental imbalances (especially for prolonged periods of time), they can eventually lead to adrenal fatigue, which is a state of exhaustion resulting from insufficient hormones sent to the body. Keep in mind that this is caused when the body is extremely overworked and you aren’t eating or sleeping well. So it’s important to take care of your body!
How to Get Rid of Dark Circles
Luckily you can take small steps to make changes in your daily routine. Ensure that you’re eating well, de-stressing, and getting a good night’s sleep. Here are some of Felicia and Rowena’s tips!
For diet, Rowena recommends being more mindful of what you eat and ensuring that your body is receiving the right nutrients.
According to Chinese Traditional Medicine, certain foods are associated with heat and cold. This is believed to affect the body’s internal systems, particularly the digestive systems. So, in order for the body to function properly, you need to maintain a balance of heat and cold.
Foods associated with heat include foods that are physically hot, make you sweat, deliver warmth, or cause inflammation within the body. Examples of heat foods include: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, garlic, peppers, wasabi, black pepper, but also chocolate, spicy foods, and deep fried foods.
Foods associated with cold include foods that are physically cold and are raw. Examples of cold foods include: fruit, raw vegetables, cold drinks and water, ice cream, smoothies, and salads.
What I’m explaining to you is just the surface level of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I’ll definitely write a more depth article later on, but it’s a comprehensive take on how we should eat a balanced meal to help our bodies on the inside. Even Felicia’s mom encourages drinking a glass of warm water in the morning to start off the day and help the digestive system run naturally.
Getting a good night’s sleep is so important and yet it’s something that many people struggle with on a daily basis. So before you end up staying awake for the next hour, find ways to relax. You can meditate, write journals, read a book, drink tea, or taking a nice bubble bath. Also, try shutting down electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.
Puffy Eye Bags
Eye bags, unlike dark circles, are not much caused by genetics. They stem from internal imbalances, especially in the kidneys. This relates to how much protein, potassium, and sodium we consume in our diet and how they get filtered throughout your body. When we consume excess amounts of protein, potassium, or sodium, our liver and kidneys can’t handle the strain in the detoxification process. When this happens, our bodies hold onto the water, which makes us bloated and puffy.
Another cause of puffiness might be the way you sleep (yes, really!) If you’re laying on your back without a pillow elevating your head, the fluids in your body can rush to your head while you sleep. Then by the time you wake up in the morning, you might notice your face looking bloated and puffy.
Lifestyle Changes You Can Make To Ease Puffiness
Excess amounts of sodium is the culprit to puffy under eyes, so mind what you eat and drink. Foods like ramen, fried chicken, and fries are all high in sodium and can cause dehydration and water retention. To help balance out the sodium levels in your body, you can consider eating foods rich in potassium, such as bananas. Keep in mind that you’ll need about 4 times the amount of potassium to lower sodium levels.
For some quick fix solutions, you can use eye drops to hydrate your eyes, apply ice compresses, use cucumber slices or chilled tea bags, and splash cold water over your face and eyes.
We also recommend these herbal eye patches, designed to relieve stressed and tired eyes by using natural herbs to stimulate acupuncture points.
Truth About Eye Creams
So let’s talk about eye creams.
There seems to be so many eye creams out there that are marketed to help with wrinkles, aging skin, dark circles, puffiness and the like. But are they really worth it?
In theory, yes. But in reality, you can consider them to be diluted versions of your moisturizer that is packaged in a small container and sold for triple dollar signs.
For some of the eye serums that contain active ingredients such as retinols, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid, keep in mind that it can irritate the skin because it’s so thin and sensitive.
What Should I Use Instead?
You can mix a small amount of your facial moisturizer with a neutral fragrance-free lotion such as Aveeno or CeraVe for use as an eye cream. This not only helps hydrate the under eyes, but it’s also a cost-friendly alternative to slowing down the aging process.
For de-puffing the eyes, there are eye creams that provide a metal rod for application. They’re marketed to cool your eyes with the metal while you apply the cream but they also come with a hefty price tag. It’s actually not necessary, an easier at-home alternative is to run the back of a chilled metal spoon on your puffy eyes. It’s the same effect!
But that’s not to say that you should stop using eye creams if you already are. If your current eye cream is giving you good results at a reasonable price, we definitely encourage you to keep using it.
Both Felicia and Rowena use eye creams as part of their skincare routines to give their under eyes a boost and even recommend a few products they saw working for their skin.
Here’s some of their recommendations:
Rowena recommends this for its thick and creamy texture that works wonderfully for her dry skin without causing breakouts or milia.
Felicia finds that this product helped her brighten up the dark circles under her eyes when she was in her early twenties.
This product is one of Rowena’s faves for nourishing and moisturizing her under eyes.
Felicia really loves this eye gel due to its velvet-like texture and matte finish consistency. It gives a smooth look even under makeup, without clumping or flaking.
Keep in mind that these products are more short term solutions than long term ones. The best solutions are really to keep your body well hydrated, nourished, and rested. Remember that beauty is not always skin deep as they say, but rather, it’s about maintaining a balance from the inside out.