Let’s face it - everybody promises you a cream that will help you say goodbye once and for all to dark circles and puffy eyes!
BUT THEY DON’T ALWAYS WORK!
The main reason why they don’t is because dark circles and puffy under eye bags have several different reasons. And it would be very rare indeed to find that one magic potion that could address ALL those issues.
So instead of getting frustrated about it, let’s start with understanding what causes dark circles and puffy eyes and then work towards addressing them.
Yes creams can help, but always in conjunction with lifestyle changes.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND DARK UNDER-EYE CIRCLES
So what is the main reason behind those raccoon eyes? Is it poor diet, poor skincare habits, lack of sleep, too much screen time or the genes you inherited from your mom and dad? The sad answer to this question is that it could possibly be a combination of all of the above. Let’s dive into this a bit more so that you understand what the science is behind dark under-eye circles.
UNDERSTANDING THE SKIN AROUND YOUR EYES
Skin is not the same all over your body.
The skin around the eyes - also called the periorbital skin - is 10 times thinner than that on the rest of your face. As a result blood vessels (veins) just below the surface of the skin show up very easily as blue shadows.
Periorbital skin also has very few oil glands as compared to the skin of your face and therefore tends to be drier.
Facial expressions - smiling, laughing, squinting or frowning - cause this skin to be constantly stretched and pulled. This leads to a loss of elasticity as a result of which the skin below the eyes tends to sag. This sagging happens before any other part of the face starts to sag. Hence the first signs of ageing are normally visible in the under eye area.
WHAT CAUSES DARK CIRCLES
If you have dark under eye circles the list below will interest you.
Read through them to identify which of these you relate to.
1. SUN DAMAGE
Over-exposure to UVB rays results in uneven pigmentation and age spots. This is because UVB rays trigger abnormal maturity of melanocytes (the pigment producing cells).
The best solution is to stay out of the sun, especially during the hours when UVB rays are at their highest (11 am to 4 pm).
Sunglasses are not just fashionable - they can also play a big part in keeping the skin of your eyes protected from the harsh UVB rays of the sun.
2. EXCESSIVE SALT OR CAFFEINE INTAKE
Eating too much salt (especially late at night) can cause your body to retain fluid. This causes puffiness and discolouration in the under eye area.
Stay away from excessively salted foods such as chips and snacks as well as canned and processed foods since they contain high sodium levels.
Caffeine on the other hand is a diuretic i.e. it promotes the increased production of urine. This results in your body becoming more dehydrated. Low levels of hydration slows down circulation. This causes the blood vessels to dilate and become more obvious. In turn this creates shadows below the thin periorbital skin.
Counter your love of coffee with sufficient fluid intake to keep your body hydrated.
Food allergies, seasonal allergies or topical allergies can also exacerbate dark circles. It could also be your makeup that is to blame! You can develop an allergic reaction to an ingredient in your eyeshadow, mascara or even your concealer.
The constant itching and irritation triggered by these allergies cause you to rub the skin around your eyes excessively. This causes swelling, inflammation and broken blood vessels below the thin suborbital skin which can give the skin a dark and bruised appearance.
Inflamed sinuses also cause blood vessels to expand in size due to congestion.
4. INSUFFICIENT OR EXCESSIVE SLEEP
Sleep plays a key role in those pesky under eye circles and puffiness.
Insufficient sleep causes the blood vessels under the skin to dilate.
When your body is fatigued and tired, it produces higher amount of cortisol in order to give you the energy needed to stay awake.
Cortisol in turn increases the amount of blood flowing through your vessels, causing them to engorge.
These dilated blood vessels show up right away under the thin periorbital skin creating shadows and blue circles.
Excessive sleep can also cause oxygenated blood to pool under your eyes. These are responsible for the bags that might be visible once you wake up.
Sleeping on your stomach or on your side can also aggravate the situation.
Try sleeping on your back or using slightly higher pillows that keep your head elevated to avoid the formation of unsightly bags (which are basically puffiness and swelling)
Smoking (nicotine) speeds up the process of collagen breakdown in the skin around the eyes.
The already thin periorbital skin then becomes even thinner.
This automatically results in formation of undereye bags and worsening of blue-ish marks under the eye.
Your DNA might be to blame as well for your dark circles.
If you wish to see whether you are genetically programmed to have dark circles, pull out that family album and scrutinise it well.
Unfortunately for us South Asians, we are predisposed towards what is called periorbital hyperpigmentation. This is basically excessive melanin produced by the skin below the eyes causing it to appear a darker colour.
Since it is nigh well impossible to juggle with our inherited genes, you may need to look for a concealer to overcome this situation!
Without being too much of an alarmist here, certain diseases or nutritional deficiencies can also cause dark circles around your eyes.
Anaemia (lack of iron) or liver disease can also trigger those unsightly circles.
HERE’S HOW YOU CAN COUNTER THE MAIN REASONS FOR DARK UNDEREYE CIRCLES AND LOOK FRESH AND WELL RESTED
- Protect your skin from harsh UV rays by always wearing sunglasses that effectively block UV rays
- Stay hydrated. Measure your daily fluid intake. You might be surprised at how little you actually consume! If you are a heavy coffee or tea drinker counter each cup with a glass of water. Same goes for that glass of wine.
- Get enough good quality sleep
- Protect your eyes from keyboard strain (that means, less Netflix and more zzzzz’s)
- Quit smoking
- Make sure you are on top of your regular medical check ups
CHOOSE THE RIGHT SKINCARE
Yes, an eye cream or an eye serum will help in more ways than one. Make sure you read the ingredient list.
A well formulated eye serum will contain ingredients that
- depuff the under eye area
- nourish the thin periorbital skin
- hydrate and moisturize the area with antioxidant rich properties.
A well formulated eye cream or eye serum will also not trigger allergic reaction in spite of being applied quite close to a rather delicate and sensitive part of the face.
SHOULD YOU INVEST IN AN EYE CREAM IF YOUR DARK CIRCLES ARE GENETIC?
YES, because a well formulated eye cream or an eye serum can do so much more for your under eye area than just address dark circles
- It can moisturize skin and delay forming of fine lines and wrinkles
- It can strengthen the thin periorbital skin and make it more robust
- It can boost collagen levels, which improves skin elasticity
- It can help boost circulation, which in turn reduces puffiness
Yes eye creams can be a great asset in your daily skincare routine. Make sure you choose the right one because ingredients make all the difference.
It’s never too early to start. If you are in your mid to late twenties you may have started to notice the early signs of ageing around your eyes.
Look for a well formulated cream and combine this with the appropriate lifestyle changes as discussed above.
You can check out Vya Naturals Under Eye Serum (for Dark Circles, Puffiness, Dryness and Fine Lines):
- POWERFUL LINES AND PUFFINESS REDUCTION: Vya Naturals Caffeine Eye Serum reduces puffiness, dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles in the delicate skin around the eye area.
- ANTI-INFLAMMATORY BRIGHTENING AGENTS like caffeine, avocado oil, moringa and grape extract, vitamin E and niacinamide de-puff and reduce swelling while increasing circulation to alleviate and brighten dark circles
- RESTORE & REJUVENATE - Moisturize and hydrate under eye skin with rosemary oil and avocado oil while fighting signs of aging.
- ANTI-AGEING BENEFITS: Thanks to presence of Vitamin E and Niacinamide.
- 100% PURE - no petrochemicals or other toxins
- PERFECT FOR: All skin types, lines and wrinkles, dark circles