The 411 On Puffy Eyes + Dark Circles
We wake up – we feel refreshed – we’re ready to embrace a new day and THEN we realize we have dark circles and puffy eyes – no matter how much sleep we get (sigh). If you aren’t experiencing this semi-dramatic morning ritual on a regular basis, consider yourself genetically blessed! Most of us aren’t as lucky (myself included). Even a solid 8-hours leaves me looking like I’ve slept 4.5 on an overnight bus from NY to Miami. Minimal sleep is to blame, but there are other reasons too why our delicate under-eye skin can appear purple, red, or even blue – eyes look tired, you feel self-conscious and you’re probably applying A LOT of concealer. The positive? Well, it’s not dangerous to our health, but it can have a psychological effect on how we feel. Thankfully, there’s solutions to beautify and graciously mask our raccoon eyes and (Gucci?!) bags using easy and affordable beauty remedies at home, making minor lifestyle modifications, and using great skincare products. Before dark circles and puffiness are totally banished for good (a girl can dream), let’s refresh on why and what might be causes of dark circles and under-eye puffiness, besides a lack of sleep and too much salt in our diets, of course.
SKIN IS THIN: Blood vessels under our skin are more visible under the eye and on eyelids. What you see on the surface, is a reflection of what’s underneath. If blue veins are visible, it creates the appearance of darker looking skin, ultimately, making you look tired, explains New York City Dermatologist, Dr. Bruce Katz. Solution: use an eye cream that helps thicken under-eye skin, while also firming and boosting collagen production.
STOP SLEEPING ON YOUR STOMACH: Gravity does all sorts of things to our bodies we don’t like, eyes included – it causes fluid to collect under our eyes, (and applies pressure to our delicate facial skin, essentially causing premature wrinkling night after night) which results in puffy eyes. The effect of gravity on skin tissue also (slowly) causes our collagen and elasticity to weaken, resulting in sagging under-eye tissue (ugh). To prevent this from happening, sleep on your back slightly propped, so fluid can’t form around your eyes and Amazon yourself a silk pillowcase. Silk is best for skin to rest upon and helpful in preventing premature wrinkling. The less skin rubs against a cotton pillow case, the less likely for premature wrinkles and creases to form. #SMALLVICTORIES.
BLAME IT ON YOUR PARENTS: It’s definitely a bummer, but Mom + Dad can be responsible for passing this not-so-sexy vibe on, says Dr. Katz. It’s much more common with Italian and Mediterranean backgrounds. Let’s just say it gives us (I’m part Italian) more character, eh? The good news? If it’s darker skin pigmentation spots that are bothering you, these can be removed with laser treatments, or a really good eye brightening cream and concealer to save the bank. I prefer the latter.
OR BLAME IT ON YOUR BONE STRUCTURE: If you have deep tear troughs under your eyes, shadowing and indentations can cause the appearance of darkness, it might not actually be from pigment or veins in this case, says Dr. Katz. I suggest using a collagen enhancing serum and a peptide-firming eye cream in combination with a brightening under eye concealer to assist in masking shadows before running to a Dermatologist for fillers.
ITCHY EYES, WATERY NOSE: Puffy eyes and dark circles can be caused from allergies. Allergies trigger histamines in our body, which cause blood vessels to dilate. Since the skin on our eyelids and under-eye is thin the swelling makes blood vessels appear darker than they actually are. Try popping an anti-allergy medication to see if it makes a difference with your under-eye dilemma.
STAY HYDRATED + HEALTHY: Alcohol and caffeine are naturally dehydrating (we lose our glow factor this way). This causes the under-eye skin to look saggier and darker in color. A similar effect applies to smoking. Doing so regularly speeds-up the loss of collagen from our skin – increasing bags to form around our eyes. Drink a lot of water and add Sakara Life Beauty + Detox Concentrates (for glow, AM + PM) and herbal teas to stay glowing and keep under-eye skin bright, firm, and well hydrated.
*Now that we know what causes dark and puffy eyes, here’s tried + true, easy at home remedies (we love this) to assist in banishing dark circles and under-eye puffiness (temporarily at least).
ROLL WITH IT: Ice or jade rollers: I use every AM. Perfect for when you are pressed for time and can’t chill with tea bags over your eyes. Keep in the freezer (ice roller) or in the fridge (jade roller) for instant soothing comfort, but more importantly, the coldness helps to constrict blood vessels, minimizing dark circles and the rolling movement gets our lymphatic system draining – puffiness. is. diminished. This is my favorite “fix-me” trick for making eyes look more awake and not swollen.
MINT LEAVES: We think of pairing mint with sweet tea or chocolate desserts, but it’s great for our eyes, too. It’s cool and tingly and it feels heavenly, a true pick-me-up. The tingly feeling increases blood flow, which helps to brighten…fading away dark circles. Crush raw mint leaves and apply gently over dark circles for 10 minutes and rinse off – refreshed and glowing.
TEA BAGS: This old wives tale works. Caffeinated tea contains natural tannins – a mild diuretic, (and yes, this is one situation where caffeine IS good for you) caffeine shrinks blood vessels, diminishing the visibility of veins and puffiness! I’d like to think Cindy Crawford wakes-up and places tea bags on her eyes before she starts her day, so let’s go with it and do the same. Brew tea and let two tea bags chill in the refrigerator. Once cool and refreshing to the touch, place over each eye and relax for 10 - 15 minutes (discard tea bags after. I like to use black or green tea). Rinse, cleanse, and apply eye cream as usual.
CUCUMBER SLICES: I still feel like a teenager kicking back with freshly cut cucumber slices layered over my eyes, but it’s definitely a winner and a long time favorite used in spas (and probably with Cindy Crawford). The cucumber slices reduce puffiness because of their anti-inflammatory properties. They also have skin-lightening properties – leaving eyes brighter and de-puffed for your morning meeting, yoga class, dog walk, or DECAFFEINATED coffee run. Apply to clean eyes for 10 - 15 minutes, rise, and follow with your normal skincare routine.
TURMERIC + ROSEWATER: Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory dream for our bodies, inside and out and a serious de-puffer! Sprinkle turmeric into pure rosewater and soak two large cotton balls or rounds into the delightfully smelling potion – squeeze excess rosewater from your cotton and place over your eyes for 10 - 15 minutes, rinse and follow with your normal skincare products. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, which helps to calm and reduce puffiness, while rose water is soothing and calming to the delicate eye area, too.
HEMORRHOID CREAM: YEP! This beauty trick I’m sure Cindy Crawford used and why not, this miracle cream works wonders, especially if in a pinch and pressed for time. Preparation H restricts blood vessels underneath our very thin and delicate under-eye area and eyelids. Making dark circles seem brighter and less puffy. Skin is tight and smooth and the effects are longer-lasting than using cucumber slices, or tea bags.
*If all else fails, concealer was invented for a reason, right?!