Ever dread waking up in the morning and looking in the mirror to see those dark eye circles and puffy eye bags staring right back at you?
Many of us have to deal with those dark under-eye circles, which more often than not, make us look tired, older or unhealthy. Visibly tired eyes have long been a universal beauty woe — but how do these dark circles get there in the first place?
What Causes Dark Circles?
There are different factors that cause dark circles to be visible under the eyes, ranging from genetics and allergies to lifestyle choices.
Rings under the eyes are typically caused by pigmentation, which can be hereditary and thus boils down to skin type. It may also be the result of sun damage. Another cause of dark circles is dilated veins — when veins under the eye dilate, they become bigger and darker. This may be due to exhaustion, seasonal allergies or dietary factors.
Hyperpigmentation under the eyes is especially common in Asian skin, mainly because dark-skinned people tend to have more melanin (the pigment which lends skin its colour) than light-skinned people.
Lifestyle plays a part as well. When you are deprived of a good night’s sleep, you lose hydration around the eyes and underlying blood vessels look more pronounced. It is coined “beauty sleep” for a good reason!
Tips to Get Rid of Dark Circles
Whether this is the result of sleepless nights, long-haul flights or simply a stressful week, we certainly do not want to be seen with those panda eyes.
So what does it take to banish dark under-eye circles?
1. Beauty Sleep
As clichéd as it sounds, when it comes to your beauty routine, sleep may be the closest thing there is to a fountain of youth. Your body repairs itself and recovers while you snooze, which leads to a long list of benefits for your looks. Fatigue is one of the most common causes of dark circles. Lack of sleep exaggerates their appearance. It is imperative that you get enough sleep every night, not just for brighter eyes, but also for your overall well-being. Take necessary steps and measures to provide yourself with a better night’s sleep. Switch off your mobile phones and tablets to ensure there are no disruptions while you sleep. Alternatively, you can set your devices to night mode to minimise blue light, which is proven to disrupt our natural sleep cycle.
2. Hydrate Well
The skin around our eyes is relatively thinner than the other parts of our body. As a result, our skin tends to shrivel up and appear most prominent around the eyes when we are dehydrated. To rub salt into the wound, any dark circles that you may already have will be further amplified due to this. Additionally, dehydrated skin causes water retention, leading to swelling of the skin and ultimately eye bags. In some cases, elevating your head with an extra pillow at night helps too — the slight increase in height can help relieve some swelling and reduce eye bags.
3. Address Your Diet
While fast dietary fixes for dark eye circles do not exist, maintaining a nutritious anti-inflammatory diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats can bring about visible skin improvements all over the body — including the eye area. Small changes in your diet, like consuming less red wine and caffeine, can reduce the appearance of dark eye circles.
4. Minimise Sun Exposure
Ask anyone who has had sunburns before and they will probably tell you how thin and wrinkled their skin felt. Also, with the skin under our eyes being only 0.5 mm thick, there is no need for an imaginative mind to conceive the probable amount of damage sun overexposure can do to you. Committing to daily sunscreen use is essential for reducing the appearance of dark circles. Good sun protection can keep dark under-eye circles at bay. Apply facial sunblock and wear a large floppy hat or sunglasses to protect your face before you head outdoors. Practise reapplying sunscreen at regular intervals to ensure your skin stays protected all the time when you are in the sun. You can also consider an under-eye concealer that contains a broad-spectrum sun protection factor (SPF), should you want to protect and cover your under-eyes simultaneously.
5. Tea Bags
Drinking tea has many advantages — not only does it increase the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel and boost exercise endurance, it has been proven to also reduce the risks of a heart attack. Here is another one: Tea is chock-full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to rejuvenate skin and diminish puffiness. So the next time you are about to toss your used tea bags into the bin, remember to pop them into the refrigerator first. Once they are cold, place them over your eyes and leave them on for 10 minutes as a cold compress.
Almost everyone has seen experts place cucumber slices over the eyes during beauty treatments, but how many of us have actually tried it? Now may be a good time to start. Take a cucumber out of the refrigerator, cut two slices and place them over your dark eye circles. Leave them on for 10 minutes before washing your face with cold water. You will feel your eyes freshen up almost immediately.
The Bottom Line
Although having dark circles under your eyes is not typically a health concern, you might want them to disappear for cosmetic reasons. It suggests tiredness, rising stress levels and a general aura of exhaustion. Like they say, your eyes are the windows to your soul, so it is definitely worth making the effort to take care of those peepers.
Let’s leave it to the pandas to rock those panda eyes, shall we?