Only pandas wear panda eyes well. Medically known as Periorbital hyperchromia, dark under eye circles can affect men, women and sometimes even children. These dark circles are caused by dilated blood vessels that sit just under the skin around your eyes.
The skin covering our eyes and the area around it is very thin compared to the rest of our body. They measure on average, a mere 0.5mm thick compared to about 2.5mm on the rest of our body. So any damage to this sensitive area shows through easily compared to other parts.
To add insult to injury, our skin becomes thinner as we age - which is why older folks tend to have more prominent dark circles under their eyes. Another unwanted companion to dark under eye circles are puffy eyes.
These are usually caused by fluid retention just below the eyes - which increases pressure on the skin and blood vessels, causing it to swell.
Your genes and skin type could also contribute to whether you are more prone to dark circles or puffy eyes.
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23 natural ways to remove dark circles and puffy eyes
There are many ways you can banish dark circles under your eyes and puffiness, without having to resort to chemical peels, lasers or scalpels. All it takes are a combination of the right lifestyle habits and Mother Nature’s long list of therapeutic plants.
So while we may not be able to change our genetic inheritance, there’s still plenty we can do to help our eyes stay bright, healthy and happy.
Here’s 23 things you can do now that will put a twinkle back in your eye
1. Get enough sleep
Fatigue is one of the most common causes of dark circles so it’s important to get enough shut-eye each and every night. Each of us is unique and the recommended 8 hours a day may not be for everyone.
Some find 6 hours a night sufficient while others can only function when they can fit in 9 hours of sleep. It’s worth taking the time to find out how many hours of sleep your body needs daily, not just for brighter eyes but also for your well being.
2. Drink more water
As we know, the skin around our eyes is thinner than everywhere else on our body. When you are dehydrated, your skin will shrivel up and will look most prominent around the eyes.
Any dark circles you have will be further enhanced due to this. Dehydrated skin also causes water retention, which can cause swelling of the skin - leading to eye bags.
3. Use a cold compress
Reduce swelling by applying a cold compress - a wet towel that’s been in the fridge works well. Just place them over your eyes for 10 minutes once or twice a day.
Pro tip: Keep the wet towel permanently in your fridge so that it’s always at hand when you need it. But remember to replace it with a clean towel every few days.
4. REDUCE SUN EXPOSURE
Remember how wrinkled and thin your skin feels when you’re sunburnt? With the skin around the eyes being only 0.5mm thick, imagine the damage overexposure to the sun can do!
Good sun protection can keep dark under eye circles at bay. Apply face-friendly sunblock, wear a large floppy hat or sunglasses to cover your face when heading outdoors. Make it a habit to reapply sunscreen at regular intervals to keep your skin protected.
5. Virgin Coconut Oil
This tropical oil is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce puffiness and swelling under your eyes. It is also super hydrating, putting moisture back into your parched skin to help maintain skin firmness and elasticity.
High in medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), virgin coconut oil can repair damaged skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines - taking years off your eyes. All it takes is a drop or two massaged gently to the areas around your eyes each night.
And while you’re at it, be sure to coat your eyelashes with coconut oil too - it can help nourish your eyelashes for strong, lush and dark eyelashes.
6. Use tea bags
Before you toss your used tea bags into the trash, pop them first into the fridge. Once they’re cold, place them over your eyes and leave for 10 minutes as a cold compress.
Tea comes packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to revitalise skin and reduce puffiness.
7. Apply noni enzyme
Noni enzyme is derived from the juice of the noni fruit, a superfood that is found in South East Asia. Rich in antioxidants and tyrosinase inhibitors, noni enzyme can help regenerate your skin’s cells while zapping pigmentation and dark spots. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce swelling caused by baggy eyes.
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8. Remove makeup gently
The eyes are the window to our soul, which is probably why we spend time highlighting them with makeup. But it’s important to remove all traces of makeup at the end of each day to avoid any flare-ups or infections.
When removing makeup, try to do so gently to avoid rubbing the eyes as this can cause irritation and fine lines. Use a natural makeup remover to avoid harsh chemicals near your eyes.
Virgin coconut oil is not only natural, it glides easily over eyes to effectively remove all traces of makeup without any tugging or rubbing.
9. Wear less makeup
If you can, try to go barefaced whenever possible. Truly natural makeup is almost non-existent, so you’re piling on harsh chemicals to your body’s most sensitive areas every time you apply makeup.
If you have sensitive skin, your body might even react to the chemicals in your makeup - causing irritation, flare-ups and redness.
Even when you can’t feel your skin’s reaction, it can still cause long-term damage to your skin. For example, patchiness, uneven skin tone and wrinkles. If your eyes are sensitive to makeup it can also cause swelling that leads to eye bags.
10. Cucumber slices
It may sound cheesy to use cucumber slices for your eyes, but they really do work! Cucumbers can help to naturally whiten skin while reducing water retention that causes swollen eyes.
Cold cucumber slices work better as they can also reduce puffiness, so make sure you place them in the fridge first. Want another reason to slice up cucumbers? They can also boost hydration levels on your skin.
11. DAB FLORAL WATER AROUND YOUR EYES
Floral water is a by-product of essential oils production, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously. They contain active botanical compounds of the plant they are derived from and can help with dark circles and puffy eyes.
Place a few drops of your favourite floral water on to a cotton ball and gently pat (not rub) them around your eyes.
Geranium floral water can help increase blood circulation to brighten eyes while rosemary floral water can help reduce swelling.
Turmeric’s long list of benefits include antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and the healing of wounds. It also helps to brighten skin, which is why it makes our list of natural ways to combat racoon eyes.
Mix turmeric powder with plain yoghurt and apply under your eyes. Leave for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off. Be careful not to use too much turmeric as it can leave a temporary yellow stain on your skin.
13. ALOE VERA
Aloe vera is a handy plant to have around the home for its countless medicinal cures. Aloe gel can help reduce swelling while hydrating your skin, making them perfect for puffy eyes.
Made up primarily of water, aloe vera is also rich in vitamins, enzymes and minerals - allowing them to boost your skin’s health while replacing lost moisture.
14. CHAMOMILE TEA
As you can see, we love using tea to zap dark circles and puffiness! Chamomile tea can be found in every budding herbalist’s cupboard. Sip it to calm frazzled nerves, soothe stomach cramps and reduce stress. When you’re done, pop them in the fridge until chilled and use them on your eyes too.
Not only can chamomile help to lighten skin pigmentation, it can also prevent wrinkles and smooth out fine lines. Place them over your eyes for 10 minutes and you’re good to go.
15. Eat more collagen
Collagen is the scaffolding that holds our skin and body together. It is responsible for our skin’s elasticity and suppleness, making it an indispensable ally in combating dark circles and eye bags.
Collagen is naturally abundant in our body but production of this vital protein declines with age. Overexposure to UV rays and cigarette smoke also contributes to a lowered level of collagen in our body.
To make up for this loss, add eggs, meat, berries and Vitamins A and C to your diet.
16. Up your iron intake
If your body is lacking in iron, it cannot produce enough red blood cells. This can cause dull, sallow skin as iron helps your skin and nails retain its natural lustre.
Adding red meat, beans, lentils and leafy greens (such as spinach, kale or swiss chard) to your daily intake can help.
17. Vitamin C
Vitamin C can help improve skin health and keep your skin looking younger. As an antioxidant, it can also help you fight the signs of ageing while aiding in the production of collagen for firm, bouncy skin.
Foods rich in Vitamin C include guava fruit, blackcurrants, peppers, kiwi and of course - oranges.
18. Get more Omega 3
An essential fatty acid, omega 3 is important to our health but our body cannot produce it on its own - it needs to come from our diet. Omega 3 shields our body from UV exposure, fights wrinkles and keep our skin hydrated.
Common sources of omega 3 include fish oil, chia seeds, leafy greens and walnuts - so be sure to add them to your meal plan.
19. Stop rubbing your eyes
To prevent fine lines and dark circles, try to avoid rubbing your eyes. You may not even notice you’re doing it, so it’s worth paying attention to your sleeping and waking up habits.
We tend to rub our eyes when we’re tired or upon waking up. Making this a habit can wear down your skin’s thinner surface, causing wrinkles and redness in the process.
20. Cut down on salt...
Excessive salt intake can cause water retention - which then leads to puffy eye bags. If you’re also dehydrated at the same time, the result can be twice as bad. If you find it hard to pass on the salt, try sprinkling fresh herbs over your food instead for an extra dash of flavour.
21. …and also alcohol
Booze is another cause of dehydration, so having more drinks than you should can also lead to dark circles under your eyes. Not to mention the fact that alcohol affects your quality of sleep, causing fatigue that can affect the health of your eyes.
22. Stub out that cigarette butt
While we’re on the subject of things to avoid, it’s also worth highlighting the effects of smoking on your skin.
Cigarettes contain hundreds of chemicals that are not only bad for your lungs, they impact your skin’s health too. Wrinkled, dry and red eyes are a few of the many side effects of smoking.
Secondhand smoke also impacts your skin, another reason why it’s time to get those around you to kick the habit too.
23. Slash your screen time
We now spend more time staring into screens than we have ever before. This puts a strain on our eyes and can cause bloodshot, dry and tired eyes.
And since tiredness is a major cause of dark circles and puffy eyes, it’s worth making an effort to scale back on your screen time.
Your eyes say plenty about you so it’s worth making the effort to take care of your eyes. Because the skin around our eyes is thinner than the rest of our body, it’s necessary to take extra precautions when trying to combat dark circles and puffy eyes.
Bear in mind that eye bags can cause dark circles to appear even darker due to the shadow it casts.
But thankfully there are many things you can do to fix this frustrating skin problem - from your lifestyle habits to natural foods.
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