Thursday, 24 October 2013

Dark Circles Under the Eyes

I've had dark circles under my eyes forever.

And when I say forever, I mean it. I was taking a trip down memory lane this morning and I came across this pic:

Just look at the dark circles. Ugh! Does that or does that not look like the world's most exhausted toddler? My God, it looks like they had me running laps around an Olympic distance track for eight days while carrying a refrigerator strapped to my back. With no potty breaks. (That was another issue I had, but luckily it doesn't show in the picture.)

But no, it obviously wasn't a question of being tired. If I scroll through more shots, I see those dark circles, time and again. Every pic, every mood, every age, they're there. And they're pretty much still there today, unless I combat them.

I even tried a higher-end eye cream which is supposed to fight dark circles, and it failed ... well, it helped, but they still say "hi there!" every morning. I shot this video for it:

I've researched the subject (you all know how much I love to do research) and here's what I have found out about dark circles. Hope this helps some of you fellow sufferers out there...there is hope. And hey, if we can't eliminate the look, maybe we can start a new trend: goth-on-the-bottom-of-the-eyes only! Cheers!

Why We Get Dark Circles

Dark circles are generally associated with lack of sleep, and while that can certainly be one cause, it's not the only one. In fact, the problem of dark circles relates to the quality and thinness of the skin.

The skin under our eyes is much thinner than on the rest of our bodies. Depending upon what part we're talking about, it's up to 10 times thinner, in fact. When tiny breakages happen underneath the skin (bruising) or when our capillaries are engorged with blood (a normal occurrence at times), the skin on, say, the leg might cover that up. But because the skin under the eyes is so thin, a blue or purplish effect can be seen right through it.

Certain conditions can also increase the look of dark circles. For example...
  • Allergies. An allergy to a food or to something in our environment can cause fluids to rush to various parts of the body, and the eyes are a prime target. This leads to puffiness under the eyes, as well as higher visibility of capillaries.
  • Dehydration. Paradoxically, when our bodies aren't getting enough water, they compensate by retaining what they do have, and one of the areas where pooling occurs is under the eyes. (See above for the effects.)
  • Rubbing. If you rub your eyes frequently (this is often seen in individuals who spend their work day behind a computer screen), you are encouraging blood to the surface of the area. The blood is seen through the thin skin as undereye circles.
  • Hyperpigmentation. You probably wear sunscreen or an SPF-containing foundation on your face. But do you use it directly underneath your eyes? Most people don't. That's because SPF ingredients often seem to sting and irritate the eyes. (Your sunscreen may even come with a warning about this.) However, when the undereye area is unprotected by sunscreen, it's just as prone as the rest of your skin to darkening.

What You Can Do About Dark Circles
So. What can you do? A few things...such as:
  • Wear an eye gel or eye cream that contains SPF.
  • DO NOT rub your eyes. Period. I know it's a hard habit to get out of, but you're only making the problem worse.
  • Use an undereye product that's formulated to minimize dark circles. These really can work, usually by healing the area and reducing swelling of blood vessels.
  • Get enough sleep. I know, I know: that one was obvious. But many of us really don't get the rest we need (and that causes fluid retention and engorgement). So get your forty winks.
  • Get some exercise. Exercise makes for a better distribution of bodily fluids and better movement of the blood throughout your body. It also tones blood vessels.
  • Drink more water. Again, the point is to get fluid moving along and out rather than accumulating where it can be seen, and not in a pretty way.
  • Make sure you wear a GENTLE concealer. Irritating the area will make things worse.
  • Use an ultra-gentle eye makeup remover. The less tugging and rubbing of the area, the better.
I do hope these tips have helped. Genetics play a huge part in the processes that lead to undereye circles, so treating them may need to be a daily part of your routine. I find it's no problem to make these small changes; they're just part of my day. Let me know if the above ideas work for you...I'd love to hear from you!