Waking up every day to those dark eye circles and wondering if you’re going to have to carry around these bags forever? You won’t if you know why you’ve got them in the first place, and follow a few easy tips for getting rid of them. The fact is, New Year’s Eve isn’t the only time we stay up past midnight, drink too much, and party like it’s 1999. Believe it or not, too much time at the computer (guilty), stress (guilty, again), insomnia, or simply not getting enough Zzzs can give us those zombie-apocalypse shadows under our eyes. Here’s what a cosmetic dermatologist expert has to say about the most common causes and solutions for dark eye circles.
Dark Shadows: Tips for Getting Rid of Eye Circles
Cause #1: Sleep deprivation
Solution: I know it sounds cliché, but we need our beauty rest. Try listening to ocean sounds at bedtime, or take deep, calming breaths to let go of your day. (I find podcasts at bedtime are better than a sleep aide. I’m out cold after 10 minutes.) Catnaps can help, too. We all go through difficult times when we toss and turn, but sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on our eyes and physical health, especially over long period of time.
Cause #2: Not drinking enough water
Solution: Hydrate. Keep a water bottle on hand at all times (I have one on my desk as I type this.) You can also eat your water because many fruits and veggies contain up to 90 percent water and, thankfully, that counts toward your needed daily intake. Use a moisturizing eye cream to directly hydrate the outer layers of the delicate area under the eyes.
Cause #3: Drinking too much alcohol
Solution: Many of us enjoy the occasional wine and cocktail, but do not hydrate with alcohol! Having one too many can lead to both dark circles and puffy eyes. Try cutting back on your alcohol consumption and see the difference. An added benefit is you might lose some excess pounds and feel better. All-round, a win-win situation!
Cause #4: Allergies
Dark circles are often a combination of pigment making the skin darker and redness from dilated blood vessels. Allergies cause increased redness, and rubbing will further darken and irritate your eyes.
Solution: Try to stay ahead of your allergies. If you know what triggers them, take an allergy medication a week before they start or speak with an allergist if over-the-counter treatments are not doing their job.
Cause #5: Rubbing
Solution: Don’t rub your eyes. Full stop. Whether you’re tired from staring at your monitor all day, suffering from sleep dep, or having an allergy attack, resist the urge to rub out your discomfort. Doing so can create a defensive response in the skin, which leads to thickening, wrinkling, and dark circles. Try gently patting on an eye cream instead.
Cause #6: Vascular Inflammation
Sometimes what looks like dark circles are really the blood vessels under the skin showing through. Rubbing will make it worse.
Solution: Use a firming eye cream or one that reduces inflammation, such as ISDIN K-Ox Eyes. It contains vitamin K and Haloxyl, ingredients that reduce puffiness and inflammation. Products that have white and green tea extracts also work well.
Cause #7: Volume loss
Under-eye hollows create a shadow that can look like dark circles.
Solution: Fillers can be very helpful, but often you need to address the midface before tackling the under-eye area directly, and this is also an area that requires advanced injection techniques by a trained aesthetic physician. One of the most recommended products is Restylane because a little goes a long way toward getting results. Beware that too much filler under the eye displaces the lower eyelid upward and can make your eyes look smaller. Using ingredients such as retinol also help firm the skin.
How about a natural home remedies for dark undereye circles? Check it out.
Cool as a Cucumber
- Brew a pot of strong tea (4 cups) and add 3 tablespoons of honey.
- Let the tea cool to room temperature, add the cucumber slices, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Put one cucumber slice on each closed eye for about 2 minutes.
The honey is an antiseptic and is soothing to the skin, and the cucumber extract is cooling. Put on calming music and relax. You can drink some of the tea you brewed or just plain water. You’ll see a difference in your eyes and skin afterward.
Tea Bags for Eye Bags
- Dip two green, white, or black tea bags in a cup of room-temperature water for 60 seconds. Take them out and squeeze the tea bags.
- Lie down and close your eyes. Place the damp tea bags on your eyes for three to five minutes.
- This can be repeated twice a day as needed.
Placing teabags on our eyes will reduce the swelling due to the natural anti-inflammatory properties in tea. Green tea is the best because it’s the least processed and is high in caffeine and antioxidants.
Jodie Gould is an award-winning writer, frequent contributor to Brazen Woman, and co-author with Doris Day, MD of BEYOND BEAUTIFUL: Using the Power of Your Mind and Aesthetic Breakthroughs to Look Naturally Young and Radiant. Dr. Day is a world-renowned cosmetic dermatologist, lecturer, and author based in New York City. She is a member of the medical board for the Dr. Oz show and host of the syndicated show on SiriusXM 110’s Doctor Radio.