Life is busy for everyone in different ways. Whether your days are filled with studying, parenting, climbing the career ladder or simply living your best life, days can get long and it can catch up to you. One of the sure signs of exhaustion and stress is when you wake up to find those dreaded dark circles, puffiness and fine lines around your eyes.
Why does this happen? Some people are more predisposed to these changes than others. To learn more about the cause of your dark circles, try the pinch test: Pinch the skin gently around the eyes and lift it off the surface; if the skin stays brown it's likely a pigmentation issue, whereas if it looks better, it's likely caused by dilated veins.
People with richer skin tones are predisposed to hyperpigmentation under the eyes as a genetic trait, explains Dr. Wendy Lee, an oculoplastic and reconstructive surgeon. Environmental factors, like poor sleep and sun exposure, can also contribute to dark circles. As well, seasonal allergies or illnesses like colds can cause dilated veins which show beneath the thin eyelid skin.
"The skin around the eyes is unique because it is amongst the thinnest of all the skin on the body. In fact, it's ten times thinner than many other skin areas," said Lee. "That's why it's important to prioritize a routine that helps keep your delicate eye area refreshed and revitalized, no matter your personal reason for experiencing dark circles and puffiness."
To help everyone look their best, NYC board certified dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner shares these tips for helping achieve bright, refreshed eyes:
1. Eye cream
Eye creams are formulated for the delicate skin around the eyes and should be used daily. However, with so many on the market, it can be difficult to know which live up to the hype and won't cause irritation.
Using a good eye cream at least once a day is essential, but to maximize benefits it's important to apply it the correct way. Zeichner suggests following these steps:
* After cleansing, squeeze a pea-size amount of eye cream onto your middle or ring finger - these fingers are weaker than your pointer finger, which can help to avoid harsh pressure on this delicate area
* Distribute cream by gently tapping small dots under your eyes, starting with the inner corner.
* Work product outward and upward by tapping, being cautious to never tug skin or rub too hard.
* Wait a few minutes for product to absorb.
2. Chill out
By reducing stress and prioritizing 7-9 hours of sleep a night, you help your body rest and refresh. This has a big impact on how your eyes appear, not to mention how you feel overall. Plus, your skin makes new collagen when you sleep, so big bonus for looking your best - the more sleep, the more collagen!
You can also chill out more literally by using cool temperatures to soothe swelling and restrict blood vessels. You can do this in a variety of ways, including using a cold compress, a wet washrag, the backside of chilled spoons or special beauty tools like cryo-facial wands. Apply for a few minutes and see the difference.
3. Health check
To help reduce or eliminate dark circles, fine lines and puffiness around eyes, take time to look at your health habits. Getting enough sleep is only the beginning to help you look your best. Do you wear sunscreen every day? Drink plenty of water? Avoid smoking and being around others who are smoking?
What you eat also impacts puffiness and pesky dark circles. Eating too much sodium can cause water retention and puffiness, so watch your salt intake. Alternatively, foods packed with nutrients, like fresh produce, can have a positive impact. For example, tomatoes, apricots, melons, papayas and grapes are some foods high in lycopene, which can boost circulation.
"Effectively treating puffiness and dark circles doesn't have to be complicated," said Zeichner. "A few simple steps and mindful changes can help you look your best so you can be your best." - BPT