Dark circles and bags under the eyes can have you reaching for cucumber slices and concealer in desperate attempts to cover them up. After all, no one wants to hear those three unwelcome words: “You look tired.”
But don’t resign yourself to that tired look just yet. There are ways to combat dark circles and puffiness, so you can get back to being bright-eyed.
Where Do They Come From?
Puffy eyes and dark circles might come out of nowhere – or they might build slowly over time. And it can be hard to decipher exactly why they’re occurring. You see, puffy eyes and dark circles can be caused by a pretty wide variety of factors, so figuring out why you’re experiencing them may take a bit of detective work.
Here are some common causes to keep in mind:
- Genetic predisposition
- Lack of skin elasticity
- Irritation, which can be the result of your skin reacting to environmental irritants.1
- Aging: As you age, collagen production slows down. This makes skin thinner, which, in turn, makes the blood vessels underneath the skin more noticeable.2
- Lifestyle factors, like a high-salt diet, a lack of sleep, stress, alcohol intake, and smoking may all contribute to dark circles and puffy eyes.3
What Can Be Done?
Now that you know what factors might be playing into your dark circles and puffy eyes, you can take a multi-front approach to help eradicate them.
1. Use a Caffeinated Eye Cream
A poor night’s sleep might have you reaching for a cup of caffeinated coffee, but it should also have you reaching for a caffeinated eye cream.
When applied topically, caffeine works to help diminish lower eyelid swelling and darkness that can be caused by leaky blood vessels.4 Why? Caffeine is known to constrict blood vessels, which can help make their appearance under the skinless apparent.5
2. Work Peptides Into Your Routine
As you age, collagen production naturally slows down, resulting in significantly thinner skin.6 And as your skin thins, underlying blood vessels become more visible, leading to those characteristic dark circles.
A great way to counteract this process is by encouraging collagen production with “peptides.” Peptides are short chains of amino acids that are necessary for your body to form collagen, so an eye cream containing peptides may help firm and tighten the skin around the eyes.7,8
You can also try a dietary supplement that boosts collagen. Studies have shown that collagen supplements help stimulate your body’s collagen production, which can result in more youthful, plump skin.9
3. Avoid Salty Foods
It’s a well-known fact that salty foods lead to water retention.10 But did you know that you can even retain this water around your eyes?11 That’s why you sometimes wake up in the morning after a particularly salty dinner to find yourself with those pesky bags.
To avoid puffiness, reduce your intake of salty foods. Chips, soy sauce, pizza, and cured meats are all big culprits to avoid if you’re watching your sodium intake.
4. Relax With Cucumber Slices
There’s scientific evidence for the age-old trick of putting cucumber slices on your eyes. You see, cucumbers are a great source of vitamin C – a close ally in the fight against dark circles.
Vitamin C does several things:
- It encourages collagen production.12
- It helps thicken the skin under the eyes.13
- It helps brighten hyperpigmentation caused by UV exposure.14
Of course, it’s not a bad idea to incorporate foods rich in vitamin C into your diet, too. Try broccoli, kale, oranges, and strawberries to help keep skin firm and bright.
5. Protect Your Skin From The Sun
UV rays can cause sunspots and collagen breakdown.15 And the skin around your eyes is not immune to these damaging effects from the sun.16 Collagen breakdown and sunspots can both contribute to the appearance of darkness around the eyes.
To keep the skin around your eyes protected, apply sunscreen daily. And give the skin around your eyes an extra dose of protection by wearing sunglasses. Who said getting rid of those dark circles couldn’t be glamorous?
6. Use Makeup To Your Advantage
Makeup is probably one of the first things you think of when you think of trying to hide those dark circles. Just a few tweaks to your application can make a big difference.
Here are a few tricks to try:
- Apply concealer only in the crease of the bag under your eye – not to the bag itself. Applying it to the bag will only highlight puffiness.
- Apply concealer in a triangle shape, instead of a half-moon. Dot the concealer from the inner eye down to the outside of your nostril, and diagonally up to the outer corner of your eye. Use a few more dots to fill in the triangle and blend.
- Use a cream or concealer with light-reflecting particles to diffuse light and draw attention away from any shadows.
Banish Those Bags!
With these tips and tricks, you can bid adieu to puffiness and dark circles. Here’s to a bright, well-rested look in your future.
How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Skin
Am I Drinking Enough Water for Glowing Skin? (your hydration guide)
How Does Collagen Create Younger-Looking Skin?