Do you wake up in the morning with tired looking eyes despite getting eight hours of rejuvenating sleep? If so, join the club of millions of women who list dark circles and under eye puffiness as a major aesthetic concern. Unfortunately, there are myriad reasons for why your eyes give the impression you pulled an all-nighter, and lack of sleep is only one of them. Nail down the causes of tired eyes and learn how to combat them from every angle! Here’s the deal:
Dark Circles and Under Eye Bags
Periorbital hyperpigmentation, commonly referred to as dark circles, and under eye puffiness are fairly common complaints that many individuals face on a daily basis. A number of environmental, physical and hereditary factors play a role in the development of these two aesthetic concerns. These may include (but are not limited to) the following:
• Thin skin (allows veins to show through as blue circles can worsen with age, as you lose some of the fat and collagen around your eyes)
• Sun exposure
• Cigarette smoking
• Rubbing of the eyes/eye area
• Fluid Retention
• Natural aging process
Some simple lifestyle changes can drastically improve dark circles and puffiness and help prevent it from escalating further. Be sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily with an SPF of 30 or higher and protect your face from the sun with a wide brim hat or by opting for shaded areas. Abstaining from smoking and limiting alcohol intake also promotes brighter, more youthful looking eyes. Alcohol and smoking are infamous for dehydrating the entire body from the inside out. This process sucks water from the skin and weakens the eye area, resulting in a sunken look that instantly ages the face.
Evaluate your diet to monitor your salt intake. Salt is the number one cause of fluid retention, not only around the eyes, but the entire body. Removing or reducing sodium from your diet will decrease under-eye puffiness. Replace that salt with water intake to maintain healthy hydration levels throughout the day.
Allergy season can cause puffy, watery eyes for weeks on end. If you suspect you have allergies, make that appointment to find out exactly what you’re allergic to and your doctor can help create a treatment plan for your symptoms. Over the counter medications can also help alleviate symptoms temporarily, but it’s best to get evaluated by a professional.
Although sleep is not the only culprit, it’s something to consider. Not getting enough shut-eye causes blood vessels to expand, creating dark shadows beneath the eyes. Sleep deprivation also worsens fluid retention and contributes to puffiness. Aim to get anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
As time goes on, the tissue and muscle support around the eyes begins to deteriorate, allowing fat to migrate to the under-eye area. Also, collagen production slows down and the skin begins to lose elasticity. All of these factors create a sagging or padded look.
Although making adjustments in your lifestyle is key to any anti-aging strategy, incorporating aesthetic treatments and medical skincare products can significantly augment your efforts. Four that you should consider implement are:
Investing in a high-quality eye cream with the right active ingredients can make all the difference. Actives to be on the lookout for are caffeine to help minimize puffiness, vitamin K to help diminish dark circles and antioxidants to improve lines, wrinkles and brightness.
Rebecca Kazin, M.D., a dermatologist at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, D.C. suggests PCA Skin Ideal Complex Restorative Eye Cream. Hydration is one eye element that almost all eye creams offer, but this one contains niacinamide, various bark extracts and orange stem cell extract to treat not only dark circles, but puffiness, fine lines, and sagging skin.
Dermal fillers: Injectable treatments such as Restylane utilize hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring sugar in the body, to add volume around the eye. This makes the eye more reflective, resulting in a brighter appearance. This treatment really hits a home run when battling hollowness around the eyes. Restoring the lost volume not only improves hollowness, but also can improve the dark shadowed look that often accompanies hollowness by sitting on top in the tear trough region.
Botox/Dysport: Botox or Dysport can tighten up the skin around the eyes and open the eye for a more rejuvenated look. This treatment restricts repeated muscle movement around the eyes, which treats the lines and wrinkles that have already developed and prevents new ones from forming in the future.
Laser treatments: Laser treatments such as Intense Pulse Light (IPL) and eMatrix also help ease under-eye discoloration caused by hyperpigmentation, stimulate collagen and enhance skin tone and texture. IPL targets red and brown spots, while the eMatrix focuses on mild to moderate fine line and wrinkles, scaring and any skin irregularities.