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An Open Letter To Dark Eye Circles

Dear Dark Eye Circles,

I still vividly remember the day we first met — your shy appearance when you peeked at me from the corner of my under-eyes. I didn’t give much thought to you as your meek behaviour led me to believe you would soon be gone. How unbelievably wrong I was, when you made your presence known through even the most generous layers of under-eye concealer, similar to how a lighthouse shone like a bright beacon of hope for flailing ships in the storms.

But I kept up my naivety, even as you kept me company throughout my daily life. I laughed off your presence in my daily conversations with people, who expressed their concerns about your dominance over my eyes. I plied you with eye creams, eye gels and eye masks in an attempt to remove you from my life. But alas, your determination is admirable.

I racked my brains, thinking how I could have possibly invited you into my life. Here are some factors I found from my research:


Was It Genetics?

People who produce an abundance of melanin especially around the eyes, due to hereditary woes, are subjected to chronic dark eye circles. This is especially true for people with darker complexions as they have more pigment in their skin. Thus, their dark eye circles are more prominent.


Could it be Allergic Reactions?

Excessive pigmentation caused by inflammation in the skin around the eye area can be a result of allergic reactions. By rubbing or scratching the skin around the eyes, the inflammation is worsened and dark eye circles appear.


What about an Erratic Sleep Cycle?

Lack of sleep, too much sleep or a whacked sleep schedule can invite dark eye circles to seek permanent residence around the eye areas. This causes the skin to become dull and pale and blood vessels underneath the eyes to dilate, creating a dark tint that is visible through the thin skin.


Perhaps it is due to Aging

Our skin becomes thinner with age. In order to maintain skin elasticity, fat and collagen are required, which tend to disappear due to aging. When this occurs, the dark blood vessels underneath the eye area become more visible, darkening the under-eyes.


How about Lifestyle Habits?

Smoking, drinking alcohol and caffeine intake — these can all take a toll on the skin. They dehydrate the skin, causing discolouration underneath the eyes to become more visible. Smoking breaks down collagen in the body, which is required to maintain skin elasticity. Also, nocturnal nicotine withdrawal symptoms may disrupt sleep patterns.


What about Dietary Habits?

On top of environmental and hereditary factors, diet can significantly affect dark eye circles. Lack of iron in the diet leads to anaemia, which leads to dark discolouration under the eyes. Too much salt in the diet results in puffiness, as well as discolouration in the undereye area. Insufficient water intake causes dehydration, which slows down the body circulation. Over time, the blood vessels under the eye area become enlarged and look darker.


What are the Available Remedies?

For every problem, there is always a solution. While there is no permanent cure, there are ways to mitigate this problem. Since I am unable to permanently banish them from my life, I need to make dark circles less noticeable.These are tips I have gleaned that you can also benefit from:

1. Sleep to Look Pretty

It’s not called ‘beauty sleep’ without a good reason! Establish a routine bedtime and stick to it. Achieving seven to nine hours of quality sleep can significantly impact the body’s overall health. Bodies recharge during sleep — healing and restoring tissues and eliminating toxins accumulated during the day.

Quick tips to ensure an optimal night’s rest:

  • Avoid using mobile gadgets or watching television at least 30 minutes before sleep as these activities mentally stimulate the brain cells.
  • Create a conducive environment for a restful sleep. This means using earplugs if you live in a noisy area, opaque curtains to ensure your room is dark, and plush mattress and pillows for a comfortable sleep.

2. Drink Up

The key to countering dehydration is — no surprise there — hydration. Make sure to drink plenty of water. As the skin around the eyes is more delicate and thinner than other parts of the body, dehydration will cause the dark eye circles to be even more prominent. Drinking sufficient water will ensure the skin will look plump and firm.

3. Keep Out of the Sun

Excessive sun exposure triggers melanin overproduction, leading to darker pigmentation under the eyes. To counter that, minimise time spent out in the sun. Wear protective attire like a sun hat or shades to protect the eyes.

4. Affordable DIY Home Fixes

Tea bags and cucumbers are common household items and easily obtainable. Chill sliced cucumbers or tea bags in the fridge before placing them on your eyelids. The chilled cucumber slices or tea bags work to reduce swelling, ease puffiness and discourage accumulation of fluids under the eye areas.


The Bottom Line

Dear Dark Eye Circles, although I appreciate your devotion in staying with me, having you under my eyes suggests that I constantly ‘look tired’ and ‘exhausted’. Having a pair of fresh-looking eyes does more wonders to my overall complexion than rocking a pair of panda eyes. I bid you farewell and hope to never see you again.

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