Dark eye circles are a beauty bane for many of us — who doesn’t want to embody the ‘bright-eyed and bushy-tailed’ ideal in real life, without the desperate help of photo-editing tools or Instagram filters?
How many of us have sought the help of pricey eye creams and serums (some costing hundreds of dollars), as well as a myriad of concealers and colour correctors in all sorts of textures and shades, just to help us fake the look a night of restful sleep brings?
Causes of Those Dreaded Orbs
Dark eye circles, or periorbital dark circles, can be a result of many reasons, some of which have nothing to do with lack of sleep or quality sleep. Short of railing at the skies for the genetics you have been (not-so) blessed with, here are some common reasons you could be sporting those shiners:
1. Age or Genetics
It seems that there isn’t much you can do about either of these two, so let’s get them out of the way first. As we age, our skin becomes thinner; this is bad news, since the skin under our eyes is thinner than the rest of the body to begin with. Coupled with reduced collagen and elasticity, the blood vessels under the eyes become more conspicuous. Genetics, on the other hand, either predisposes you to the appearance of under-eye circles called periorbital hyperpigmentation, or medical conditions that lead to their formation, like thyroid disease or iron-deficiency anaemia.
Allergies, like eczema, can cause your eyes or skin (or both) to itch. The release of histamines as an allergic response can cause blood vessels under the eyes to dilate, making them more visible under the periorbital skin. When you rub your eyes, this can cause broken blood capillaries, worsening your dark eye circles.
3. Health Conditions
Dark eye circles can be a manifestation of liver disease, thyroid disease, iron-deficiency anaemia or even nutritional deficiencies.
4. Eye Strain & Fatigue
This is the most commonly cited cause of dark eye circles. Lack of sleep or quality sleep can cause your skin to look paler, highlighting the blues and blacks of blood vessels under your eyes. Eye strain caused by long hours of staring at the computer screen or television can also dilate under-eye blood vessels.
5. Sun Exposure & Dehydration
Overexposure to the sun can stimulate production of melanin in excess in both the epidermis and dermis layers, causing the skin around the eyes to either look browner or more blue-grey. Either way, this isn’t good news. Dehydration can exacerbate the look of dark eye circles due to the periorbital skin being close to the bone underneath, so be sure to drink up your 8–10 glasses of water daily, and compensate for every glass of caffeinated beverage with an extra glass of water.
Try an Aloe Vera Eye Mask
Even aesthetic clinics, beauty parlours and therapists make use of masks containing beneficial ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, lemon extract and dandelion in their dark eye circle treatments.
Aloe vera is known for its skin-soothing properties, as it helps to alleviate skin inflammations, improve itchiness and redness, while aiding the rate of skin healing. Aloe vera also increases cell turnover rate, and when used together with a well-known skin-lightening ingredient like lemon juice, is effective in lightening blemishes, scars, age spots and freckles. Aloe vera has long been used to treat chronic skin conditions such as eczema, acne and psoriasis.
Chamomile contains many amazing skin benefits as it has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Also, it is hypoallergenic and helps to reduce skin irritation by neutralising free radicals. Chamomile is also a natural skin-lightening ingredient, and helps to soothe skin burns and irritations.
Lemon has a high antioxidant content, and has been a known remedy for brightening the skin, lightening scars and blemishes, and getting rid of dead skin cells effectively. Thanks to its citric acid content, it has been highly regarded as a skin-bleaching agent in many cosmeceutical preparations. However, since the pH of lemon is very low, its use should be in moderation, to avoid the possibility of skin irritation.
Dandelion is rich in powerful antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E, which protect skin against damage by free radicals and slow down ageing by improving the appearance of dark spots and boosting production of collagen. It also helps to purify and detoxify skin with its anti-inflammatory properties.
Other Ingredients, Other Eye Masks
Eye masks come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and ingredients. We will be further exploring other effective eye mask treatments for dark eye circles, and the power ingredients they are made of. For example, did you know that seaweed extract or algae can help brighten your eyes? Plus, did you know ingredients like propolis, ivy extract and lavender can make the difference between dull, lifeless eyes and sparkling peepers?
Keep your eyes peeled for more information to help you get those well-rested eyes, coming your way soon.