“You look tired today.”
We’ve all been at the receiving end of this comment, and it usually leaves us feeling less than great about ourselves.
Whether we’ve just slept a solid eight hours or not, those dark circles beneath our eyes seem to draw unwanted comments every time. As irritating as it may be, the good news is, there are some simple tips and tricks you can do today to help brighten up those dark under eye circles.
What causes dark under eye circles?
Lack of sleep is the most common, but a number of factors exist that can contribute to those dark circles. Because the skin around our eyes is so thin and delicate, it’s often one of the first areas on our bodies to show signs of wear and tear.
Dark under eye circles can be caused by:
Sleep deprivation stresses our bodies and can drain the color from our skin, which in turn makes our blood vessels look even darker. Lack of sleep can also cause fluid build-up, making eyes puffy and those dark circles even more noticeable. (Learn more: How Much Sleep Do I Need?)
During an allergic reaction, our bodies release histamines as a response to perceived harmful bacteria. As well as causing itchiness, redness and puffy eyes, histamines also dilate our blood vessels, making them more visible beneath our skin and especially our eyes.
Look for signs and symptom of dehydration. Being well hydrated is important for many reasons, and our skin especially needs to be hydrated inside and out. If skin doesn’t have enough water to pull from our skin cells – especially the delicate skin cells around the eyes – it can shrink and look sunken.
- Sun exposure
Sun overexposure can cause an excess production of melanin, the pigment that provides skin color. This can significantly darken the skin around our eyes.
As we age, our skin naturally thins because it’s losing fat and collagen needed to maintain elasticity. As our skin thins, the darker blood vessels beneath become more visible.
Sometimes, dark circles are just hereditary, and we can be genetically predisposed to them. Also, some people just have more pigmentation, or melanin, in their skin.
The Best Tips for Treating and Preventing Dark Under Eye Circles
Try out these tips and tricks today to help treat and prevent dark under eye circles.
Tip #1 Get enough sleep + elevate your head at night
The first and most important treatment or prevention for dark under eye circles is: get enough sleep each night. Try to stick to a consistent routine by going to bed and rising around the same time – even on weekends – to make sure you’re getting a good night’s rest. Elevating your head with some extra pillows will also help prevent fluid from pooling around your eyes as you sleep.
Tip # 2 Apply cold + use natural skin-care remedies
- Cold compress
Cold helps to reduce swelling and shrink dilated blood vessels. So, wrap up some ice cubes inside an organic cotton cloth and gently place it on your eyes for about 5 minutes at a time. Similarly, you can try wetting a cloth and letting it cool in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Apply the chilled cloth to your eyes, let sit for 10 minutes, then pat your eyes dry. This is a great technique for shrinking puffiness and refreshing your eyes before you apply makeup, too!
- Caffeinated tea bags
Caffeine contains powerful antioxidants that can stimulate replenishing blood flow and reduce fluid retention. To begin, steep two caffeinated tea bags for 5 minutes in hot water, then chill them in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Afterward, place the cooled tea bags on your eyes and let them sit for 10 minutes. Finish off by rinsing your eyes with cool water, then pat dry.
Rich in vitamin C and folic acid, cucumbers are known to ‘wake up’ the eyes and get them looking refreshed and alive. Start by slicing up some cucumbers, then chill the slices in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Gently place the cooled slices on your eyes for 10 minutes, rinse with cool water, then pat dry.
Look for moisturizers with natural oils (like almond oil), vitamin K and vitamin E for their natural healing properties. These ingredients help to lock in moisture and restore skin cells, especially the sensitive skin around the eyes.
- Talk to your dermatologist
If those pesky dark circles just won’t go away, try visiting your dermatologist to see what they recommend. They have access to more drastic medical treatments for dark under eye circles, such as chemical peels and laser surgery, which can often disappear even the most resilient discoloration.
The Best Tips for Concealing Dark Under eye Circles
Sometimes a little bit of concealing makeup can go a long way – especially on dark under eye circles.
A Step-by-Step Concealer Guide
Step 1: Shrink the puffiness
Apply a cold compress/cold wet cloth for about 10-20 minutes to help reduce puffiness and create a ‘clean canvas’ for you to apply your concealer.
Step 2: Prime your skin
Our skin naturally produces oil throughout the day, which can cause concealer to melt away. A good primer or even a makeup holding spray will help keep that concealer in place all day.
Step 3: Use color correctors
To better camouflage discoloration, color correctors can work wonders.
- To counteract red hues: use a green corrector
- To neutralize purple hues: use a red or yellow corrector
- To liven up a lack of color: try adding in a touch of purple corrector
Step 4: Use the correct concealer shade
Your under eye concealer should be one shade lighter than your skin tone or foundation. That lighter color will reflect light and work as a natural highlighter to help tired eyes look bright!
Step 5: Apply concealer properly
The trick is to apply concealer properly and in the right order. First apply your color corrector, then your foundation, and lastly, your concealer. To properly apply concealer, use your fingers, a concealer brush or a sponge and dab – don’t rub – your concealer on.
Keep those eyes bright as can be
Even if you’ve had some late night chats with close friends, or worked till the wee hours of the morning, you don’t need to look worn out. With some prevention, some treatment – and maybe even a touch of concealer – your eyes can still shine bright!