Here’s a fun fact that you probably didn’t want to know: According to a recent study conducted by Wakefield Research, around 51 percent of the world’s adult population doesn’t get enough sleep. Yes, you heard that right, more than half of us are not satisfied with our sleep cycles. The main reasons behind this being work pressure, unhealthy eating habits and social media addictions that lead to incessant doom-scrolling in the middle of the night. But that doesn’t come without consequences. An imbalanced sleep cycle can lead to a variety of health-related problems including stress, weakened immunity and even a higher chance of getting diabetes; but there are certain visible signs that show up before anything else and are really hard to get rid of. Dark circles, puffy eyes, and wrinkles come at the top of this list.
While sleep deprivation and fatigue seem like the most logical explanation for these skin conditions, there are a number of factors that can contribute to inflammation under the eyes. Genetics, prolonged sun exposure, advancing age, and dehydration to name a few. Now coming to the treatment, well, that depends on the underlying cause. But the good news is that there are certain tried and tested methods that can significantly improve the quality of the skin under your eyes. Let’s have a look at them.
Use a refreshing cold compress
Sometimes dilated blood vessels can darken the area under your eyes and the easiest way to solve this is by using a cold compress. It causes the blood vessels to constrict, resulting in reduced dark circles. According to Dr Kiran Sethi, MD, Integrative Aesthetic and Skin Specialist, Founder, Isya Aesthetics, New Delhi, an ice cube facial is great for toning and calming the skin and should be done every day for a few minutes. But make sure that you wrap the ice in a soft cotton cloth before applying it to your under-eye area. Another easy alternative is freezing soaked tea bags and letting them rest under your eyes every morning. The caffeine and antioxidants in tea work wonders for puffy eyes.
Limit your sugar and salt intake
Too much sugar is not only bad for your overall health but also accelerates the skin’s ageing process. According to research by Dr H P Nguyen, Department of Dermatology, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas, USA, sugar in your body sets off a process called glycation, and advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are harmful for your skin. They break down the collagen in your body, increase the appearance of wrinkles and, over time, can make you look older. While on the other hand, eating too much salt can cause additional fluid retention in your body and excess fluids can show up in the form of under-eye bags. An easy solution to both of these problems is to limit processed food and load up on antioxidant-rich fresh fruits and vegetables instead.
Retinol-based under eye cream is a must
When it comes to reducing visible signs of ageing like wrinkles and under-eye bags, using a retinol-based serum or eye cream is the most effective treatment. “Retinol is a Vitamin-A derivative and works by forcing surface skin cells to shed off and making newer cells rise to the surface. It also increases collagen synthesis, which ultimately reduces the appearance of fine lines around your eyes,” says Dr Sethi. If you’re new to retinol, start twice a week and then slowly make it a part of your everyday PM routine. Make sure that you never use it during the daytime as the sun can render it useless.
Try a Vitamin-K serum
You’re probably more familiar with Vitamins-A, C, and E, but if you work your way further down the alphabet, there’s another vitamin that claims to be a skincare elixir, particularly for the under-eye area. We’re talking about Vitamin-K—an anti-inflammatory active that is possibly the best topical treatment for treating blood clots, and as it turns out, minimising the appearance of dark circles. According to research by Dr Fatemeh Ahmadraji, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Iran, a mixture of Vitamin-K and caffeine proved to be a powerful treatment against dark circles and wrinkles. It becomes even more powerful when used in conjunction with your retinol eye cream.
Never forget your sunscreen
Sunscreen truly is the solution for almost every skin-related problem and your under-eye area is no stranger to this rule. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, prolonged sun exposure can increase melanin levels in your skin, leading to dark circles. The skin under your eyes is extremely sensitive, hence it’s more prone to hyperpigmentation. Which is why you should make it a habit to put on a broad range sunscreen every single time you step out of the house. It doesn’t matter if it’s bright and sunny or raining cats and dogs—SPF is vital.