A question we get asked often is: How do you treat dark circles under the eyes?
A common misconception is that dark circles under the eyes occur only when we aren’t getting adequate sleep, but there are many other factors that can contribute to darkening of the skin in this delicate area. While dark circles themselves aren’t a huge cause for medical concern, they can be an indicator of a few habits that can be addressed through lifestyle.
Why do dark circles happen under the eyes?
As we age, or have lifestyle and habit changes, because the skin is thin around the eye area, it can be one of the first areas you notice a change. The skin around our eye area is super delicate and thinner than the rest of the skin on our bodies - less than one millimeter thick. The eyelids and area around our eyes protect the eye itself. The upper eyelid begins at the brow and the lower lid extends under the eye joining the cheeks with loose muscles attached to help us blink and create facial expressions. This area has less sebaceous glands and doesn’t have fatty tissues compared to the rest of our facial skin.
Aging and losing sleep tend to be the most common reason you might be seeing dark circles around your eyes. With aging, collagen and fat decreases in the skin which helps to maintain skin's plumpness and elasticity, and causes dark blood vessels to become more visible. Other habits like rubbing your eyes or straining of the eyes can cause darkening of the skin as well. Fatigue is another large factor when you might see dark eye circles, as losing sleep or oversleeping can cause your skin to become pale and dull and just like aging, can cause the blood vessels to become more visible in this thin area. Additionally, losing sleep can cause buildup in the fluid under your eyes creating puffiness. Allergies can also be a cause of darkening of the skin and puffy eyes.
A few other things can also cause dark circles: dehydration, eye strain from screens, over exposure in the sun, smoking and drinking alcohol, or even your genetics. Most of the time, darkening of the eye area isn’t usually a sign of a medical issue, however, if you’re noticing it getting worse over time, it might be a good idea to speak with your health practitioner or a dermatologist.
How to lessen dark eye circles
Use our Kale Mask mixed with equal parts Essential Enzymes to help treat the under eye area for dark circles. You can do this treatment up to two times weekly.
When we see clients with dark circles under their eyes in the treatment room, we instantly think of kale as an herbal ally! Kale is an incredible soother for this delicate area and contains vitamins A, K1, B6, and manganese which all help to repair damaged cells, mitigate bruising and dark circles, and are important for helping our skin’s everyday health. Kale also contains the amino acid tryptophan (the same amino acid that’s in turkey known for making you sleepy at Thanksgiving dinner!), which aids in producing serotonin and helps produce melatonin which helps you sleep. Eating foods rich in tryptophan (like milk, turkey, chicken, and more) can also help you get a good night’s rest.
The beauty industry often tells us we need eye creams, and while we do need hydration in this area, less is more and using your favorite moisturizer can be enough. If you have eye sensitivities, we suggest avoiding products with fragrances, scents, or essential oils in this delicate area.
To help plump and hydrate the area under your eyes, apply Eye Cream using the ring finger (the untrained finger, not putting pressure on the eye area) to gently pat the cream into your skin. This nourishing cream brightens and evens out the sensitive skin around your eyes. We formulate our Eye Cream with a base of hyaluronic acid to smooth and hydrate. Peptides work to reduce inflammation and dark circles while a blend of saccharides keeps this delicate area supple. This cream is also free of essential oils.
Lymphatic massage is a great and easy modality you can use to help with puffiness of the eyes. Using featherweight light pressure in this area helps move stagnant fluid and de-puff the eyes. Just a gentle touch can help to relieve stress from this area. See massage tips from our spa partner Allyson of Tend and Nourish Skin Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA here.
Another great treatment for the eyes is using our Eye Pillow warmed up or kept cool to provide comfort and relief to soothe puffy eyes. It’s lightweight and has a blend of lavender, green tea, and yarrow especially crafted to soothe and calm the senses. The gentle weight of the pillow which is filled with buckwheat, provides just the right amount of pressure to ease tension and promote relaxation in this delicate area. If you don’t have an eye pillow, warm green tea or chamomile bags can also soothe puffiness and inflammation.
Be careful with doing too much in this area as you don’t want to cause more inflammation if you’re already dealing with sore, itchy, irritated eyes.
We all love a quick remedy, but if you’re able to stay hydrated, get good quality sleep, and avoid blue light and screens before bed, it’ll help your eyes in the long run!