Why do I have puffy eyes and dark circles? This is probably one of the most common questions I get, so I thought I wanted to share a bit about why it appears and how to minimize the appearence. When people ask me what they can do to minimize their dark circles, I most of the time ask if they get enough sleep and if they drink enough water. Why I ask these questions is because lack of sleep and stored toxins are conditions that tends to make the appearence of dark circles worse, but the root cause is actually more complexed.
The truth is that the root cause is your genes. But let me explain what exactly happens when you get dark circles under or around your eyes. Dark circles are a result of the thin layer of skin below your eyes showing the blood vessels and the blood inside, which tend to reflect dark blueish, greenish, brownish colors. The skin around your eyelids, also called periorbital skin, is on average 0,5 mm thick and compared to your skin on the rest of your body which is on average around 2 mm, this is quite thin and some people have it thinner than others depening on your genes. The dark, bluish, greenish brownish circles, depending on your skin tone, are usually the result of light being reflected back from the blood vessels that lies just below the surface of the thin skin.
With age our skin loses its elasticity and ability to regenerate and as a result the skin becomes even thinner and the bloodvessels tends to show even more. However, there are of course different factors that can worsen the appearence of dark circles;
1. Periorbital hyperpigmentation, which is basically a condition that results in more melanin production, in this case, under the eyes. Melanin is a dark brown to black pigment occurring in the skin. This condition is more noticeable on darker skin than fairer skin, sadly. This is really hard to work on, but using SPF around the eye area can reduce and minimize the risk of producing even more melanin and therefore also reduce the risk of dark circles.
2. Oxidisation of blood leaking from the periorbital blood vessels, which is just a fancier way of saying that the blood vessels around your eyes can get damaged, blood leaks out, and you're left with puffy dark circles under your eyes. It is a harmless problem and can be treated by changes in lifestyle and diet.
3. Swelling and puffiness referred to as periorbital puffiness, is a problem that goes hand-in-hand with dark circles also called bags under your eyes. It can be caused by fluid buildup (edema) below the eyes, either due to illness, allergies or excessive salt consumption which can result in the body retaining more fluid than usual. This can cause increased pressure on the blood vessels around the eyes and force it closer to the skin, resulting in dark circles to appear more prominent. Eye puffiness can also simply be a result of old age, because the tissues and muscles around your eyes weakens with age and leaves "bags".
4. Lack of sleep and energy. When we do not get enough sleep and the body is tired, production of the adrenalin chemical cortisol is dramatically increased to help give you the energy you need to stay awake. Cortisol actually increases the volume of the blood in your body, which causes the blood vessels, including the ones below your eyes, to enlarge to accommodate the volume of blood. As mentioned dark circles are mostly caused by blood vessels that are very visible through the skin, so it makes sense when blood vessels are being enlarged, they are naturally easier to see, even in people who may have been blessed with thicker skin below their eyes. So a good night sleep is actually very important when it comes to minimizing the appearance of the dark circles.
5. From a Chinese medicine perspective, the kidneys are connected to the adrenal glands and the overall endocrine system. Therefore, kidney imbalances due to for example lack of sleep, chronic stress and/or poor diet can result in Kidney Qi Deficiency, which can include fatigue or adrenal exhaustion often resulting in dark circles under the eyes.
6. Lack of iron in the diet. Insufficient levels of this nutrient cause the skin to look pale and dark circles looking darker. It also result in poor oxygenation of bodily tissues which is most visible under the eyes. Your doctor can check your iron levels and consider supplementing with vitamin C to help with iron absorption. Women tend to be more in lack of iron than men because of the loss of iron-rich blood during the monthly menstrual cycle. The richest sources of iron are dark green and leafy vegetables. Incorporate kale, spinach or chard, egg yolks, beans, chickpeas and lentils into your diet.
7. Lack of water intake influence on dark circles. Why? Because water helps flush out the toxins from your system and thereby reducing the amount of salt concentration in and around the eye area. So drinking enough water is important to also minimize the dark circles and flush away the toxins.
8. By eating a lot of vitamin K, namely found in; broccoli, brussels sprouts, green leafy vegetables, and spinach, you make a better blood coagulation and circulation of your blood and since poor circulation can increase the appearance of dark circles, consuming enough K-friendly foods may lighten the circles under your eyes.
To minimize the dark circles with skin care I here suggest you some few remedies - remember using these remedies only once will not help, you will need to be persistant;
1. Almond oil lightens and moisturizes skin. It has a rich amount of vitamin K and other antioxidants which relieves puffy eyes and contracts dilated blood vessels. Gently massage the oil under the eye area for 3-4 minutes every night and sleep with the almond oil. Continue doing so until you see results.
2. Raw potato. Potatoes are natural bleaching agents which lighten dark circles and prevent puffiness. Simply grate 1-2 chilled potatoes to extract its juice and apply the juice to the eye area and leave for 10-15 mins. You can also apply two sliced potatoes and apply the potato directly on the eyes. Continue until you see results.
3. Mint leaves have a cooling effect and contains antibacterial, anti-microbial, and antiseptic properties that constrict blood vessels and clear dark circles. Simply just apply crushed mint leaves under the eyes for 10-15 minutes. You can with good reason also mix the mint leaves with the almond oil.
I will share more recipies on how to minimize dark circles on my Facebook Page Rawism.
I hope you enjoyed the reading and remember to share with people you care about and who may suffer from this condition.