WHAT ARE DARK CIRCLES?
Whether you’re a giant panda or a human with dark patches under your eyes, we think you’re a magnificent expression of life on earth. But we know dark circles can be more of a worry for us humans than the pandas. Skin under our eyes has a fun name, a bit like a pop band – ‘periorbital skin’– and it’s a quarter of the thickness of the skin on the rest of our face. So, skin there can appear darker because the blood vessels underneath are more easy to see. Clever skin cells called melanocytes produce a dark brown pigment called melanin which absorbs and scatters the sun’s UV rays to protect skin cells. This is called hyperpigmentation and can appear below our eyes and be responsible for darker patches too. All fairly harmless, but we can minimise the appearance of them with some naturally inspired products and lifestyle ideas.
WHAT ARE EYE BAGS?
Eye bags are a little different to dark circles, they’re more like puffy little eye pillows resting under your eyes. Some might say a sign of wisdom – a natural part of ageing or thanks to your parents’ DNA gift to you. In some cases they have a fancy name – ‘subluxation’, which is the movement of fatty tissue from under the eye to in front of it. Or we get puffy eyes which scientists refer to as ‘edema’ or swelling due to water accumulation. This type of eye bag is more down to what you’re doing. Possibly caused by burning the midnight oil, or overdoing the salty meals in the evening, such as french fries. Yep, here comes the eat your veg and drink lots of water lecture again! You know it makes sense.
WHAT CAUSES DARK CIRCLES AND EYE BAGS?
So the main gist is that panda or puffy eyes are different, but they can be caused by the same thing too. Let’s unpack that. Generally speaking, if you have either, you might just have genes that predetermine you to have either more pigmented skin around the eyes or fatty tissue that heads for your under-eye area as you age. Or perhaps your body is made so it’s more inclined to retain water under your peepers. But equally, there are things you can do to make both less likely. We may sound like a scratched record, we know – get your 8-hour nightly zzz’s in, drink lots of water and eat fresh veggies. Let’s have a look at these things in a little more detail.
LACK OF SLEEP
Too little or irregular sleep can be a cause of both the appearance of dark circles and eye bags. That’s because when we don't spend enough time in the land of nod we can wake up with paler skin which makes blood capillaries under the eyes more visible. And when we’re tired, blood circulation tends to slow and fluid builds up under our eyes, making our eye bags more pronounced and darker. So get a regular bedtime routine where you’re in bed well before midnight with all your gadgets turned off to avoid distractions.
Funny to think that for everything we are, we are 60% of the stuff that comes out of taps – i.e. water. But that’s the way it is, our body is a little reservoir with all kinds of amazing things going on in there. But if our internal reservoir starts to get low on reserves and dehydration sets in, then our amazing body decides to try to hang on to some of that precious H20, and that’s called water retention, and it can mean those eye bags are somewhat inflated. So, if you’ve heard it once, we know you’ve heard it a million times, but get two litres or about 10 medium sized glasses of water in that beautiful body reservoir each day.
NOT PROTECTING YOUR SKIN FROM THE SUN
‘Jeeper creepers, where did you get those peepers’, is not something you want to be singing to yourself when you look in the mirror because you didn’t protect those beautiful eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. Because the skin around our eyes is thinner than elsewhere we need to be vigilant with our SPF. When skin is trying to protect itself from the sun it produces a dark pigment called melanin and this can disperse unevenly and create the appearance of dark circles. To avoid another lecture, make sure you top up with a high SPF before you leave home.
We think the ageing process is something to be celebrated. Wisdom says the only thing in life that is certain is change, and we love how more time on earth develops our character and a uniquely experienced point of view. So, sometimes eye bags are just that awe-inspiring sign of your wisdom and inner strength – simply gravity doing its thing as we lose collagen as we get older. This means sometimes with age come wise owl dark-circles as the skin thins or eye bags form as the skin’s tissues adapt to time spent on earth. We say, go with it, you are more powerful and beautiful than you know.
Do you have a salty or sweet tooth? Salt is a vital part of our diet but modern meals tend to contain way more salt than we need. If we have too much salt our interior fresh water reservoir turns into a salty sea and our body goes into its panic water retention mode, which can result in eye bags. Check the salt content on all your salty snacks and ready meals if you’re worried about eye bags. As a ballpark, a healthy adult's daily intake of salt should be about 1500mg and that’s equal to just under three-quarters of a teaspoon. And one more time, load up on fresh veggies and whole foods to help keep water retention at bay.
For lots of us springtime means parks, trees and flowery romance, but for as many of us it signals the start of allergy season. It’s jeepers creepers time for eye bags and dark circles as pollen and pollutants trigger the body's response to these pesky irritants. Our body releases histamine causing blood vessels around the eyes to swell and herald the arrival of darker and swollen areas. And then comes the itch and the unbearable need to rub our eyes – catch-22 of course, making them redder and more swollen. We’d advise if you’re stuck in this horror cycle to talk to your doctor. One thing you can do, which eyes always thank us for is make sure you take makeup off before bed. A little bit of kindness always goes a long way.
We’re hoping you already know this – smoking is a rubbish idea for your body and your health. Fact. But if you need any more encouragement and you’re worried about dark circles or eye bags then it’s even more of a no-no. Smoking is a real dehydrator for skin and depletes your body of important reserves of vitamin C. And this is the beauty that helps create collagen, that clever stuff that plumps up our skin and gives us a youthful glow. As collagen disappears, our eye skin gets thinner and those dark circles and eye bags can give you a real fright. We say, quit smoking for your skin and all round awesomeness.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP REDUCE THE APPEARANCE OF DARK CIRCLES?
Let’s look at how we can help you reduce the appearance of dark circles and eye bags. Most of us love a routine to give our lives and brains some structure and to minimise stress. Our body is no different – it likes consistency. So things like going to bed at the same time each night and camping down for a good 8 hours are some of its favourite things. Here are some tips to incorporate into your regular face routine to ready your eye area for bed, then welcome them back into the land of the waking in the morning.
REMOVE EYE MAKEUP
At nighttime your skin breathes a sigh of relief and gets to the important work of renewing itself, and for that job it likes to be clean and free of grime and makeup. Eye makeup is often created to stay put all day and can be oily, so it needs a helping hand beyond your cleanser to vamoose all the nitty gritty particles. Our Camomile Gentle Eye Make-Up Remover is formulated to be hard-working yet gentle, infused with delightful camomile extract from Norfolk. It’s suitable for sensitive skin and contact lens wearers alike. It leaves lids and lashes feeling soft and clean no matter what you’ve daubed on them throughout the day.
APPLY AN EYE MASK
We love how nature designed nighttime to recharge itself, and that means us too. The skin is surprisingly busy at night. As we snooze, blood flow to the skin increases so it’s the perfect opportunity to apply some products that can take their time during the night to give skin a helping hand. And for our hard-working peepers we have a real treat – our Drops of Edelweiss Eye Concentrate Bouncy Eye Mask. This all-night smooth operator is enriched with plant stem cells and cucumber extract and helps cool the skin around the eyes, helping the eyes to appear less fatigued. As you drift off it feels heavenly and helps your skin feel smoother and replenished when you open your eyes in the morning.
And when you’re ready to open your eyes in the morning and bounce all the way to the bathroom, here are two ideas to help your eyes wake up on the right side of the bed. You know the drill, morning cleansing routine first. Then it’s time to glide some specialised hydration over that delicate eye skin. Our Drops of Light™ Pure Healthy Brightening Eye Cream is somewhat of an expert in the eye-area department. Simply squeeze the tube lightly and use the applicator to massage the cream around the lower and upper orbit of your eyes. Infused with red algae extract, which is rich in vitamin C, this peeper-pro helps your eyes feel cooler and helps with a visibly brighter looking glow. Now that’s an eye-opener!
CONCEAL YOUR DARK CIRCLES
Now then, we’re not ones for covering up your natural beauty, but we know that sometimes even the most confident of complexions need a boost for a big day. So if dark circles are dampening your spirits, our Fresh Nude BB Cream SPF 30 PA+++ is the one to help you raise your game. This naturally inspired beauty balm comes in five skin tones and blends in beautifully when applied all-over your face. Helping to even the skin tone so your eye area matches the rest of your gorgeous mug. Next, let’s hone in peeper trouble spots with our Fresh Nude Serum Concealer, infused with caffeine, soothing aloe vera and vitamin E. Lightly dab around your eyes with the doe foot wand and blend in. It comes in six natural skin tones and helps brighten your eye area, leaving you feeling more bright-eyed and bushy tailed.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO HELP REDUCE THE APPEARANCE OF DARK CIRCLES AND EYE BAGS?
Here’s a few more tips and some reminders for how to help keep those dark eye bags as distant relatives you only see a couple of times a year. It’s mostly stuff you know already – that your favourite health-conscious friend (and us) nag you about on a regular basis. Plus the help of a tea bag or two – yes seriously.
Often eye bags appear when blood vessels under the eyes dilate and more blood in the area can cause fluids to accumulate and the appearance of dark circles. So a cold press is a simple effective idea to help them constrict and appear less puffy. Get a bowl of cold water, add some ice cubes, soak one of our Muslin Cloths so it’s chilly to touch, and then apply to the area under your eyes and leave for a few minutes.
USE TEA BAGS AS AN EYE MASK
Or go one step further and use two black tea bags (builder’s or breakfast tea to you and me) and dip in cold water then pop in the fridge for half an hour. Then place under or over your eyes and leave for five to fifteen minutes. The tannins in caffeinated tea are believed to help stimulate the area and freshen up your fatigued eyes.
SLEEP WITH YOUR HEAD SLIGHTLY RAISED
If you’re a good sleeper and can adapt to different sleeping positions this simple eye-bag hack might be the one for you. Adjust your pillows (you may need to borrow one from a friend so you have at least three), so that you're sleeping comfortably with your head, neck and shoulders slightly raised. Using gravity this will help ward off fluids accumulating under your eyes.
You know your eye areas are sensitive souls as well as being the gateways to your soul and the skin is much thinner in this area. So be kind and on the lookout for products that are gentle and calming. Remember to remove makeup every night to allow your eyes to recover from the day’s hard graft.
LEAVE PHONES OUTSIDE THE BEDROOM
Every good beauty sleeper knows that 8 hours is a good amount to wake up looking refreshed and feeling ready for action in the morning. It’s a well known fact that the blue light mobiles and laptop screens emit and the constant communication we receive on them overstimulates our brain before bed. So say goodnight to your devices at least an hour before bed and pop an old fashioned alarm clock in your room for that morning wake up call.
You know it. We’re made up of sixty percent water and we need constant hydration to help our body to feel like it doesn’t need to hang on to water and store it in strange places around our body, like under our eyes. So that means two litres or about 10 medium size glasses of fresh water every day. Top tip – avoid loading up before bed as you might wake up in the night needing a bathroom visit.
Staying on the hydration tip with what you eat too. Keep salty and sweet snacks as a treat rather than your daily go-tos. That’s because they dehydrate your body and send it into a panic, causing water retention and eye bags. For so many reasons, including they have high water content, at least five veggies a day is the way to go. Your skin will thank you for all the glow-enhancing nutrients too.