How to Care for Your Under Eyes; the Causes and Remedies for Wrinkles, Puffiness, and Dark Circles
The Weakest Part of Our Largest Organ
The skin beneath our eyes is extremely thin, therefore, one of the most fragile parts of our face. Children under ten years old can develop under eye wrinkles, and experience problems due to damage inflicted upon this soft tissue. In this article, I will address the three main concerns with under eyes: wrinkles, circles, and bags. Oh my!
It really is a shame that the skin around your eyes is so thin and fragile. Wrinkles are formed by creasing of the skin frequently in the same spot. The problem is, we blink on average 28,800 times a day. Wrinkles also form when the sensitive tissues that hold our skin in place become depleted with age. This is cause for the sagging of our under eyes (and also the skin below our eyebrows). Depending on how long in the tooth you are, there is not much short of plastic surgery that can replenish your skin to the way it was in your 30s. However, it is never too late to start preserving the strength your skin already has. 75% of Americans are living with Chronic Dehydration. Doctors do not usually diagnose this, but many of our daily problems may be solved by increased water intake. Premature aging of the skin is one of them. While drinking water is one way to make all of your skin healthier. a topical approach to moisturizing your under eyes will also preserve your skin. Vaseline applied to your under eye, lid, eyelashes, brow bone and eyebrow at night will keep your skin young, along with prevent the caking of makeup and concealer.
As far as cosmetic products, the dominant active ingredient in almost all anti aging products is...drum roll please... sunscreen. Whether they call it a skin protectant, or by its scientific name, sunscreen is what's really behind you 40 dollar skin care regiment. Not that sunscreen doesn't work, its also the active ingredient used in top line scar treatments that receive rave reviews such as Maderma. You MUST be careful when buying products claiming to reduce wrinkles because advertising, just like its always been, can be misleading. Beware of products claiming to contain, vitamins, antioxidants, or collagen. All these components are essential to the body, but putting them on your face is just as futile as trying to increase your vitamin intake by rubbing carrots on your stomach. The skin is a barrier between the outside world and everything in it and the sensitive inner workings of your body. We would be in big trouble if everything that got on our face was absorbed directly into our cells. In fact, while researching for this article, I looked up a number of popular ingredients in anti-aging cosmetics (most were vitamins and antioxidants) and was not surprised to find that their articles were focused on their dietary uses with hardly any mention of cosmetic effectiveness. While these lotions and potions may be packed with all kinds of good stuff, they do nothing to help you unless they are ingested.
Another way cosmetic companies try to fool you? A product may be listed as "anti-aging" because it is a lotion and provides moisture, but the "new and improved" or "revolutionary" active ingredient may not do anything at all to combat wrinkles. For example, Nicotinamide, an ingredient found in the Olay Regenerist line, does nothing to reduce wrinkles or tighten skin, but is effective at reducing inflammation. Twisted advertising is just another way companies are trying to trick you.
Because I couldn't think of any cosmetic ingredients off the top of my head to research for this article, I looked at an article from totalbeauty.com named "12 Anti-Aging Skin Care Ingredients You Need to Know About". The article was promoting 12 different ingredients and some of the big name cosmetic companies that use them. Every. Single. One I researched turned out to be a bogus claim. My advice is to give your skin what it will actually take, which is moisture. I like to use petroleum jelly but I know this can cause problems with clogging pores. In any sense, the best way to continue to look young is hydration of the skin and protection of it. Replace your expensive Olay and Clinique products with a good, natural lotion and sunscreen that you wear every day. Sunscreen can also be advertised crookedly, but that is a story for another time.
If you're anything like me, you are absolutely tired of of people telling you to "get more sleep" to combat puffiness and bags under your eyes. I work hard to make sure all of my work is done in the evening so I can be in bed by 9 PM. However, the bags still prevail. I researched this particular problem to answer the questions I had, and the ones I'm sure you had as well.
What causes bags and puffiness?
Just a quick disclaimer before I begin, I am only addressing the causes of puffy eyes from a cosmetic view. Puffy eyes can be caused by allergies, and can be the symptoms of serious medical conditions that must be evaluated by a doctor. Inflammation and chronic itchiness around the eyes are red flags for conditions that may need special care. I am addressing the normal kind of puffy eyes that appear when waking up in the morning.
Puffy under eyes in the morning can be caused by two primary reasons. Not getting enough rest (sigh), and water retention. Fluid retention is caused by too much sodium in your diet. While asleep, some of your body's functions slow down, while others work harder. While it is unclear exactly why fluids tend to have drainage problems just below your eyes, we know this process is due to the change in bodily functions while asleep. This water retention is mainly caused by too much salt, but can also be derived from excessive alcohol intake (especially before bed) as well as, the root of almost all skin problems, dehydration. For aging skin, eye bags, are caused by the collection of fat cells that become depleted as we age along with our skin losing its elasticity. This is a problem that is not caused by water retention, and may only be fixed by a surgical procedure.
Most products claiming to cater to under eye puffiness use an active ingredient of some kind of astringent. Eye rollers, which have a metal ball to distribute their product, use the metal aspect to take advantage of the cooling factor, which also reduces puffiness. While products utilizing this approach may or may not work for you, the best way to combat any issue is to fight it at the source. In this case, the source being a sodium-rich diet.
Dark circles that have a blue appearance are due to oxygenated blood that is pooled under the thin skin beneath your eye, rendering it visible. These ailments are usually cured easily, as its just a matter of heightening the circulation in the area around your eyes. Dark circles that appear brown are harder to fix, mainly because they are caused by the release of melanin. Melanin is the same substance that differentiates race, and allows us to get a tan. It is the body's way of protecting the skin, because light will be absorbed into a darker color, rather than reflect harmfully off pale skin, causing a burn. These types of circles may be remedied by paling the skin, usually by using a product that advertises evening skin tone, but is gentle enough to use on the sensitive skin of your eyes.
Just like puffiness, sleep deprivation is not the only cause for dark circles under the eyes. Also, if you find yourself caring for under eye puffiness, you could be killing two birds with one stone because they have a number of causes and remedies in common. Dark circles may be inflicted sleep deprivation (sigh again), too much sodium in your diet, stress, insignificant iron intake, and lastly, it could be a hereditary trait. Anemic tendencies may be responsible for your circles. Having an iron deficiency could prevent the tissue under your eyes from receiving enough oxygen.
A good way to increase you Iron intake? Beef and spinach are the royal family of Iron. A higher intake of iron will also contribute to combating tiredness, weakness, and chronic dizziness.
A good way to cut your sodium intake? Please, please, please, pretty please, read the label. Extreme amounts of sodium are hiding everywhere. Before I tell you my story, I would like to remind you that the advised daily sodium intake is 2140mg. While looking to pre-order my lunch at Panera Bread, I came across the very appetizing Chipotle Chicken Panini. I scrolled down to view the nutrition facts, and found that there was 2140mg of sodium in one. Singe. Quite small. Sandwich. You really never know where excess amounts of anything may be hiding, and it is an overall rewarding practice to know what you're eating before you do.