Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 4 Issue 67 | October 14, 2005 |

   News Notes
   Cover Story
   Straight Talk
   Time Out
   In Focus
   Food For Thought
   Slice of Life
   Life Style
   Dhaka Diary
   Book Review
   New Flicks
   Write to Mita

   SWM Home



Those circles under your eyes

Top Eight Causes of Dark Circles Under the Eyes
Black or dark circles under or around the eyes can be caused by many different factors. Most people inherit the tendency for dark circles. The following are the most common causes of those unattractive dark circles.

Like varicose veins, dark circles under the eyes are usually an inherited trait. If you have dark circles, there is a good chance that others in your family also have them. The skin under the eye is very thin. When blood passes through the large veins close to the surface of the skin it can produce a bluish tint. The more transparent your skin, also an inherited trait, the darker the circles appear.

Exposure to the Sun
Even in darker skinned people, exposure to sunlight, especially during the summer months, can cause a higher-than-normal level of skin pigmentation (melanin) under the eyes. People get sun tans because exposure to the sun increases the natural pigmentation of the skin and draws that pigmentation to the surface. The same principle applies to the skin under the eyes.

Allergies, Asthma and Eczema
Any condition that you have that causes your eyes to itch can contribute to darker circles under the eyes because rubbing or scratching the skin can darken the skin. Hay fever sufferers particularly will notice under-eye "smudges" during the height of the allergy season. Some food allergies can also cause the area under the eyes to appear darker.

Any medications that you are taking that causes blood vessels to dilate, can cause circles under the eyes to darken. Because the skin under the eyes is very delicate, any increase blood flow shows through the skin.

The lack of nutrients in the diet, or the lack of a balance diet, can contribute to the discoloration of the area under the eyes.

Fatigue, lack of sleep
A lack of sleep or excessive tiredness can cause paleness of the skin, which again allows the blood underneath the skin to become more visible and appear more blue or darker.

Pregnancy and Menstruation
The skin can also become more pale during pregnancy and menstruation, which again allows the underlying veins under the eyes to become more visible.

If you have a propensity to have dark circles under you eyes, as you grow older, they are likely to become more noticeable and permanent. Excess folds of skin under the eyes will also make dark circles more pronounced.

Dealing with them
Common sense measures such as getting plenty of sleep and treating allergies can often help reduce dark circles. Short-term tricks used by some models, such as applying cool cucumber slices or cool tea bags to the undereye area, reduce swelling in the short term. For those in whom the dark circles are due to true skin pigmentation, lightening agents -- used with care in this sensitive area -- can help. However, be sure to check with your dermatologist first, to determine whether your circles are due to superficial pigment or veins beneath the thin lower eyelid skin.

The definitive treatment for those with sagging undereye skin and dark circles is blepharoplasty. This surgery removes the excess skin and fat pads under the eyes. It is one of the most common aesthetic procedures performed by plastic surgeons. Blepharoplasty is often combined with laser resurfacing, depending on the amount of wrinkling around the eyes. This surgery does not actually remove dark circles, but once the bags are gone there will be less shadowing and the circles will be less noticeable. Your overall appearance will be more youthful and rested. The recovery time is one to two weeks.

Natural remedies for preventing puffy eyes, dark circles and fine lines bags, wrinkles, dark circles aren't life-threatening, but still, you'd rather not have them staring back at you in the mirror. With little fat and no thick collagen underneath, the sensitive skin around your eyes is the thinnest on your body. In some places, it's only 0.4 millimetres--about the thickness of four sheets of paper. No cream or pill can erase eye area beauty bummers, but there are natural ways to reduce their appearance and help prevent them in the first place.

Bag the Bags
Puffy eyes (or bags) are the number one complaint of many. Actually just build-up of fluid, undereye bags often signal that you're not getting the requisite seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Sleep is when your body rejuvenates. Blood flow and circulation increase, eliminating waste and delivering vital nutrients, like oxygen, to your skin. If you're getting plenty of shut-eye and still have puffy eyes, the culprit may be allergies, too much salt in your diet, poor circulation, hormonal changes, hereditary factors or simply the ageing process.

For an at-home "anti-puff" remedy, try applying a cold compress of rosemary tea to increase circulation, which helps reduce swelling around the eyes. Make tea by bringing a half cup of fresh rosemary and a quart of water to a boil. Steep for 20 minutes, then strain and chill. Soak a washcloth in the tea, ring out extra liquid anal place over eyes for 15 to 20 minutes, once a day, as needed.

Another circulation-boosting treatment is acupressure. This is an easy exercise that you can also do every day. Close your eyes and gently press your ring finger underneath one eye, moving from the inside corner to the outside corner. Do this 10 to 15 times. Then repeat on the other eye.

To minimise the appearance of bags, plump up skin with moisturiser, one that contains vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects skin cells from damage and supports collagen production; liquorice (or fennel) extract, an anti-inflammatory; and stabilised oxygen, a form of hydrogen peroxide that promotes circulation.

Hide those circles
As with bags, dark circles--which are simply veins showing through the thin skin--often result from lack of sleep. Other causes can be seasonal allergies, poor circulation, hormonal imbalances or genetics.

The best fix for dark circles is camouflage. For the most natural look, James recommends using a creamy stick concealer that is the same shade or one shade lighter than your skin tone. First, apply foundation. Then dot on concealer while lowering your chin slightly as you look into a mirror, bringing circles into focus. Start at the deepest part of the shadow using a small brush (like a lipstick brush). Use your pinkie or ring finger to blend.

Proactive Protection
Fine lines and wrinkles are an inevitable part of the ageing process, but that's no excuse to throw in your hat or sunglasses. Sun is your worst enemy, so proactive protection is key. Experts recommend using a full-spectrum SPF 15 sunscreen (or moisturiser) with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide daily and wear UV-blocking sunglasses faithfully to prevent squint lines. In addition, apply a moisturiser around your eyes--even if you have oily skin--since this skin dries out easily. Experts also recommend using a product with an antioxidant vitamin, such as C or E, which promotes cell turnover and helps skin retain its suppleness.

Handle with care
Be gentle when applying or removing eye products because as you age, the skin around the eye area doesn't "bounce back" like it used to. Rubbing and pulling will stretch the skin and reduce its elasticity. When treating the skin around your eyes, pat gently using your ring, middle or pinkie finger because they are not as strong as your index finger and therefore less likely to cause damage.

Always treat the area around your eyes with care. Never use toner as an eye makeup remover, even if it's made with witch hazel or labelled alcohol-free, it can irritate the sensitive eye area. Use a product for removing makeup that has ingredients known to be great for the skin, like apricot kernel oil, sweet almond oil or walnut oil. After you use the remover, sweep a cotton ball over your eye lids once with a moisturising 'untoner' of pure aloe vera juice (available in natural food stores), straight from the refrigerator."

Eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet, drinking plenty of water (eight 8-ounce glasses daily), and avoiding alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks also go a long way in preventing bags, circles and wrinkles.

Source: About.com

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2005