Under eye circles are a unique cosmetic problem that many of us struggle with. Thankfully, these circles are almost never related to an underlying condition, and there are a lot of ways to treat and prevent these unsightly burdens.
While the main cause of under eye circles is fatigue and a genetic predisposition, the things you eat, drink and otherwise consume can all make them much worse. Salt, whether added to food or contained within them, can contribute to puffiness and darkness under your eyes. Within your body, salt retains moisture and one place that moisture can concentrate is under the eyes. Unsightly water retention isn’t just limited to under your eyes, but it’s one place that a salty diet can rear its ugly head.
Alcohol, whether consumed frequently or in large quantities, also can contribute to under-eye circles and darkness. Alcohol actually has the opposite effect of salt, drawing water away from certain parts of your body. When the eyes lose this moisture, they can become sunken and darken with shadow. A drink here and there won’t cause this, but over-doing it is a quick way to have under eye circles the next day.
Lastly, smoking cigarettes can lead to under eye circles, in addition to the numerous health complications they cause. The smoke itself and all of the harmful chemicals you inhale both draw moisture from your skin. Smoking will dry out the skin on your face quickly, and you’re on the fast-track to sunken shadows and wrinkles under your eyes.
Besides a genetic predisposition (you can’t pick your parents), fatigue and a lack of sleep are the main causes of pronounced under eye circles. If you aren’t sleeping well or ignore your sleep, you will notice under eye bags. When you’re tired, your body changes in a number of ways. Blood flow is increased throughout the body and vessels are expanded in response to fatigue. This helps overcome tiredness, but it comes at a cost. Inflammation and fullness under the eyes, the signature ‘bags’ often result from this fatigue. It’s not just how much you sleep, but also how well you sleep that determines whether you’ll wake up with bags under your eyes. Don’t go to sleep with makeup on, even if you’re dead tired! Makeup can make your eyes water in your sleep, contributing to inflammation under your eyes and other parts of the face. If you are a stomach or side sleeper, gravity itself is working against you. When you sleep on your stomach or side, fluid collects under the eyes making them appear more puffy. Try sleeping on your back with an extra pillow to counteract this.
As we know, seasonal allergies in the spring can wreak havoc on your comfort. In addition to runny noses, sneezing and watery eyes, puffing under the eyes is often tied directly to many common allergies. In New England, allergy season can go on well past the spring, so you’re looking at half a year of under eye circles. Thankfully, controlling your allergies with medication also will clear up bags under your eyes. If over-the-counter allergy medication isn’t cutting it, discuss your options with your doctor for prescription strength antihistamines.
Sun damage along with aging can greatly contribute to the appearance of under eye circles. Sustained UV damage can make skin on your face lose its moisture, leading to sunken skin under the eyes, in addition to wrinkles. Always use sunscreen on your face, or wear makeup that contains sunscreen. Wear hats or sunglasses to keep the sun off of your face. If you can keep your skin safe from UV light, you’ll experience far less under eye darkening.
Aging skin is prone to under eye circles, even more than fatigued skin in younger people. But aging skin doesn’t need to look aged. There are a number of cosmetic treatments available to address under eye circles and wrinkles including collagen induction therapy or dermal fillers. These cosmetic services are provided by your dermatologist and can halt the signs of aging in their tracks. Other, even less complicated solutions for under eye circles are out there. Your dermatologist may prescribe topical ointments or creams that can reduce the appearance of puffy under eye circles. These are preferable to the myriad of over the counter products that often over-promise and under-deliver.
Circles or bags under your eyes are unsightly, and all the makeup in the world won’t stop them from happening. Treating and preventing under eye circles is easy work for a dermatologist, so call the experts you can trust at Northeast Dermatology Associates.
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