The contour of the eye is extremely fragile. Why? Because the epidermis in this area is three to five times thinner than the rest of the face and because it’s extremely stressed: on average, we blink our eyes 10,000 times a day! That's a lot of work for an area already low in collagen and elastin. No wonder the signs of fatigue are so visible! So, how do you take care of this delicate area? And how do you prevent puffiness and dark circles? Read on.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BAGS AND DARK CIRCLES?
Bags are the result of swelling of the lower eyelids, giving the appearance of puffy eyes. There are several possible causes: a displacement of the fat from the sockets or the upper eyelids or an accumulation of water or lymph fluid due to deficient drainage.
While heredity plays a role in the development of bags, there may be other contributing factors: overconsumption of salt or alcohol, which promotes water retention; lack of sleep, which slows down blood circulation; or sagging of aging skin, which affects the distribution of fat and allows certain fluids to flow into the tissues.
Dark circles are caused by blood pigments that are not well eliminated due to poor circulation or disruption of the lymphatic tissue.
The shades of the circles give clues to their root causes:
- Reddish, purple or bluish dark circles are vascular in origin: they’re caused by blood congestion or inefficient drainage, often due to unhealthy habits (insufficient sleep, alcohol or tobacco use, etc.).
- Brown circles are a matter of pigment and are mainly hereditary.
HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM
Dark circles and bags are difficult to eliminate, especially if they run in your family. But that doesn’t mean you can’t prevent them or reduce their appearance!
Plan of Attack Number 1: Do the right things
- Upon awakening, massage the contours of your eyes for a few minutes, from the inside to the outside, to accelerate microcirculation. If your eyes are particularly puffy, use a cold-water compress: by causing the blood vessels to contract, the cold stimulates microcirculation and promotes drainage.
- Both morning and night, apply a cream that’s specially formulated for the contour of the eyes. Never use facial cream in this area, its lack of fluidity can make your skin swell up! Before using the treatment, clean your face well, ridding the epidermis of impurities (pollution, dust, etc.) and preparing it to absorb the cream.
- At bedtime, position your pillows to raise your head slightly: this will prevent lymph fluid from accumulating around your eyes.
Plan of Attack Number 2: Adopt healthy habits
A good skin-care routine isn’t enough: you need to address the sources of the problems. Eliminate habits that can affect lymphatic drainage or cause water retention.
- Watch what you eat. Reduce your salt consumption (one of the greatest causes of water retention!) and avoid foods rich in refined sugars and saturated fat: your blood system will thank you!
- Moderate your consumption of alcohol and drink a lot of water, which will help your liver function better and tone your lymphatic tissue.
- Put out the cigarette. Smoking damages the blood vessels and makes them more pronounced and bluer.
- Don’t skimp on sleep. Fatigue slows blood circulation, making the blood stagnate and turn the skin a reddish colour.
- Reduce stress. By unbalancing the body, and affecting the microcirculation around the eyes, stress can aggravate existing problems, darkening circles and making bags more obvious.