Updated: Dec 6, 2021
Have you noticed darkness under your eyes? Or maybe you are noticing the beginning stages of fine lines and puffiness? Read this blog so you can feel educated as to why this may be happening. Throughout this blog you will be learning what does the darkness and puffiness mean? Why am I experiencing discolouration and or fine lines? What can I do to take care of the existing damage? and of course the million dollar question, what are the steps to prevent further damage?
Lets dive in! Dark under eyes can mean a wide variety of things but it doesn’t mean you are dying or need to rush to the hospital. Sometimes google can scare us by saying dark under eyes means you are sick or your organs are shutting down. I warn you about this because, although there may be some truth to the matter, it is not necessary to get your panties in a bunch and wait in emerge for 12 hours. Lets look at the other possible factors first.
Keep reading and stay calm!
Dark circles under the eyes can happen in men or women. There is no magic age where it will suddenly appear or even disappear. Some people experience it younger then others and some feel they woke up one morning and BAM there’s some purple eye shadow that is never washing off.
Darkness, puffiness and fine lines although paired together often, are not always results from the same symptoms. It is a common misconception that darkness is always and only from fatigue, which is not the case. Puffiness and finalizes are main symptoms of fatigue but as important as restful sleep is, its not the only contributing factors. Make sure you are getting a restful REM filled 8 hour sleep, but in addition to that priority lets consider the other culprits of darkness under the eyes shall we?
AGE! Age is a common factor that contributes to puffiness, fine lines and darkness. This is because as we age our skin does not produce collagen as rapidly as it used to. Since our skin gets thinner as we age the blood vessels under the eyes are more prominent which contributes to the dark under eye shadow. Just as a point of reference the skin under your eye is about 0.5 mm thick, everywhere else it is about 2mm thick, see what I mean; the skin under your eyes are super delicate!
Dark under eyes looks different for everyone. The lighter your skin the darkness will be more of a red/purple hue; if your skin is not pale but not dark you will likely experience under eye discoloration as a purple/blue hue, as the melanin in the skin gets darker the under eye darkness will appear more yellow, green or brown. Although the colours change per person, the discoloration stems from all the same reasons; it is just the skin pigmentation that dictates the shadow and colour that is reflected.
Stress; goodness gracious stress contributes to everything; yet it is one of the hardest things to let go and control; ugh why is that?
Anyways, I digress. Unfortunately stress contributes to darkness because cortisol (a nasty hormone) is released when stressed, and when released in high doses it dramatically increases the volume of blood supply sent throughout the body. Undeniably as the blood is flowing through the body eventually it will reach the face and as it flows it will engorge the vessels around the eyes. Since the skin around the eyes is already thin and the blood vessels are already evident through the skin, the excess blood supply draws more attention to the area causing darkness and puffiness. Damnit right? Think of the term “under eye bags” it comes from somewhere. This term has caught on because the fat deposits under your eyes easily absorb fluid, causing what looks like a bag. As we know as we age our skin looses collagen but what we also need to consider is that gravity also takes a toll on our skin. The fat under the eye tissue (which is there to protect your eyeballs) has so much pressure from the blood supply that its escaping the “normal membranes” and filling deposits under your eyes causing raised bumps, known as bags. It also doesn’t help that many doctors and dermatologists believe as we age our body is producing more fat. So then not only is fat, water and blood rushing to the thin eye area, but we are producing more fat and that is being distributed to your under eyes as well, can we say double whammy?
You may notice your under eyes are darkest and puffiest when you wake up, this is because the dark circles under the eyes are triggered from the oxidation of blood leaking to the vessels around the eyes. This occurs when the body attempts to clear blood leakage and rushes to other areas especially the thin areas (such as the under eyes) while we sleep. This can easily be reduced by gravity. This makes logical sense right? think about laying down for your sleep for about 8 hours, your blood is rushing to areas like your under eye thinking its lacking blood, this causes swelling, but as you get out of bed and stand for a while you notice the darkness and the puffiness has subsided. Interesting eh! I hope learning this little tid bit of information settled your brain a bit like it did when I first learnt it! Now, when you wake up you know to wait a little and the darkness and puffiness will not be as scary as it once was when you woke up!
Another belief is that first thing in the morning if you have dark under eyes it is like a crystal ball of your body predicting something in your body is deficient on something. It is believed that it could be a reflection of unhealthy sugar levels in your blood stream, that you are lacking water and are super dehydrated or it could mean poor blood circulation. Deficiencies are absolutely a factor to darkness under eyes, so this belief seems plausible in some aspects. If you are like me, a firm believer that a healthy diet maintains harmony within your body, there is a good chance that you are lacking certain minerals or vitamins in your diet. Take iron for example. For my ladies reading this, you may notice that your dark under eyes are more prominate when on your period, pregnant or under going menopause. This is because typically and commonly during those times you are already iron deficient so the darkness under the eyes is a clear sign that an iron supplement may be your best option.
Expanding on this a bit, also consider hormones or other vitamins and/or minerals being imbalanced. Seriously, a lot of our health shows up in our skin so this could be something to further explore. It could be any hormone imbalance or really any vitamin or mineral deficiency... but iron and vitamin d deficiency are the most commonly assumed factor.
Is it allergy season?! Maybe you are noticing the darkness or puffiness more so as the season has changed and plants are starting to bud and bloom. Don't rule this option off the table because this could be a very likely cause to your darkness and puffiness. Especially if it feels more like those "I woke up like this, and this is new" kind of situations.
Lets dive into a bad word in the skin care world, sun exposure...PIGMENTATION. Unfortunately sun exposure to our skin causes nothing but long term damage. Yes it gives us that temporary glow but the lasting effects are real and they are negative. Pigmentation irregularities are common from after being exposed to the sun. Especially since the skin around your eyes is naturally thinner then anywhere else, sun exposure to this area will produce more melanin which then gives more pigment to the skin causing the shadow under the eyes and to add to the darkness you may experience dark like spots as well. Don't forget your sunscreen, a hat and some sunglasses!
Last but not least, say thank you to mom and dad. Yup, you got it. Genetics are always a factor to consider. Unfortunately we don’t get to pick the genetics we want, they are already decided and predispositioned for us. Sometimes we are thankful for our genes and other times not so much, this may be a time that you aren’t very thankful, but that’s okay just remember you are not alone. Although genetics are a strong factor we can still do specific things to help reduce the severity of what may be coming our way.
So lets get talking about the preventative measures! Keep reading to find ways to help reduce the severity of the darkness under your eyes, help with fine lines and the puffiness you may be experiencing.
-Drink lots of water, keeping hydrated will help reduce the puffiness and the fine lines. Drinking water has many benefits, you will see results in your completion not just in your under eyes! Exciting right, pick up that water bottle.
- Reduce your alcohol consumption my friends. Alcohol dehydrates your skin and puts your liver to the test. So naturally it creates imbalances in your body and on your skin. Just like consuming more water will provide you with more results being mindful of your alcohol intake will improve much more then just your skin or under eye issues. Especially an excess of drinking, this causes puffiness and dark circles... think of your last bender.... you didn't wake up looking so hot did you!?
- Quit smoking! Okay I am sure this is something that if you are a smoker you recognize there are many reasons to quit. I will outline how smoking is contributing to your under eye darkness and puffiness. Smoking speeds up aging and reduces the likelihood of collagen being produced. Smoking also causes many free radicals in the skin, which makes it super challenging for the skin to repair and be healthy. All of these factors will inevitably lead to darkness under the eyes, puffiness and overall aging of the eyes.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes: As you have learned thus far, your under eye skin is much thinner then any other skin; therefore rubbing your eyes can weaken your under eye skin or cause premature lines and inflammation. This includes being very gentle when removing your makeup, it falls with the same principle as why not to rub your eyes,
- Manage your allergies. Unfortunately allergies cause swelling, itchy, dark and watery eyes, allergies can contribute to the sensitivities around the eyes. So try and manage your allergies before it influences the bags under your eyes.
- Wear eye protection. Firstly like you know you should always wear sunscreen, but also wear sunglasses! Wear larger lenses so that the lenses are covering the orbital bone. This will help prevent against sun damage and prevent some squinting.
- A goodnights rest. If you wake up with more fine lines then you remember having during the day you may squint a lot through your sleep. Investing in a silk pillow case would also be beneficial here.
- Use eye-soothing treatments. Eye gels, eye masks, eye creams are highly recommended. Eye treatments are specifically formulated to help with darkness, puffiness and fine lines. The job is to help reduce and prevent!! My favourites and products I recommend are the AGE WELL eye cream is great for hydrating the skin and smoothing out the fine lines and wrinkles, The Bio Hydria eye gel is wonderful for the morning as it has illunimenses properties and is cool for first thing in the morning. Another fav are the RE9 Prep Gel eye masks!! All these products and recommendations are all from Arbonne! Let me know and I can hook you up with the dream products!
PS. They are all botanical, gluten free, vegan and kosher. AMAZING RIGHT, I know!
Hopefully this recap gave you some insight and some info. If you want to learn how to continually work on your skin, lets book an appointment today. I would be happy to help and share how to create a healthy lifestyle, healthy routine and put a good skincare regime and treatment plan together for you!
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