Dark circles, fine lines, dry eyes and puffiness -- NOT CUTE!
You probably heard the phrase: “Eyes are truly the windows to our soul”, but did you know that your eyes are the windows to your whole body?
The reason why eye bags and eye puffiness exist is because (aside from being due to genetics), they are biological reflections of your body’s current state of health. So things like whether we sleep well at night, maintain our stress levels or eat a balanced meal every day are definitely factors that contribute to eye bags and puffiness overall. And then we have eye creams that are marketed to help control these issues, but are they really worth the hefty price tag?
We’ll cover the basics info about the eye area, eye bags & puffiness before we cover what we know about eye creams and if they’re worth it.
First things first, let’s learn about the skin around our eyes a little better:
The skin around our eyes is called the periorbital skin and is significantly thinner than the rest of the body and lacks as many oil glands, collagen or elastin than the rest of our face and our body. Because this area is thin, it’s the first area to show signs of moisture loss, dryness, and even signs of aging. The periorbital skin also has capillaries which are small blood vessels that lie just beneath the thin surface and do their job transporting blood throughout the rest of the body. Sometimes, these capillaries expand and contract, and when that happens, the periorbital skin will appear darker (A.K.A. dark circles).
And speaking of dark circles, it’s mostly caused by your genetics, but sinus problems, allergies, adrenal fatigue (I’m going to address more on that later!), stress, and lack of sleep are also factors that might explain why you have them.
As mentioned earlier, the reason dark circles appear so dark and intense is because of the capillaries expanding and contracting from beneath the thin skin. The bluish-purple color you often see is due to the blood cells pooling in that area while the capillaries expand.
When we get things like stress, nervousness, anxiety, and other mental imbalances (especially for prolonged periods of time), they can eventually lead to adrenal fatigue, which is a state of exhaustion resulting from insufficient hormones sent to the body. Keep in mind that this is caused when the body is extremely overworked and you aren't eating or sleeping well, so it’s important to take care of your body!
LIFESTYLE CHANGES YOU CAN MAKE TO EASE DARK CIRCLES
Luckily you can take small steps to make changes in your daily routine to ensure that you’re eating well, de-stressing, and getting a good night's sleep. Here are some of Felicia and Rowena’s tips!
For diet, Rowena recommends being more mindful of what you eat and ensuring that your body is receiving the right nutrients.
According to Chinese Traditional Medicine, certain foods are associated with heat and cold, which is believed to affect the body’s internal systems, particularly the digestive systems. So, in order for the body to function properly, you need to maintain a balance of heat and cold in your body.
Foods associated with heat include foods that are physically hot, make you sweat, deliver warmth, or cause inflammation within the body. Examples of heat foods include: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, garlic, peppers, wasabi, black pepper, but also chocolate, spicy foods, and deep fried foods.
Foods associated with cold include foods that are physically cold and are raw. Examples of cold foods include: fruit, raw vegetables, cold drinks and water, ice cream, smoothies, and salads.
What I’m explaining to you is just the surface level of Traditional Chinese Medicine (I’ll definitely write a more depth article later on), but it’s a comprehensive take on how we should eat a balanced meal to help our bodies on the inside. Even Felicia’s mom encourages drinking a glass of warm water in the morning to start off the day and help the digestive system run naturally.
Getting a good night’s sleep is so important and yet it’s something that many people struggle with on a daily basis. So before you end up staying awake for the next hour, you can find ways to relax by meditating, journalling, reading a book, and shutting down electronic devices at least an hour early than your bedtime, as well as drinking tea or taking a nice bubble bath.
PUFFY EYE BAGS
Eyebags, unlike dark circles, are not much caused by genetics, but are based from internal imbalances, especially in the kidneys. This relates to how much protein, potassium, and sodium we consume in our diet and how they get filtered throughout your body. When we consume excess amounts of protein, potassium, or sodium in our diet, our liver and kidneys can’t handle the strain in the detoxification process. When this happens, our bodies hold onto the water, which makes us bloated and puffy.
Another cause of puffiness might be the way you sleep (yes, really!) If you’re laying on your back without a pillow elevating your head, the fluids in your body can rush to your head while you sleep. Then by the time you wake up in the morning, you might notice your face looking bloated and puffy.
LIFESTYLE CHANGES YOU CAN MAKE TO EASE PUFFINESS
Since excess amounts of sodium are culprits to puffy under eyes, definitely keep mind of what you eat and drink. Foods like ramen, fried chicken, and fries are all high in sodium and can cause dehydration and water retention to the body. To help balance out the sodium levels in your body, you can consider eating foods that rich in potassium (like bananas). But keep in mind that you’ll need about 4 times the amount of potassium to lower sodium levels.
For some quick fix solutions, you can consider using eye drops to hydrate your eyes, apply ice compresses, use cucumber slices or chilled tea bags, and splash cold water over your face and eyes.
Or you can consider using the FUBAO eye patches that are designed to relieve stressed and tired eyes by using herbal ingredients to stimulate acupuncture points around the eyes.
TRUTH ABOUT EYE CREAMS
So let’s talk about eye creams.
There seems to be so many eye creams out there that are marketed to help with wrinkles, aging skin, dark circles, puffiness and the like. But are they really worth it?
In theory, yes. But in reality, you can consider them to be diluted versions of your moisturizer that is packaged in a small container and sold for triple dollar signs.
For some of the eye serums that contain active ingredients such as retinols, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid, keep in mind that it can irritate the skin because it’s so thin and sensitive.
WHAT SHOULD I USE INSTEAD?
If you have a moisturizer you use for your face, you can mix a small amount of it with a neutral fragrance-free lotion such as Aveeno or CeraVe and use that as an eye cream instead. This not only helps hydrate the undereyes, but it’s also a cost-friendly alternative to slowing down the aging process.
Even for depuffing the eyes, there’s a lot of eye creams marketed out there that provide a metal rod to help you apply the cream. But it’s actually not that necessary to shell out a hundred dollars for it, since what it does is to cool your eyes with the metal. An easier at-home version you can incorporate is to run the back of a chilled metal spoon on your puffy eyes for the same effect.
But that’s not to say that you should stop using eye creams if you already purchased one or you should pass up on the idea. If you feel that the current eye cream you’re using is showing good results, we definitely encourage you to keep using it (given that it’s affordable for you).
Both Felicia and Rowena use eye creams as part of their skincare routines to give their under eyes a boost and even recommend a few products they saw working for their skin.
Here’s some of their reccs:
Keep in mind though, that these products are more short term solutions than long term ones, and the best solutions are really to keep your body well hydrated, nourished, and rested. Remember that beauty is not always skin deep as they say, but rather, it’s about maintaining a balance from the inside out.