6 ways to tackle dark circles and eye bags, according to experts
Tired? Here’s how to deal with the telltale signs.
They say the eyes are the window to the soul – but if you ask us, the eyes are the window that reveals exactly how tired we really are.
After just one night of sub-optimal kip our peepers give the game away – add weeks of sleepless nights and we reach hollow-eyed zombie status. Why do our eyes betray us in this way?
“The skin of the eye area is one-third the thickness of the skin on the cheek, making it much more vulnerable to damage and more visually affected by lifestyle, illness or stress. This results in us seeing dark circles, puffiness and eye bags,” explains Julia Stewart, head of training for Shiseido.
So what can we do about it – besides scheduling a few early nights?
“Dark circles and eye bags are notoriously difficult to eliminate,” says Dr Alex Granite, consultant dermatologist at Mallucci London.
But there are steps you can take to prevent, treat and – if need be – hide your eye issues – and you might be surprised by how simple some of them are.
Here, experts offer six tips for tackling common concerns.
1. Protect your eyes from the sun
“Sun exposure can often make dark circles worse as it increases the melanin content,” says cosmetic dermatologist Dr Simon Zokaie, medical director of the Linia Skin Clinic on Harley Street. “So wearing sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses is important.”
2. Stay hydrated
“One simple tip is to stay hydrated, as dehydration, especially after overindulging in salty foods and alcohol, can definitely exacerbate the appearance of eye bags,” says Dr Granite.
3. Get a good eye cream
Lighter is better when it comes to eye products, says GP and aesthetics doctor Kalpna Pindolia, founder of Envisage Aesthetics: “Creams applied to the area can be heavy and gels may contribute to puffiness, so lighter serums tend to be a better vehicle for topical potions.”
Julia Stewart recommends Shiseido’s Ultimune Eye Power Infusing Concentrate, a lightweight serum designed to boost the function of the Langerhans cells, which play a vital role in defending the skin from damage from the environment, stress and ageing.
“The formula is clinically proven to decrease friction damage by 30%, ensuring that this delicate area is protected from damage and that dark circles and eye bags are minimised when rubbing eyes, applying and removing make-up and even sleeping,” Stewart says.
4. Try natural remedies
You don’t have to spend a fortune to find effective temporary relief for tired eyes.
“Puffy eyes can be a concern when you wake up but they usually settle quickly with eyelid movement which helps to reabsorb any residual fluid,” says Dr Pindolia. “But if you need a little help, there are some quick fixes.
“Some of the more ‘natural’ techniques include the use of cucumber or potato slices, cotton pads soaked in milk, caffeinated teabags or the application of cold spoons. They help constrict the blood vessels, which reduces puffiness and gives a lighter appearance around the eye.”
Penelope Tympanidis, consultant dermatologist and founder of Dermaperfect on Harley Street, says chamomile tea bag compresses can work wonders.
“Make yourself a pot of this soothing tea and, once it has cooled, either use the bag or soak an eye pad in the tea, squeeze off the excess liquid and spend a good ten minutes or so relaxing with them on your eyes.”
5. Conceal and cover
While eye creams and treatments take time to work, make-up is an instant fix for dark circles. Dr Pindolia recommends using colour correcting products.
“Peach or orange tones can reduce the blue hue caused by superficial blood vessels.
“A good concealer, a shade lighter than the skin, can also cover dark circles and areas of hyperpigmentation.”
6. Consider an aesthetic treatment
“If dark circles and undereye bags do not seem to budge with at home measures such as cool compresses, emollients and concealer, consider consulting with an aesthetic practitioner to see if undereye (tear trough) filler is an option for you,” Dr Granite says, recommending Juvederm Volift (priced from £675 at Mallucci London).
“For many, this is an effective, long lasting option to help minimise the appearance of the dark circles and eye bags.”
Dr Zokaie says microneedling, where a roller with very fine needles creates tiny channels that allow products to penetrate further into the skin, can be used under the eye area.
“It can help boost the collagen and elastin production and improve the skin texture. But you should ensure you see someone with experience as the skin under the eye is usually thin and different to the rest of the face.”
Best buys for eyes
These concealers, creams, balms and masks will help disguise or treat tired peepers.
Milani Conceal & Perfect Longwear Concealer, £12, Beauty Bay
Marc Jacobs Beauty Accomplice Concealer Touch-Up Stick, £24, Harvey Nichols
Vichy Minéral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Eye Fortifier, £20, Feel Unique
DHC CoQ10 Eye Cream, £25 (was £31)
L’Occitane Immortelle Precious Eye Balm, £39 (available September 5)
Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Eye Concentrate, £58, John Lewis (available September 1)
No7 Laboratories Dark Circle Corrector, £28, Boots
MZ Skin Hydra-Bright Golden Eye Treatment Mask, £70 for 5 pairs, Feel Unique
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