Dark eye circles – nobody wants them. They either make you look punched in the eyes, or it gives you a ghostly, haggard appearance that is hard to look cute with. Of course, you could load up on your under-eye concealer every time you leave the house, but it’s impossible to keep up that lifestyle 24/7.
It doesn’t help that with mask-wear most of the time now, it means that our eyes are even more obvious to others and we can’t simply distract with a bold lip colour.
Thankfully, there are ways you can get rid of dark eye circles – that is, if they aren’t genetic. Many of them are lifestyle changes that you have to make, so you can consider adopting these new habits as your resolutions for 2021!
Are your dark eye circles genetic?
The bad news here is that dark eye circles have to do with genetics. Look around at your family members and relatives – if you see a significant number of people suffering from similar dark eye circles, then it’s likely that it runs in the family.
The area underneath our eyes is famous for having the thinnest skin on our body, but even this can vary between individuals due to genetics. Alternatively, you may have also inherited fairer skin underneath your eyes.
Whether your under-eye area is thin or fair, it would contribute to the more obvious appearance of your blood vessels underneath, especially when you are experiencing poor circulation due to various reasons (lack of sleep, most of the time).
So if this applies to you, there is a limit to how far you can remove your dark eye circles – but following our steps below on how to get rid of dark eye circles may help to reduce its appearance!
Get enough sleep
Dark eye circles have famously been associated with a lack of sleep, and for good reason. When you don’t sleep enough, your blood circulation is poorer, and the thin skin underneath your eyes will show it all.
You probably already know that you need a minimum of eight hours of sleep a day. That, however, is only half the battle won. Getting good quality sleep also means sleeping earlier and also having your eight hours of rest.
To get rid of dark eye circles, the best window to go to sleep is between 8pm and 12am every night, says Dr. Matt Walker, a sleep pattern expert, in an interview with TIME. Going to sleep within this window ensures that “your brain and body have the opportunity to get all the non-REM and REM shuteye they need to function optimally.”
This also includes better blood circulation and less dark eye circles!
Use a retinoid cream under your eyes
Retinoids have shifted from being exclusively a prescriptive medication for acne, to being a buzzword in commercial skincare. What retinoids do is to increase the turnover rate of your skin cells, which means you produce newer skin cells at a faster rate.
When you apply retinoid creams under your eyes, you may be encouraging the skin there to thicken.
Repeated use of retinoids can also help to stimulate collagen production, which also helps with the thickness of your skin layer underneath your eyes, says dermatologist Rachel Nazarian in an interview with Allure.
Retinoid-infused eye creams are widely available now in the market, and can be found from most drugstores and beauty stores. They also generally come with a heftier price tag, though!
Apply sunscreen under your eyes
Sun damage seems to be the cause of all things bad for our skin – and that’s mostly true. Damage from the sun’s rays can mess with your skin’s collagen levels, which is bad news for the already-thinner skin underneath your eyes.
Even worse, sun damage will induce the production of melanin, the natural pigment in your skin (the reason why you get tanned after you spend time in the sun).
While melanin isn’t harmful, it would show more obviously on that thinner area underneath your eyes and make your dark eye circles appear even darker.
So if you want to get rid of dark eye circles, don’t forget that under-eye area when you’re applying your sunscreen!
Get your collagen boost
As you may have realised by now, collagen is an important key ingredient in the synthesis of new skin cells, as well as maintaining that plump cushiness of young skin.
You can imagine how important it is in ensuring that the skin at your under-eye area doesn’t get too thin.
Collagen is usually produced naturally in the body itself, but it does need specific building blocks called amino acids in order to produce it – think of it as a factory that needs raw materials to produce goods.
You can get the amino acids required from your diet, especially if you incorporate collagen-rich foods into your everyday meals. Alternatively, you can also get these from over the counter supplements that are super popular nowadays.
Load up on Vitamin C
We know how important Vitamin C is in boosting our immune system, but did you also know that Vitamin C helps with the synthesis of collagen? This helps your skin look healthier and plumper, which helps to remove dark eye circles at the same time.
There are so many fruits and vegetables out there that are rich in Vitamin C, so you don’t have an excuse not to get your daily recommended intake. If necessary, you can even buy Vitamin C supplements from your nearest drugstores – they’re usually very affordable too.
Eye massages help
A gentle massage around your eye area can help improve the lymphatic circulation of the area, which can help to reduce the look of dark eye circles. You can do it twice a day when you’re applying your eye cream or consider scheduling in a mid-day eye massage after staring at the computer screen for a few hours.
You can either do it with your fingers or with a tool such as a roller massager or gua sha massager.
The next time you visit your facial salon, you can also consider asking them more about their eye care treatments. These usually come with an additional fee if you opt them in as part of your facial service, but the massages on the eye area that a professional can provide you may be worthwhile.
Well, stop smoking
We hate to nag, but smoking does worsen your dark eye circles in many ways.
We’ve already explained that dark eye circles are generally caused by poor blood circulation underneath the eyes. It logically follows that smoking, which causes even poorer blood and oxygen circulation, would make your dark eye circles even darker.
Furthermore, smoking also thins out the skin. The lack of oxygen caused by smoking causes your skin to lose collagen and elastin fibres, which makes it thinner and more fragile, exposing your dark eye circles even more.
So if you’re looking to get rid of dark eye circles, it’s perhaps another good reason for you to quit smoking.
Of course, exercise
We know we’re beginning to sound like a nag, but hear us out! Exercising is really one of those things that your body can’t do without.
In addition to helping your body metabolise food better, lowering your stress levels, and boosting your immune system, exercising also does one really important thing: it improves your blood and oxygen circulation.
This will not only mean healthier-looking and glowing skin overall, but it also means that you’ll have less blood pooling underneath your eyes, and therefore a reduced appearance of dark eye circles!