We could all do with a little refresher after over-indulging this holiday season. Why not start with the windows to the soul?
'You look tired' are three words that nobody likes to hear. Invariably the comment is all about the eyes, because dark under circles, bags and puffiness around this area rarely scream radiance and freshness. Dark circles in particular are a problem for many people and to remedy them, it's important to find out what's causing them.
Bad habits like smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol are certainly contributory factors, but so too are a host of other things including ageing, genetics, seasonal allergies and UV exposure.
A trick to see what's causing yours is to stretch the skin under your eyes with your fingertips for 30 seconds. If the circles become darker, ageing and genetics are likely to blame. If the colour remains the same, it's likely to be the result of UV exposure or allergies, whereas if the circles don't go away after you release the skin, it might be down to pigmentation or vascular problems.
But whatever the cause, you can still help the appearance of dark circles. From improving your sleep pattern, to visiting your doctor, to washing out that nasal capacity and using vegetables other than for dinner, here's some tips on improving those pesky dark circles:
If your dark circles are accompanied by any other symptoms such as a rash or a fever, go to your GP to eliminate the possibility of a kidney or other infection. Similarly if you're feeling fatigued or dizzy, again a trip to your doctor is advisable because dark circles under the eyes are a common symptom of iron-deficient anaemia. If the circles are being caused by seasonal allergies, which release histamines in the body that cause swelling, your doctor can best advise on how to treat these.
Getting the correct amount of sleep is an obvious step, not only for your under eyes but for practically every aspect of your health. Lack of sleep causes sinus congestion, one of the main causes of dark circles. Try keeping your head propped up at night and sleep with an extra pillow, to encourage sinuses to drain. If you can make time for it in your morning routine, a cold compress applied to eyes for five minutes will constrict the blood vessels and improve the appearance of circles while also getting rid of post-sleep puffiness. Cold spoons applied under the eyes works wonderfully.
It's the season of nasal congestion and all kinds of sinus nastiness, leading to dark circles. If you're suffering from this, a nasal congestant from your pharmacy will help this and dark circles. As many cause drowsiness, opt for a non-drowsy version during the day. Also consider a sinus rinse system or neti pot, using a mixture of about a pint of water and a tea spoon of salt, pouring the solution into one nostril so that it flows throw the naval cavity and into the other nostril, and possibly the throat. Read the instructions for using a sinus rinse system carefully - some people do experience nasal irritation - and it's very important to use sterile or previously boiled water to prevent infection. When the sinuses are clear, the blood vessels around the eyes will lighten and shrink inside.
There are plenty of natural and safe remedies to help the appearance of dark circles. Almond oil is quite the miracle worker, containing as it does Vitamins K and E, which can help with blemishes and inflammation. Simply apply under the eye before going to bed, leave on overnight and rinse off the next morning. As odd as it might sound, slices of raw, cold potato work too. They have natural bleaching agents, as well as Vitamin C and other nutrients which help the battle against tired-looking eyes - place the chilled slices over your eyes for 10 minutes to see the effects. Tomato juice is another kitchen hero - mix a teaspoon of tomato juice with a teaspoon of lemon juice, apply under the eyes and rinse off to naturally lighten the skin. And of course the most natural remedy you can avail of is water. Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate to prevent dehydration, a major contributor to dark circles.
We all need a helping had from time to time and eye creams which contain caffeine can help constrict blood vessels, improving both puffiness and dark circles. Arnica creams, found in health food and often used to improve the appearance of bruises, can also help reduce under eye darkness. Also, all hail the power of a really good concealer. This should be a shade or two darker than your own skin tone so that it hides the circles. The key is to apply it after your foundation, which means you'll use less concealer and to only apply to the discoloured part of the skin and not under the entire eye.
Health & Living
Health & Wellbeing
It's the time of year when we go scrabbling to rid our store cupboards of too much temptation and try to get our finances back on track. But it should also be a time to think about what we're putting onto our bodies as well as into it. Here's how to make your skin regimen a more clean-living one.