Updated 3/10/21. Are you not getting your beauty rest and waking up with puffy eyes and dark circles as a result? No worries. I’m sharing my expert tips for getting your eyes looking bright and fresh in no time!
What Can I Do for Dark Circles?
For starters, the most common reason for darkness under the eyes is that the skin may be extra thin (from long-term overuse of prescription retinoid products, genetics, and/or loss of collagen due to the aging process). This leads to blood vessels becoming visible under the skin. Some people may also have a deep inset bone structure that can cause a shadow under the eye, making the area appear dark. Others can get what is referred to as “leaky vessels” with age. This is when blood leaks from capillaries, creating under-eye darkness. Additionally, failing to get enough sleep can cause dark circles, because when you don’t get enough rest, your body’s circulatory system is compromised, so blood can stagnate in the vessels under the eyes.
No matter the cause, if you have dark circles, there are things you can do. Keep reading to learn all three.
1. Apply a Brightening Eye Cream
Not all eye creams address the same concerns. Be sure you’re using one that’s exclusively formulated to reduce the appearance of dark circles. This will give you the best results. My personal favorite and the one that I recommend to my clients is Vitamin C Eye Brightener. In this formula, stable vitamin C offers vessel-strengthening and anti-inflammatory properties. Other ingredients stimulate the enzyme detoxification process. Use it faithfully every morning. In time it will result in brighter-looking eyes.
2. Massage the Eye Area
Massaging the eye area will stimulate stagnant blood flow, which is a contributor to under eye darkness, especially when it comes to lack of sleep. Move the tip of your ring finger in circular motions (like when applying eye cream).
If you’re looking to reduce overall face puffiness, try this technique for lymphatic massage.
3. Thicken the Skin With Topical Application of Peptides or Dermal Fillers
The underlying cushion of the eyes naturally starts to deplete after age 40. Collagen-building ingredients, such as peptides, can help keep the underlying cushion intact. Peptides support the tissue renewal process, which helps thicken the skin, making underlying blood vessels less noticeable. Because of this, you’ll want to look for an eye cream formulated with peptides.
You can also consult with a cosmetic nurse or dermatologist about dermal fillers. These can be injected around the eye to create a separation between the vessels and the skin, so the discoloration-producing vessels become less visible.
What Can I Do for Puffy Eyes?
Here are three ways you can improve annoying puffiness under the eyes.
1. Grab a Bag of Frozen Peas (But Take a Hot Shower First)
If you wake up in the morning with puffiness, taking a warm-to-hot shower will be beneficial for two reasons: first, the heat from the water dilates (relaxes and opens) lymphatic vessels to help assist with fluid drainage (wastes and toxins). When you wash your face in the shower and water hits your skin directly, this encourages excess fluids to move out of the eye area. Second, in addition to the heat helping with circulation, your vertical position standing in the shower helps drain fluids out of the face.
When you get out of the shower, apply something cold to constrict vessels and reduce fluid retention. While cucumbers don’t contain any miraculous puffiness-reducing properties, they do have a gel-like consistency that makes them good for retaining cold temperatures, and cold temperatures are what ultimately reduce puffiness and swelling. You can grab anything out of your freezer (whether that’s ice, a bag of frozen peas, etc.) and it will do the trick—as long as it’s held on the area for at least five minutes.
Note: The only type of puffiness that can be reduced from cold is puffiness that is not normally there. Unfortunately, there is no cure for chronic puffiness and under-eye bags, except for cosmetic surgery.
2. Avoid Yawning
If you stay up past your usual bedtime, chances are you’ll be yawning more, right? When you yawn, your eyes are more likely to water, which creates swelling and puffiness. Excessive yawning is actually the equivalent of crying during a sad movie because of the fluids it creates. So, before you stay up past your bedtime to watch one more episode or to read one more chapter, consider the consequences. This is just one more reason to get a restful night of sleep. After all, it’s called beauty sleep for a reason!
3. Avoid Eating High-Sodium Foods for Dinner
Eating salty, high-sodium foods will encourage the retention of fluids around the eyes, which can result in under-eye puffiness come morning. Regardless of what you eat, drinking a lot of water throughout the day will dramatically control fluid retention around the eyes, so make sure to hydrate! Also, when you go to bed, sleep with your head slightly elevated on an extra pillow. This will help with drainage. (Speaking of puffiness, did you know that this contributes to monthly hormonal breakouts? Read why here.)
There you have it—six tips for reducing puffiness and dark circles around the eyes! Start incorporating these tips into your routine right away to see the difference.
Do you feel like your eye cream isn’t working? Read this post.
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”