Fixing Dark Circles, Puffy Eyes and Bags Under the Eyes

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Dark circles around the eyes might look cute on a raccoon. But puffy eyes and under-eye bags just make us look haggard, wrinkled and way beyond our years. Here are some tips and treatments to help restore a healthy gleam to your eyes:

What Causes Dark Circles and Bags Under the Eyes

1. Thin Skin

The area under the eye is quite literally thin-skinned. With a thickness of 0.5mm (compare that with 2mm for other areas of the body), blood flows through the veins closer to the surface of the skin, which results in dark circles that usually appear bluish in tint. The skin’s thinness also makes it extremely delicate and sensitive. Harsh product, rubbing or any other trauma or irritation can lead to inflammation, which causes the skin under the eyes to look puffy and discolored.

2.  Getting Older

As we age, collagen-loss leads to even thinner skin and darker circles under the eyes. Also, the face loses fat, muscle and bone. These changes will eventually make a hollow grove under the eyes (called the nasojugal groove), causing shadows to fall in the area and giving the appearance of dark circles and sunken eyes. Fatty tissue can also bulge out from the trough, creating bags under the lower eyelid.

3. Genetics

It’s possible that genetics may be to blame for hyperpigmentation. Dark circles can be an inherited trait that often cast a tan or brown hue under the eyes.

4. Allergies

Seasonal allergies and certain skin conditions, like eczema, have been known to make dark circles under the eyes worse. Capillaries can swell and blood can pool around the eyes, making them appear puffy and red.

How to Fix or Remove Eye bags and Dark Circles

Treatments for dark circles and bags under the eyes depend on their cause and their severity, and should be prescribed accordingly. For example, certain skincare ingredients may brighten skin in cases of mild hyperpigmentation, but laser treatments to smooth the skin and even visible blood vessels might be necessary for extremely darkened pigment. A color-correcting concealer (green combats redness, pink acts as a brightener) may cover minor darkness under the eyes, while deeper eye bags caused by herniated fat might need a minimally-invasive procedure like a dermal filler. We always recommend seeing an expert in beauty at Smooth Synergy to understand treatment options and to address your individual skincare needs. Here are a few skincare treatments that range from quick fixes to lasting results for your under-eye concerns:

1. Cool It

You might have thought cucumbers under the eyes was an old wives tale. But, for simple cases of eye puffiness, things like cold cucumbers, potatoes, cool rags, gel masks and, even, chilled spoons can help. In fact, chilled, caffeinated teabags contain tannins, which work as a natural diuretic — known to decrease puffiness. Just make sure that anything you place under the eye isn’t so cold that it does damage to delicate skin, and that you leave it on your eyes for at least 10 minutes for best results.

2. Shop the Pharmacy

A few remedies can be found in aisles of your drug store. If you have allergies, a round of antihistamine like Zyrtec can help keep dark circles or puffiness at bay. Preparation H (yes, you read that right) really does constrict blood vessels and minimize red blood cell seepage, but be careful it’s not too harsh for skin. Give it a spot-test before slathering it on, and don’t wait until that special night on the town to try it out for the first time.

3. Seek Out Intelligent Skin Care Ingredients

Topical skincare products contain ingredients that target specific concerns. For example, Vitamin C or Vitamin K-infused skincare products are known to brighten dark pigment. And a broad-spectrum sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide will keep hyperpigmentation in check. To combat thinning skin, look for a skincare product with retinol to encourage collagen production. With repeated use of a product containing retinol, the skin under the eye will recover volume and firmness, diminishing under-eye hollows and lightening discoloration (an additional benefit: retinol also works on fine lines).

4. Get Your Fill

Injectable fillers, such as Juvederm®, Restylane® and Belotero®, fill in the hollow trough that occurs between the cheek and eyelid, creating an even plane underneath the eye and minimizing the appearance of dark circles and bags. Fillers are often the best option for people who want a fix for stubborn under eye problems, but don’t want the risks and downtime typically accompanying plastic surgery. They are particularly useful under the eyes because of their  soft-gel profile, which creates a subtle yet youthful transformation to the eyes.

At Smooth Synergy, we pride ourselves on our ability to answer all your questions and concerns. Please call us at 212-397-0111, to find out which under-eye treatment option is best for you.


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