By Chere Di Boscio
They eyes are the windows to the soul, they say – and more. Due to the fact that they’re surrounded by think, fragile skin, they also speak volumes about your age and overall. It’s here that wrinkles first appear, as well as dark circles and eye bags – which are actually the result of the natural fat pad that sits under the eye falling, causing puffiness.
Additionally, our eyes are often what people notice about us first – no wonder we spend a small fortune on eye care products and makeup, including shadows, mascaras, eye liners, under eye concealers, primers, creams – you name it.
Whilst hiding our imperfections is one route to looking better, prevention is always the best strategy. To learn how to prevent and cure under eye circles and wrinkles naturally, we spoke to one of the most knowledgeable experts out there: Dr. Debbie Palmer, Board Certified Dermatologist, Medical Director and Co-Founder of Dermatology Associates of New York and creator of natural skincare brand Replere.
So, what causes dreaded dark circles?
We have thinning of our fat layer or under eye volume loss, which can make the eyes seem darker and more hollow. Other causes of dark under eye circles include allergies, heredity, smoking, hyperpigmentation from sun damage, alcohol or caffeine consumption, sleep deprivation and dehydration.
What causes that little fat pad under the eye to puff out?
A fat herniation is when the fat pad under the eye shifts out of place. When herniation has become more prominent, surgical correction may be needed.
What causes wrinkles, really?
With photo-aging from ultraviolet rays of the sun, our dermal layer of skin loses collagen and elastin, which gives our skin its fullness and elasticity. With repeated motion of the skin, this thinner skin begins to show fine lines and wrinkles. We commonly see this around the eyes as “crow’s feet” or “laugh lines”.
How can we avoid wrinkles around the eye?
Apply a titanium dioxide or zinc oxide sunscreens, which are less inflammatory, to limit possible sun induced hyperpigmentation. Sunscreen also protects the skin from damaging UV rays that can break down collagen and thin the skin in this location, causing wrinkles. Also, wear UVA/UVB blocking sunglasses and to avoid rubbing the eyes as this can cause inflammation and swelling, leading to wrinkles.
Can fillers be used under the eyes to make them look less hollow or dark?
Yes, I commonly treat this area with hyaluronic acid fillers like Juvederm or Restylane. They can help replace the volume that is lost with age.
How can makeup be used to hide dark circles?
To hide dark under eye circles, I recommend to patients to apply a topical antioxidant in the morning under their makeup, like Replere® Renew & Firm Eye Serum. I then recommend priming with a color corrector, pink for fair skin and peach for medium to dark skin, before layering a concealer.
What are more preventative steps to avoid dark circles?
Apply a titanium dioxide or zinc oxide sunscreen, which are less inflammatory, to limit possible sun induced hyperpigmentation. The sunscreen also protects the skin from damaging UV rays that can break down collagen and thin the skin in this location, making blood vessels that are already there more visible. Wear UVA/UVB blocking sunglasses and to avoid rubbing the eyes as this can cause inflammation and swelling and possible skin darkening.
Is there any other kind of treatment for those of us who have them?
Use both topical and oral antioxidants to decrease inflammation, even out skin tone and increase collagen production. A thicker layer of collagen conceals superficial vessels, making them less apparent and making discoloration less apparent. Topical retinoids even out skin tone and increase collagen production, and products containing glycolic, azelaic and salicylic acids increase collagen production and even skin discoloration.
What can be done for puffiness?
It is possible to tighten the skin around the eyes with topical creams, and fractional laser resurfacing. Avoid salt and alcohol, due to water retention that can worsen swelling. Avoid salt and alcohol, due to water retention that can worsen the problem. I also recommend sleeping on two pillows at night to avoid swelling in the morning.
Use both topical and oral antioxidants to decrease inflammation, even out skin tone and increase collagen production. A thicker layer of collagen conceals superficial vessels, making them less apparent and making discoloration less apparent. Topical retinoids even out skin tone and increase collagen production, as do products containing glycolic, azelaic and salicylic acids increase collagen production and even skin discoloration. Again, I recommend our serum for this.
Besides fillers, are there any dermatological treatments we can use to make the skin on our eyes look tighter and more refreshed?
Other procedures that can be performed around the eyes to refresh them include chemical peels, and Botox.
What is Quercetin and how does it help our eyes?
Quercetin is an antioxidant flavonoid widely found in nature. Because it is an antioxidant, it has anti-inflammatory benefits. It is one of the most abundant dietary flavonoids with an average of 25-50 mgs being consumed daily. Foods containing quercetin include: red kidney beans, capers, dill, cilantro, red onion, radicchio, kale, cranberry, sweet potato, blueberry, apples, broccoli and black or green tea.
How is Tocopheryl acetate good for our eyes?
It is also known as vitamin E acetate. It does not oxidize as readily as free tocopherol (vitamin E) and can penetrate through the skin where it is converted to free tocopherol. It is an antioxidant and provides anti-inflammatory benefits.
Tried and Tested Eye Products
This delightfully scented eye cream – which smells a bit like sugared vanilla popcorn – does everything you need: green tea and coffee extracts reduce inflammation and increase circulation around the eye area, while aloe vera, rosehip oil and vitamin E reduce fine lines. By far 100% Pure’s best selling eye cream, and there’s a reason for that!
Our rating: 4.5/5 This felt mild going on and is a hydrating cream, which sounds like a contradiction because it’s also a very light diuretic, slightly reducing the water under the skin that causes puffiness. This cream is nice and rich, so I actually use it on my dry spots, between the brows, on the chin and around the eyes too. Not very cost effective, but efficient!
This stick concealer goes on easily and isn’t as drying as some other brands I’ve tried, but to be honest, I felt that the coverage was a bit too sheer for me. This brand is 100% natural, cruelty free and halal, and contains triglyceride, olive, argan and coconut oils, as well as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to help protect the skin around the eyes from the sun.
Our rating: 3/5 The sheer coverage is probably perfect for someone with slight discolouration around the eyes – I personally need a bit more on most days. But I love how hydrating this is, and the fact that it protects you from sun damage.
3. Cardea Luxe
This is a great high tech eye care product with zero nasties. It contains After several weeks of using this, I seriously noticed the dark circles under my eyes were lighter, and I felt my eyelids were a bit tighter, too. So I started using it on my neck…let’s see what happens! If you’re not impressed with this cream, the brand does offer a “no questions asked” unconditional 30-day, 100% money back refund policy. But I doubt you’ll use that!
Our rating: 5/5 A really awesome cream that shows results thanks to high tech ingredients like hyaluronic acids, peptides and retinyl palmitate (Vitamin A).
4. PHB Mascara
If your lashes don’t look good, your eyes don’t look good, so mascara is probably the most important item in most women’s makeup bags. It opens up the eye, darkens and thickens lashes and transforms our faces pretty dramatically. But a good one is hard to find: it has to be smudge proof, non-clumping, and effective. I’ve tried dozens of mascara brands and I was always pretty disappointed – until now.
This is the best mascara I have ever tried. It’s completely natural with no harsh chemicals that could irritate your eyes, and good lord, it works! Living in London, we have many seriously damp days. With long eyelashes like mine, that means blinking often leaves smudges under my eye. Sometimes, really big, embarrassing ones. But never, ever with this brand!
Our rating: 5/5 You need to try this. Now. Lengthening, thickening, long lasting and nourishing, it will seriously change your life.
A staple to your eye-depuffing items! Made from 95% organic aloe water, your eye area will drink up all of the beneficial active ingredients. Coffee, green tea and Yerba Mate extracts all work to reduce inflammation and increase circulation, and cucumber de-puffs while making you feel like you’re at a five-star spa. Tip: keep these in the refrigerator and put them on before a big event!
Our rating: 4/5 These feel super refreshing going on, and though I didn’t notice any major change in the state of my very red, jetlagged eyes after a 12 hour flight, I did feel much more alert and my eyes were more willing to stay open.
It’s essential to offset gorgeous eyes with gorgeous brows and this waxy eye pencil lets you do just that. The taupe shade I tried seemed too light when I first opened the tube, but when it was applied, it actually matched my natural brow shade perfectly. The fine, angled tip allows for precision application, and because the product is slightly waxy, it keeps brows in place but somehow manages to stay on for ages without smearing.
Our rating: 5/5 The perfect eye pencil for anyone who wants fuller, lusher brows using an all natural product. My only complaint is that over time, the mechanism to put the pencil up and down broke, leaving it in a permanent ‘up’ state.
Containing natural ingredients like rose oil and caviar extract, this is an intensely rich, hydrating cream that’s super for mature skin. As dehydration has a serious affect on the appearance of our eyes, using a cream directly under the eye can make a serious difference. This not only smells and feels great, it Perfect for dry skin or for those over 30, this is a powerful lifting formula that restores youthful facial contours and retexturizes the skin. It was scientifically developed with nourishing caviar extract, which is naturally rich in glycine and proline – essential amino acids, part of the skin’s natural bio-feedback mechanism, which stimulates collagen synthesis.
Our rating: 4/5