I looked in the mirror one day recently and was a little startled at my reflection. The bags under my eyes were incomparable to anything I’ve ever seen. Immediately, I began my search for information on ways to banish dark circles. Luckily, I came across an abundance of tricks that I started to try immediately, because while they weren't the end of the world, of course, I wanted them to leave my face ASAP.
Dark circles are no fun — especially if you find them almost impossible to get rid of. They make you look completely exhausted, even if that isn’t the case for you at all, which is just a bummer. On me, they make me feel like I’m wearing a mask that I want to take off right away. If you’ve dealt with dark circles before, I’m sure you can relate on some level. Likely, you’re itching to find a way to make them go away (or at least appear to go away with the power of the right makeup).
Ultimately, while I’m spending time being concerned over how I look when I have dark circles, what I really should be worried about is what they say about my lifestyle. Dark circles, as we’ll get to in this article, can be caused by a diet filled with too much salt and alcohol, by neglecting to practice the right skin care regime, by getting too little sleep, and more. Time to make some necessary changes, and stick to them. Here are eight really simple ways to banish dark circles in no time.
1. Nix The Salt
If you’re someone who adds salt to almost everything you eat, stop right there. Salt in excess is not a good friend to us for multiple reasons (it can have negative effects on our kidneys, bones, and heart just to name a couple, according to Medical Daily), but did you know if also has an effect on the way our face looks? Freaky! According to WebMD, water has a knack for finding its way to the areas of our body that are high in sodium. WebMD said the area around our eyes is a prime example of this. Ever noticed that after a salty meal, your hands start to swell up, and the next morning your eyes are puffier than normal? This is why.
2. Get Control Over Your Allergies
According to Real Simple, many people get dark circles under their eyes because of seasonal allergies. According to Ranelle Hirsch, a dermatologist in Boston, this is because allergies “trigger the release of histamines in the body, which in turn inflame blood vessels and cause swelling.” If you think allergies are to blame in your case, it’s a simple fix. Real Simple suggested heading to your local drug store and grabbing an over-the-counter antihistamine.
3. Always Take Your Makeup Off Before Going To Sleep
This one is incredibly tricky for me. While I don’t wear a lot of makeup to begin with — usually just mascara and bronzer — I never, ever want to wash my face at night because I’m just flat-out too lazy. However, it’s really important to wash off that makeup we’re donning at the end of the day for many reasons, including its negative effect on the skin under our eyes. According to WebMD, sleeping with makeup on our eyes can cause our eyes to water throughout the night, and therefore cause a case of morning-after puffiness.
4. Wash Your Face With Cold Water
While hot water might feel nice on our skin, especially on a cold night, avoid the temptation! Jessica Wu, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, told Allure that — for the benefit of dark circles — choose cold water. Wu noted washing your face with hot water “worsens puffiness and can accentuate dark circles.”
After you’ve washed your face, try then using a cool compress, as recommended by Mayo Clinic. They suggested wetting a washcloth with cool water and applying it to the skin around and under your eyes. Do this for a few minutes while applying mild pressure.
5. Get The Right Eye Cream
Eye cream — you wonderful creation, you. Allure suggested using a retinol cream that’s especially formulated for the eyes, like RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream. According to Allure, retinol will help fade pigment and increase collagen production. This will make skin less transparent, and therefore, dark circles less visible.
6. Trust The Power Of Concealer
Concealer can be a lifesaver for those with terrible dark circles. The trick is knowing which one to choose. According to Elle, a good rule of thumb when choosing a concealer to cover dark circles is practicing color theory, such that opposite colors on the color wheel will cancel each other out. Elle noted, for instance, that if you’re trying to cover up a purple hue of dark circle under your eye opt for a yellow-toned concealer, if you have redness, use a green-toned concealer to cancel it out, and if the tint under your eyes is more of the traditional blueish, go for a peach color.
7. Get Enough Sleep (And Do So With An Extra Pillow)
There's a reason people say things like, "Wow, it looks like you haven't slept in days!" when you're sporting mega-bags under your eyes. According to LIVESTRONG, sleep deprivation contributes a tremendous amount to the appearance of dark circles. The outlet suggested sticking to about eight to 10 hours of sleep each night, if manageable. Before you hit the hay, add an extra pillow to your bed. LIVESTRONG noted by propping your head up overnight you’ll help prevent unwanted fluid from building up under your eyes. That fluid makes the dark circles more apparent (and leads to that dreaded puffiness).
8. Limit How Much Booze You Consume
Before you reach for that next drink this coming weekend, think of your skin. According to WebMD, alcohol has the power to dehydrate us, sucking the water right out of our skin. The outlet noted the area under our eyes gets affected by this, and then exudes the appearance of being sucken in and dark. Those mornings after a night of heavy drinking when you look in the mirror and actually startle yourself? There you have it.
By becoming familiar with and practicing some of the above tricks, you can start noticing a change in those dark circles in no time. On my end, I’m going to be doing these as well in hopes that I won’t continue to scare myself with my reflection in the mornings.