They say that the eyes are the window to the soul. But how true are these words? The importance of our eyes in how we communicate and appear to other people cannot be overstated. Studies have shown that eye contact is central to human interaction. It affects how we trust people, how we learn things, and how we demonstrate interest and attraction. With this in mind, it’s understandable that many people want to take special care of the delicate skin around the eyes, as often they’re the first thing that people notice about us!
Unfortunately, some of us struggle with cosmetic issues around the eyes, such as puffiness, dark circles, wrinkles, and eye bags. As many as 72% of Americans identified this area as a concern in 2018. Fortunately, there are many approaches to combatting this problem; the first step is to better understand what causes the different conditions that we might look to correct.
Loosening skin and wrinkles under the eyes is a natural consequence of aging. As we grow, our skin starts to lose collagen, reducing our cells’ ability to renew themselves. It’s also common among those of us with especially expressive faces—there’s a reason crow’s feet are sometimes called “smile lines.” The more we move the skin on our faces, the more likely small wrinkles are to form around the eyes, as well as along the sides of the mouth.
Eye bags, on the other hand, aren’t the same as loosening eye skin. Some people are genetically predisposed to fat pads underneath the eyes that create the impression of puffiness and even dark shadows. Aging can increase the appearance of eye bags, as well as lack of restful sleep, poor diet, allergies, or dehydration.
As for darkness under the eyes, there are a number of possible causes, including low skin elasticity or thinning skin (often a side effect of aging), dull and dehydrated skin, pigmentation, or a combination of lifestyle and genetic contributions. The best way to tell? Gently stretch the skin under the eye and watch for changes to the skin coloration. If the darkness recedes when the skin is stretched, they’re likely due to a loss of skin volume; this could be age-related loss of collagen, the result of weight loss, or an indication that our skin is insufficiently hydrated. If the circles darken when stretched, thinning skin might be the culprit; as the skin thins, blood vessels below the skin become more visible. Finally, if there is no change to the coloration, you might simply have darker pigmentation in the skin itself, potentially due to sun exposure.
One of the most effective skin care ingredients when it comes to wrinkles is retinol, a derivative of vitamin A. It stimulates cell renewal and increases the production of collagen, leading to a smoother, firmer look to the skin. It also facilitates skin resurfacing and can assist with the appearance of dark spots, sun damage, and large pores.
You might notice products on the shelf that combine retinol with peptides. These are amino acids that make up the building blocks from which important proteins, like collagen and elastin, are formed. When included in a skin care routine, they can lead to increased skin elasticity and visibly firmer skin.
These aren’t the only important ingredients in skin care when it comes to combatting cosmetic issues around the eyes. Vitamin C, a very popular ingredient in all sorts of creams, salves and supplements, can brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of dark circles. Early studies show that vitamin C can reduce the production of pigment in the skin in response to sun and age. It’s also a powerful antioxidant and helps to combat the damaging effect of free radicals on our skin.
Hyaluronic acid is a humectant—a moisture-retention ingredient—that appears in a lot of skin care. The molecule will actually bind water to the collagen in the skin, enhancing skin’s firmness, plump appearance, and dewy, radiant glow. It is lightweight, absorbs easily, and is safe to use even on delicate skin around the eyes.
You might also notice caffeine appearing as an ingredient in some skin care solutions, and for good reason! Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning that it shrinks the appearance of blood vessels and reduces inflammation in the skin. This can diminish the appearance of discoloration around the eyes and increase skin’s brightness and tightness.
Oh, and one more thing… SPF! We can’t stress enough how important it is to protect your skin from the sun. In addition to reducing your risk of skin cancers and other ailments, a good daily moisturizer with SPF will reduce discoloration, and regular use of sunglasses will reduce squinting and other wrinkle-related facial stressors.
These are a few dietary and lifestyle changes you can make that will diminish the look of eye bags, puffiness and dark under-eye circles as we. For specific recommendations that suit your needs, consulting a nutritionist, dietician, or dermatologist is a good idea.
If you’re struggling with tired-looking eyes, the cause may be a lack of sufficient rest. Sleep is essential to cell renewal and regeneration. This includes your skin cells, and too little sleep can lead to dull, damaged, and dehydrated skin. If you struggle with getting enough rest, experts suggest you pay careful attention to sleep hygiene, including ensuring your sleep space is comfortable and cool, blocking out light and noise, and keeping to a regular sleep schedule, including turning off all electronics at least a half-hour before bedtime.
Eating a healthy diet consisting of whole foods with less processed foods and salt, can make a huge difference to how you look and feel. Reducing or cutting out your alcohol and tobacco intake can also have a huge impact. In addition to increasing inflammation in the body, alcohol and nicotine interrupt restful sleep and make it harder for the body to carry essential nutrients to the skin cells.
Finally, consider adding facial massage or gua sha to your skin care routine. Gua sha is a massage technique that uses a smooth stone to apply pressure in long strokes to the skin. In addition to being cooling, restful and relaxing, gua sha and facial massage improve circulation to the skin, helping to increase blood flow and revitalizing tired, toneless or loose facial skin.
If you’re looking for a more profound change, consider medical aesthetic treatments specifically designed to target problems with under-eye skin. For sagging skin and wrinkles, customized radio frequency wrinkle reduction treatments with Venus Legacy™ and Venus Versa™ can stimulate the body’s natural production of collagen and elastin, leading to fuller and firmer-looking skin. As for discoloration, consider photofacial treatments via Venus Versa™. Photofacials use targeted pulses of light to target melanin and visible blood vessels, creating a brighter, more even skin tone. Of course, if you’re interested in either of these treatments, you would be best suited to discuss your options with a medical aesthetician who can listen to your needs and work with you to design a treatment plan that will work best for your target goals.
To start your search for a medical aesthetics professional, you can use the Venus Treatments Clinic Finder to find the nearest clinic using the Venus line of treatment devices.
Search below to find a provider near you and to learn about our non-surgical aesthetic treatments with ARTAS®, NeoGraft®, Venus Bliss™, Venus Versa™, Venus Legacy™, Venus Velocity™, Venus Viva™ MD, Venus Freeze Plus™, and Venus Glow™.