January 19, 2011

Fix It - Dark Circles & Puffiness Under Eyes

Grab a cup of something, sit back, and read on! It's a lengthy post this time, but it's jam-packed with  helpful information I didn't want to split up into different parts!

Back in the end of September, I did a blog post about concealing those aggravating under-eye circles that have plagued me (and many of you) for quite some time.

Not a black eye! I swear!
The "technical term" for these dark circles is Periorbital Discoloration.
There are a few reasons this aggravating discoloration occurs, including genetics, lack of sleep, allergies, medications, and sometimes even food allergies. You're asking the same question I once did- "Yeah, I know I have them... But how do I get rid of them?" Depending on the severity of the discoloration, there are a few options. The most invasive would be some type of surgery. While aggravating to try and deal with- I'm sure you're thinking the same thing I did. "Sure, these things bug me... But isn't that a little too far off the edge?!" Hence, we use skills and a little "magic" to hide these puppies.

For those of you which are predisposed to this condition by genetics, you may notice that the circles under your eyes are darker than other folks. This is because the skin which makes up our periorbital socket is some of the thinnest found on our bodies. Bluish tints will be noticeable due to vessels which are found very close to the surface of the skin, carrying oxygen-rich blood to various places. If you have deep set eyes and high cheekbones, you also might find you're dealing with shadowing in addition to the already-tinted half circles under your eyes. Age also plays a part in this discoloration- the older you get, the less elasticity your skin has because it's losing collagen- which translates into our skin being more translucent and showing off more imperfections.

Additionally, any sort of skin condition that induces rubbing or itching around the eyes will also find there is typically irritation, and subsequent darkening, under and around their eyes. Allergies, asthma, eczema, head colds, and food allergies will certainly not help in trying to keep the dark circles at bay. In this case, the "bags" under the eyes may look more like smudges, along with some red irritated skin from rubbing/touching, but they typically aren't as defined or dark as those who have severe discoloration.

Image from The Daily Puppy
One of the most common suspects for these unwelcome guests is lack of sleep. We've all seen that when we're sick, and don't get much sleep... It seems in a matter of hours the usually tame skin under your eyes go from looking decent to horror-movie-makeup-esque. It's a scary thing, indeed. When our system is run down, fatigued, and worn out- the eyes is one of the first places to reflect this. Why? When we're not feeling well, blood flow can slow down, our skin becomes lighter- and there you have it... The culprit. Paler complexion means more the bluish tint of our blood becomes more noticeable, especially under the thin skin of our eyes.

Anemia can also contribute to these dark circles, so during that time of the month and in general, always make sure you have enough iron in your diet. You can increase your iron intake by eating red meat, any kind of tinned or fresh beans, hummus (one of my favorites!), venison, beef, seaweed, figs, prunes, oatmeal, etc.
You can also alleviate some of the darkness and help your absorption of iron by eating Vitamin C rich foods, with the same meal- which include lots of fresh veggies! Kale, broccoli, cabbage, peppers and brussels sprouts. If cooked, make sure they're blanched or cooked until no longer crunchy- the more tender they are, less of the vitamins and minerals stick around. You can also eat fruits such as blueberries, kiwis, oranges, lemons (if you're odd, like me!), black currants, and mangoes!

Now, I do find when my allergies are bothering me, or I'm sick... I tend to get puffy around my eyes. As if the half moons under my eyes aren't bad enough- now I'm looking like a bobble eye fish because of swelling. Great!

The technical term for swelling around the eyes is Preorbital Puffiness or Edema.
The slang term when we say "I have bags under my eyes" most often refers to puffiness, but can also include darkening of the half-moons under the eyes as well.
Many factors contribute to swelling and puffiness of the under (or even around) eye area, with similarities to darker discoloration under the eyes which include fatigue, illness, allergies, age and skin disorders. Different causes may be water retention due to too much sodium in your diet, certain medications, pregnancy, menstruation, oversleeping (yes, it can happen!), and certain other diseases which can be referenced on the Wiki page. Crying will also make our eyes puff- so don't be too alarmed if that's why you're looking a little extra piqued.

There are a few ways to help alleviate puffiness around the eyes- if you're having an allergic reaction due to seasonal allergies, an anti-histamine medication will be the first step in taking it down for you. Slicing a fresh, refrigerated cucumber into circular slices and placing them on your eyes for 15-20 minutes will help relieve swelling- the antioxidants found in a cucumber draw out the toxins, and will rejuvenate and moisturize your eyes.
You can also steep two green tea bags in hot water, then remove and refrigerate for a half hour. Remove the tea bags and place them on your eyes like you would the cucumber, and leave for 15-20 minutes. The antioxidants in green tea are more powerful than the cuke, and the chilled bags will help constrict the blood vessels under your eyes- which means restricted blood flow, therefore reducing puffiness and alleviating the blueish tint we all tend to detest. Or, you can use one of those gel-eye packs found in the allergy or beauty aisle of your local drugstore or supermarket. Even more simple... A chilled washcloth also works!
*Please note, if you're using the tea-bag method, always use green tea. Black tea will stain your skin!!!

This one may shock you, but it totally makes sense. Do you still have puffiness? Well, go raid your medicine cabinet... Or get ready to go to the pharmacy. You're going to need Preparation H hemorrhoid cream. Yes, read it again- you're seeing it correctly. That stuff that's supposed to be used on your bum works absolute miracles on eye puffiness. I swear, I wouldn't lead you astray. This stuff works! Now, I personally haven't needed to use it... But I have relatives and friends who have. Each swear by it. It stays in the makeup bag- so in case an errant husband or boyfriend doesn't grab it- because face it, we don't want something we use on our face used elsewhere. Even if it is meant for use in other places. I've watched the effects of how this proves to work most awesomely by one of my close relatives- and no, names will not be disclosed! It's none of my immediate family I will tell you! I watched as the cream was applied... and in a matter of minutes, the moderate bagginess turned into smooth, beautiful skin. I was astounded! Now since this was years ago, and they've changed the formula of Prep-H so that you'll need to be careful when you purchase this product. The key ingredient you're looking for? LYCD (Live Yeast Cell Derivative). Yep, that's right. Yeast Cells! However- a tip I was able to find online is that the formula that contains LYCD is available in Canada.... Which you can get by clicking ~*here!*~ The regular formula purchased here doesn't have great reviews for helping the face... So, if you've been helped by it or know someone that has... Please leave a comment below!!!

Once through these highly therapeutic treatments, it's time to put some makeup on that face! Simply looking like a raccoon just won't do- and a little touch of makeup is typically needed.

Product photo from e.l.f.

 First, make sure you always rinse your face with cool-cold water. Again- this will constrict blood vessels, and also tighten your pores. Always put moisturizer on first, and make sure to work into your skin very well. After this is done, I tend to grab a color-correcting quad and I start getting to work. This one I use is e.l.f's Complexion Perfection, and it has all four colors combined in to one sleek little compact.
Now, you can use each of these colors separately, but I find if you sweep a foundation brush or big fluffy brush (like a kabuki) across all four colors and swipe on your entire face, it will nicely reduce any bright colors in your complexion. Go back and do touch ups with the individual colors for more correcting coverage!
The green neutralizes redness (typically I use it on my cheeks, around my nose, and a swipe on my forehead)
The blue neutralizes orange (used on cheeks, forehead, chin and nose; tend to mix with green)
The pink neutralizes gray (great for under eyes!!)
The yellow neutralizes and brightens and neutralizes red

Product Photo from My Beauty Addiction
Next, I use a concealer/highlighter combination on my eyes on good days. On not so good ones, I use a stronger concealer. To get going on the easy days, after I've applied moisturizer- I then apply a swipe of my eyeshadow primer under my eyes. Hey- it works for keeping shadows put, it sure better keep my concealer in place! And it does!

So after letting the primer set for about a minute (roughly), then go ahead and pat on some of the highlighter on the inside corners of your eyes. This will help brighten your face and make your eyes appear wide awake! Now, the highlighter really can't be worn alone- so go ahead and with your finger, or a cosmetic sponge, pat some of the concealer all over the "bags" under your eyes.

Product Photo from e.l.f.
Allow about 30 seconds for it to dry, and then set with translucent powder. Sometimes, you can still see the dark circles- if that's the case, apply concealer again and set once more with powder. You can also layer on a spot or two of your foundation for extra coverage- always remember to set it with translucent powder!! This will ensure long-term coverage for the day. If you need more coverage, feel free to use a thicker concealer! Make sure you blend it in rather well- we don't want eyes looking "cakey" underneath... That's never attractive.

Once that's been finished, I go ahead and finish my foundation routine. Because I use a powdered foundation, I use it as my "translucent powder". Any little bit of coverage I can get for my bags- the better! You can do the same as well. After that's been done, I go ahead and play up my eyes!

You do want to remember that if your eyes are unusually watery, or red and irritated and leaking discharge- do not apply makeup!! You do not want to risk damage to your eyes by applying makeup and having it result in many potential, and sometimes serious injuries. Additionally, if it's some sort of bacterial infection you have and makeup is applied, you'll keep reinfecting your peepers because all of your tools have remnants of the bacteria lingering. Eek!
Remember: It's ok to not put anything on your eyes or face for a day or two! It allows your face to breathe, and you can indulge in some DIY home spa treatment!

xoxoxo ~*Snarky P


  1. awsomeness.... i have all of the elf stuff i love love the correcting quad......

  2. great information! much gratitude.

  3. nice post
    You have given the information step by step
    So v can able to understand it more quickly
    thank you

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  4. We list down some simple and easy Eye Bags Home Remedies which will help you to rid of dark circles. The best Eye Bags Treatment is available at your home itself.

  5. I have somewhat dark circles under my eyes. I use dermalmd under eye serum every morning and night and it brightens them up so much to the point where I don't even wear concealer anymore. Love it!

  6. Great blog post and really helpful...... and your blog are very interesting and inspiring.
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  7. I've had a issue of puffiness and dark circles under my eyes from allergies and stress. I have been using dermalmd under eye treatment serum two times a day and there is an awesome difference in the appearance of under my eyes. The results were apparent with a few days of use. I'm very satisfied with the results, especially with respect to the decrease in puffiness.

  8. great information! much gratitude.
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