By Katie Wright
They say the eyes are the window to the soul, but the eyes are the window that reveals exactly how tired we really are.
After just one night of sub-optimal kip our peepers give the game away – add weeks of sleepless nights and we reach hollow-eyed zombie status. Why do our eyes betray us in this way?
“The skin of the eye area is one-third the thickness of the skin on the cheek, making it much more vulnerable to damage and more visually affected by lifestyle, illness or stress. This results in us seeing dark circles, puffiness and eye bags,” explains Julia Stewart, head of training for Shiseido.
“Dark circles and eye bags are notoriously difficult to eliminate,” says Dr Alex Granite, consultant dermatologist at Mallucci London.
But there are steps you can take to prevent, treat and – if need be – hide your eye issues – and you might be surprised by how simple some of them are.
Protect your eyes from the sun
“Sun exposure can often make dark circles worse as it increases the melanin content,” says cosmetic dermatologist Dr Simon Zokaie, medical director of the Linia Skin Clinic on Harley Street. “So wearing sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses is important.”
“One simple tip is to stay hydrated, as dehydration, especially after overindulging in salty foods and alcohol, can definitely exacerbate the appearance of eye bags,” says Dr Granite.
Get a good eye cream
Lighter is better when it comes to eye products, says GP and aesthetics doctor Kalpna Pindolia. “Creams applied to the area can be heavy and gels may contribute to puffiness, so lighter serums tend to be a better vehicle for topical potions.”
Julia Stewart recommends Shiseido’s Ultimune Eye Power Infusing Concentrate, a lightweight serum designed to boost the function of the Langerhans cells, which play a vital role in defending the skin from damage from the environment, stress and ageing.
“The formula is clinically proven to decrease friction damage by 30 per cent, ensuring that this delicate area is protected from damage and that dark circles and eye bags are minimised when rubbing eyes, applying and removing make-up and even sleeping,” Stewart says.
Try natural remedies
You don’t have to spend a fortune to find effective temporary relief for tired eyes.
“Puffy eyes can be a concern when you wake up but they usually settle quickly with eyelid movement which helps to reabsorb any residual fluid,” says Dr Pindolia. “But if you need a little help, there are some quick fixes.
“Some of the more ‘natural’ techniques include the use of cucumber or potato slices, cotton pads soaked in milk, caffeinated teabags or the application of cold spoons. They help constrict the blood vessels, which reduces puffiness and gives a lighter appearance around the eye.”
Penelope Tympanidis, consultant dermatologist and founder of Dermaperfect on Harley Street, says chamomile tea bag compresses can work wonders.
“Make yourself a pot of this soothing tea and, once it has cooled, either use the bag or soak an eye pad in the tea, squeeze off the excess liquid and spend a good ten minutes or so relaxing with them on your eyes.”
Conceal and cover
While eye creams and treatments take time to work, make-up is an instant fix for dark circles. Dr Pindolia recommends using colour correcting products.
“Peach or orange tones can reduce the blue hue caused by superficial blood vessels.
“A good concealer, a shade lighter than the skin, can also cover dark circles and areas of hyperpigmentation.”
Consider an aesthetic treatment
“If dark circles and undereye bags do not seem to budge with at home measures such as cool compresses, emollients and concealer, consider consulting with an aesthetic practitioner to see if undereye (tear trough) filler is an option for you,” Dr Granite says.
“For many, this is an effective, long lasting option to help minimise the appearance of the dark circles and eye bags.”