If “the eyes are the windows to the soul,” what are your eyes saying to others? Under-eye issues detract from natural beauty and may indicate problems such as allergies, diet, unrestful sleep positions, or lack of sleep. These are some of the most common causes of dark and puffy eyes: 

  • Genetics. Genetics are some of the biggest culprits. If fair or thin skin has been inherited, it will be quite obvious if blood pools as a result of fatigue or slow circulation. This accumulation of blood causes fragile capillaries to stretch and leak. 
  • Seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies trigger the release of histamines, which inflame blood vessels and create swelling. 
  • Age. Over time, skin becomes thinner because the body produces less collagen. Veins then become more visible. Overexposure to sun will accelerate the process by breaking down collagen and disrupting skin color. 

To determine the cause of tired and puffy eyes, gently stretch the skin beneath them. If the area becomes darker, the problem is likely caused by genetics or aging. If the color remains the same, allergies or UV rays are possibly to blame. 

Options for Treatment 

If circles under the eyes are the results of vascular problems, add extra pillows to the bed at night for an inclined position. These will reduce the blood that pools under the eyes. In the morning, apply a cold compress to constrict the blood vessels. Leave it on for approximately 5 minutes, and try eye creams with caffeine to help constrict blood vessels. Additionally, Arnica-based creams are believed to be anti-inflammatory and can minimize dark shadows. Creams with grapeseed oil or green tea will help strengthen capillary walls. Dietary changes are helpful as well. An ounce of flavonol-rich dark chocolate every day may prove beneficial, and foods with omega-3 fatty acids, such as walnuts and salmon, can improve blood flow to the skin. 

For circles caused by seasonal allergies, a preemptive over-the-counter antihistamine before allergies become burdensome may ease the emergence of shadows. 

Use a collagen-building cream for thin skin. Vitamin C can help brighten skin tone as well, and wearing sunscreen every day is vital. Without it, the benefits of any eye-care strategies are negated. 

Water buildup due to allergies, sinus infections, or colds commonly leads to water buildup under the eyes. Heavily salted foods and crying can also cause puffiness in the mornings. This is caused by osmosis. Water travels from areas in the body with low salt concentration to areas where there is more salt. 

There are several ways to relieve these temporary issues. For hay fever, over-the-counter allergy medications may be helpful. Consult with a doctor as well. Neti pots are useful tools for irrigating nasal cavities. Similar to small tea pots, neti pots can relieve fluid buildup. Simply switching sleep positions can even bring some relief. Due to gravity, sleeping on the side or on the stomach encourages fluids to collect below the eyes. Heavier bags will likely accumulate on the side that is slept on most often. Sleeping on the back while adding extra pillows for an inclined position is ideal.

Other everyday habits contribute to morning eye puffiness too. These include frequent eye-rubbing, sleeping with makeup, and excessive drinking. Makeup can irritate the eyes and encourage fluids to pool there. Heavy alcohol consumption leads to dehydration, which weakens the delicate skin around the eyes, making it more likely to sag.

Sagginess under the eyes is generally not health-related. If the bags appear suddenly, however, and are not related to a cold, sinus infection, or allergies – and are not relieved by the actions above – it is advisable to consult with a medical professional. Kidney or thyroid problems can lead to fluid retention under the eyes. 

When dark circles and sagginess linger, the cause may not be a temporary condition. This is where genetics are a factor. Pigmentary issues under the eyes are especially common among people of African or Asian descent. Oftentimes, dark circles do not pertain to skin color at all, however. Instead, they are caused by a loss of volume in the area. This exposes the orbital bone, creating a hollow gap that appears as a dark circle, and may appear as early as the late 30s. 

Makeup helps to conceal dark circles. A concealer that matches skin tone should suffice. If the discoloration is mild, a liquid product will be most efficient. If the shadows are prominent, opt for a cream or cake concealer. Other options are more expensive, but effective. These include intense pulse light, which destroys the pigment cells and smoothes the skin. Skin lightening creams containing kojic acid or hydroquinone may also be beneficial. There are several basic preventative steps that can be taken to minimize the emergence of dark, puffy, or saggy eyes. Applying moisturizer daily, for instance, will likely have a significant impact. Smoking and exposure to the sun’s harmful rays weaken collagen and lead to wrinkling and sagging. Therefore, it is helpful to always apply sunscreen and refrain from smoking. Consider adding a prescription retinoic acid to a daily regimen. It contains vitamin A, so it can improve existing lines and prevent further wrinkling. To relieve puffiness, cucumber slices, cool tea bags or spoons, or a package of frozen peas can be placed under the eyes. This will reduce swelling. A hemorrhoid cream may help eliminate puffiness as well. 

Hyaluronic fillers can resolve concerns associated with hollow eyes. It is important to seek the assistance of a highly experienced professional to perform this procedure, however. Success is very dependent on technique. The filler must be injected deep under the muscle instead of merely the superficial layers of the skin. When completed incorrectly, puffiness will linger. Eyelid surgery is the most invasive option for minimizing hollow appearances under the eyes. Depending on the circumstances, this procedure may consist of fat removal or repositioning, or the addition of fat grafts. Lasers are also used to add firmness to the skin. To begin the process of eliminating the effects of fatigue and aging from the eyes, begin with a placental protein product such as the Relumins Undereye Serum and Jade Roller we offer at Flawless Beauty and Skin.