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Don’t Be Kept in the Dark: The Truth About Dark Eye Circles

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If only humans could look as adorable as Giant Pandas with dark eye circles, we wouldn’t mind having them.

While there is a dazzling array of eye creams all claiming to erase this skincare concern, just how many of them really can make those pesky shadows under the eyes disappear? Not many perhaps.

Instead of merely depending on skincare products or cosmetics, the right lifestyle habits also play a huge part in minimising their appearance. To do that, we first need to find out the causes dark eye circles.

What gives rise to dark eye circles

Dark eye circles are caused by several factors which all need to be dealt with differently. This could be one reason why the eye creams you’ve been using didn’t seem to work at getting rid of them at all.

Why dark circles appear under the eyes include:

  • Sun damage could be one of the most direct causes of dark eye circles. With the thin and sensitive skin around the eyes, it’s little wonder the sun wreaks havoc on that part of the face.
  • Thin skin around the eyes shows blood flow underneath.
  • Using skincare products or cosmetics that are too harsh, thus affecting the sensitive skin around the eyes.
  • Allergies that cause inflammation to your skin, sinuses, airways or digestive system.
  • Deep-set eyes also give the impression of darker shadows under the eyes.
  • Dark eye circles could be a natural consequence of aging. As we age, the skin around the eyes loses its elasticity and sag, thereby creating dark shadows around the eyes.
  • Dry, dehydrated skin build-up around the eyes causes loss of radiance.
  • The bad habit of rubbing your eyes damages the delicate and sensitive skin around them over time.
  • Dark eye circles could be hereditary too.

What you can do to reduce dark eye circles

Dark eye circles are admittedly not the easiest to get rid of. Which is why it’s good to maintain practical expectations of what eye creams can do for you and restrain yourself from splurging on yet another expensive one as soon as you see it. However, not all is lost. There are several ways to minimize the appearance of dark eye circles.

1) Wear those sunnies more often

Beyond cranking up the style factor, keeping pesky dark circles at bay (or at least stop aggravating them) is a practical excuse to keep flashing those fashionable sunglasses more often. Before you pay for the first pair of sunnies which you think looks great on you, read what’s on the label carefully. It doesn’t mean that the darker the lenses, the more UV rays they’re able to block out. Check that they’re rated UV400 and can block 99-100% UVA and UVB rays.

Also ensure that the sunnies give you a comfortable fit that lines up with your eyebrows. Ill-fitting sunglasses not only let in stray sunlight that defeats the purpose of wearing them to protect your peepers, the sunlight could also reach the delicate skin underneath your eyes and aggravate the look of dark eye circles. Consider choosing wraparound styles instead. These stop light from entering by the side and look way cool as well.

For those of you wearing spectacles, lenses which automatically change to a darker shade once you’re outdoors can also provide some protection against the aggravation of dark eye rings.

2) Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen

We’ve heard and read about this piece of skincare advice way too often. A broad spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30 and above) can protect your skin and delay visible signs of aging, including dark eye circles.

However, not any sunscreen will do. While there isn’t a sunscreen specifically formulated for the thin skin around the eyes, it’s good to choose sunscreens that only contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as the active ingredients. That’s because these are very mild and gentle ingredients with sun-protecting properties that will not irritate the sensitive skin around the eyes (and potentially worsen dark eye circles) like other harsh ingredients in sunscreens do.

3 gentle and effective sunscreens suitable for use around the eyes

Paula’s Choice Resist Super-light Wrinkle Defense SPF 30

A very popular choice as an anti-aging moisturizer with SPF 30, its lightly tinted, mineral-based formulation blends into your skin flawlessly, giving you a soft, matte finish. It contains the sun-protecting zinc oxide that’s mild enough to be used even on the sensitive skin around the eyes. This means that your peepers can enjoy the sun-protecting, anti-aging and moisturizing benefits like the rest of your face. This moisturizer is best used as a last step in your daytime skincare routine before you step out of the house.

Paula’s Choice Resist Cellular Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 25

This enriched moisturizer contains sun-protecting titanium dioxide as the active ingredient which is gentle enough for use around your eyes. Besides offering sun protection to prevent premature aging, its potent blend of antioxidants also help to defend the skin from environmental stressors. This soft, hydrating formulation is best used as a last step in your daytime skincare routine.

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30

This is a good option for protection against sun damage without that heavy, sticky feeling that many sunscreens are associated with. It contains active sun-protecting ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that are gentle for the skin around the eyes as well as a combination of skin-nourishing antioxidants, skin-restoring ceramides and anti-aging peptides that gives the skin that enviable dewy glow. A clinically-proven non-irritating formulation that’s gentle enough for the sensitive skin under the eyes, Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 works wonderfully under makeup and should be your last step in your daytime skincare routine before you step out of the house.

3) Plump up the skin with nutrients at night

The sunscreen you use during the day shouldn’t be too rich as that can easily cause makeup, foundation and concealer to streak under your eyes, making them look unnecessarily older. So it’s good to give your face and eyes a skin-smoothening dose of hydration at night so that the skin around the eyes will stay radiant throughout the day.

2 skincare products that work wonders for your eyes at night

Paula’s Choice Resist Anti-aging Eye Cream

This eye cream is a hydrating formulation of anti-aging ingredients that effectively brightens, soften sand hydrates the sensitive skin around the eyes, minimizing redness and making it younger looking. It works best as a nourishing last step in your night-time skincare routine.

Paula’s Choice Radiance Renewal Whitening Mask

This lightweight gel mask refreshes, hydrates and brightens your complexion in a silky formulation. Gentle enough for the skin around your eyes, it containing Paula’s Choice proprietary multi-brightening complex. Leave it on overnight and let it work its anti-aging and skin-nourishing benefits. Beauty sleep now has a new definition.

4) Consider a brightening product

Just like how a quality skin brightener visibly brightens the skin on the face, it will also improve luminosity under the eyes and minimize the appearance of dark eye circles.

Paula’s Choice Resist Pure Radiance Skin Brightening Treatment is a unique blend of vitamins and plant-based ingredients that naturally hydrates, soothes and revitalizes your skin. The lightweight, silky smooth lotion can be effectively absorbed into your skin or around the eyes. You can also blend it into your sunscreen or undereye concealer and dab it around the eyes for added protection.

5) Try using an undereye concealer

Using a quality concealer could be an effective way to hide those dark eye circles temporarily. With so many different types of concealers out there, choosing a good one can be quite an art.

Here are some handy tips (3Cs) on picking out the concealer that really works at minimizing the appearance of those dark eye circles.

  • Consistency: a concealer that sports a soft, matte finish is better than one that’s too creamy. That’s because the former tends to be longer lasting and don’t form ‘creases’ under your eyes.
  • Color: the color of your under eye concealer should be able to cover dark eye circles adequately. However, it shouldn’t so light that you look like Bozo the Clown with half-finished makeup. Choose a shade that’s no more than 2 shades lighter than your natural skin color.
  • Complexion: there’s a good under eye concealer for every skin type.
    Liquid concealers: one of the most versatile concealers that are suitable for a range of skin types from normal, combination to oily and acne-prone skin.
  • Stick concealers: good for normal, dry and sensitive complexions. If you’ve oily skin, avoid stick concealers as they tend to have an oily sheen (which exacerbates the shiny look of oily skin) and tend to clog up pores.
  • Cream concealers: great for normal, dry, combination and sensitive complexions. These concealers work well for covering dark eye circles and should be set with pressed or loose powder once blended into the skin around the eyes to prevent them from “creasing” into lines or wrinkles.

6) Cultivate good lifestyle habits

Besides using a range of skincare products and cosmetics to reduce the appearance of dark eye circles, good lifestyle habits can play a part as well.

  • Keep your fingers off your eyes: when there’s an irritation in the eyes, the first instinct is to rub. Avoid doing that as the rubbing motion can damage the delicate skin and blood vessels around and under the eyes, worsening those dark shadows.
  • Get your beauty sleep: the lack of sleep generally causes the complexion to turn pale, accentuating any dark shadows under the eyes.
  • Get rid of nasal congestion: a blocked nose may lead to dark eye circles when the veins around your sinuses are darkened and dilated.
  • Minimize salt intake: excessive salt intake can impair blood circulation, causing blood vessels under the thin skin around the eyes to appear more ‘blue’. Drink more water and eat more fruits and vegetables to improve blood circulation.
  • Quit smoking: smoking triggers a whole host of problems including vascular (blood vessels) issues, making blood vessels appear bluer and contributing to the dark shadows under the eyes.

While dark eye circles are some of the most enduring skincare issues, there’s no lack of ways which we can reduce their appearances. You just need to discover what works for you.

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