From packing on many coats of concealer to applying ice to our under-eyes, there are great lengths many of us with dark eye circles will go to for them to look less pronounced.
If you’ve tried countless eye bag treatment methods to no avail, one crucial area you might not have thought of is your diet!
We spoke to dermatologists Dr. Paula Morgan, M.D., PhD, FRCPC, FAAD and Dr. Debra Jaliman, M.D., about three kinds of foods and beverages you should avoid if you suffer from dark under-eyes.
Whether yours are hereditary or from a lack of sleep, your eye bags might be worsened by these foods, so it’s good to be weary of them.
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Caffeinated products like coffee, tea, soda, hot chocolate and energy drinks can help us stay awake, but if they’re causing you to sleep less, this could impact your dark eye circles.
Firstly, Morgan explains that caffeine is a stimulant, meaning it can contribute to lack of sleep. “This makes under-eye circles worse as the condition becomes cyclical,” says Morgan. “Caffeine also causes dehydration and may lead to the appearance of dark circles as a result.”
Morgan also notes that caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands to produce more cortisol, a hormone that can cause fluid retention in your body and leave you with puffy eyes.
“Caffeine also makes the blood vessels under your eyes expand and become more prominent, making any darkness look even darker,” says Morgan. She advises cutting caffeine out of your diet for a week to see if there is a difference or improvement in your under-eye appearance.
2. Highly Salted Foods
Adding salt can mean instant flavor to various foods, but too much of it can mean bad news for your eye bags.
When it comes to salt, Morgan says that a “small amount of sodium” is necessary for a healthy diet but too much can lead to fluid retention and puffy eyes.
“Try cutting out salty snacks, such as chips and salted nuts,” says Morgan. Sodium, she says, is found naturally in foods such as meat and fish but can also be hidden in processed food, so “it’s a good idea to check the labels of what you buy for this sneaky source of salt.”
Jaliman agrees. “Minimize your salt intake to reduce puffiness and dark circles,” says Jaliman. “Highly salted foods can cause puffiness around the eyes and also give appearance of dark circles.”
3. Sugary Foods
If you have a sweet tooth, it’s important to watch how much sugar you consume if you want to lessen the darkness under your eyes.
Sugar, Morgan says, can contribute to dark under-eye circles in three ways. Firstly, it contributes to “dehydration” in the body. Secondly, “too much sugar” can cause insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance will then cause fluid retention around your eyes, giving rise to the appearance of dark circles.
“Lastly, eating too much sugar can stimulate your adrenal glands to produce more cortisol,” says Morgan. “Cortisol is a steroid hormone that contributes to puffiness around the eyes by increasing water retention.”
Morgan advises to cut sugar out of your diet completely for one to two weeks and see if this makes a difference.
What To Eat For Better Under-Eyes
After learning what not to eat to exacerbate your dark eye circles, Morgan and Jaliman explain that you can center your diet around specific foods to improve their appearance.
“When we eat a well-balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruits, we feed our body cells the nutrients they need,” says Jaliman. “This keeps our skin looking healthy.”
Morgan notes that “green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli” are rich in Vitamin K, which helps to keep skin “elastic and healthy.”
“Other green vegetables contain Vitamin A, which helps the skin’s surface remain smooth,” says Morgan. “Make sure you’re getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in oily fish like salmon and trout as well as nuts like walnuts.”
Hydration is crucial for good skin and overall health, so be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day as well, as dehydration can make your dark circles worse.
For more information on these foods or other foods that impact the appearance of your dark under-eyes, visit your dermatologist. Remember also that dark circles are nothing to be ashamed of and very common.
With the right diet, you can lessen their darkness and be one step closer to your best, most hydrated and healthiest skin!