Under-eye bags and dark circles are one of those beauty uh-ohs that bother so many of us. Whether the result of genetics, not getting enough sleep, not eating right, or just having a little too much fun the night before, sometimes these under-eye circles can seem ever present.
Because the delicate skin around the eyes is much thinner than the the skin of the face, this area is especially susceptible to blemishes and hyperpigmentation. As we age, we also lose collagen-the main structure for our connective tissues-in our faces. Because collagen plumps and strengthens skin, loss of collagen directly impacts the under-eye area. But while you might think you’re doing everything right by slathering your dark circles with moisturizers and concealers, you could actually be making the problem worse. Here’s one of the worst mistakes you can make if you have eye bags.
95+ Gift Ideas For Everyone On Your Holiday List
Cleansing under-eye area wrong
If you typically use waterproof or long-lasting mascara, it’s challenging to wipe away every trace of makeup. This can lead to excessive rubbing at the under-eye area, which worsens capillary damage and inflammation, making dark circles especially noticeable.
Similarly, not being gentle enough on your skin, or putting too much pressure when applying eye products is equally problematic. There’s no need to vigorously rub in eye creams the way you might apply sunscreen or face moisturizers. Instead, it’s best to use a finger and pat gently to allow the cream or gel to take effect. Avoid any kind of tugging or pulling, which could lead to fine lines or wrinkles further down the road.
Though there are many products on the market claiming to de-puff and lighten the under-eye area, they don’t always work. That’s why we consulted with Dr. Ailynne Marie Vergara-Wijangco, MD, a registered dermatologist and writer at ThankYourSkin, who shared a number of treatments for improving the look of eye bags.
“Drinking more water and applying a cold compress can help shrink eye bags quickly, but the only way to reduce their appearance in the long term is to make a few lifestyle changes,” she explains. “This is especially true if your eye bags and dark circles are genetically inherited.”
In particular, the power of a cold compress can’t be overstated. “Relief from dark circles may be as simple as making a cold compress from materials you already own. Applying cold to the area can help the blood vessels constrict quickly for some temporary relief,” Dr. Ailynne says. And if you’re in a pinch, DIY options include a chilled teaspoon, cool cucumber, wet washcloth or bag of frozen veggies.
If at-home treatments like applying a cold compress, upping your water intake or adding retinol cream to your regime aren’t helping eye bags, it might be time for more dramatic measures. In this case, Dr. Ailynne recommends medical treatments, such as microneedling.
“Microneedling is also known as collagen induction therapy,” she explains. “Proponents say it reduces wrinkles, scarring and even pigment issues, like dark circles and under-eye bags. The procedure involves fine needles that are used to puncture the skin. This creates a controlled injury of sorts that, in turn, rejuvenates the skin being treated.”
While microneedling can work minor miracles, there are side effects to the procedure. “People may run into issues like bleeding, bruising, infection and scarring,” Dr. Ailynne warns, although “the recovery time is relatively fast.”
Be sure to consult with your dermatologist to determine whether microneeding is right for you-and remember to give your under-eye area a little TLC.