As the ancient Yiddish proverb goes, eyes are the mirror to the soul. It is possible though, for the soul’s message to get lost in translation if a person has the “tired eyes” look. Tired eyes inevitably convey an essence of fatigue and weakness, which can ultimately injure a person’s self-esteem and confidence. The skin surrounding the eyes is the thinnest anywhere on the body. It is more sensitive and susceptible to both internal and external impact. Premature fine lines or wrinkles, under-eye puffiness and dark circles are the most prominent indicators of tired eyes. There are different reasons that contribute to how the eye area looks, but thankfully, there are effective remedies to treat this delicate area of skin.
The prevalent gender-neutral skin concern effects both men and women, but there is not that much attention or research pertaining specifically to the nature of this skin issue. Certain populations, including people of Asian and Indian decent, are more susceptible and predisposed to having darkened skin or swelling surrounding the eyes than others are, primarily because of intrinsic hereditary genetic factors. There is a range of treatment options, from herbal natural ingredients to more invasive surgical procedures that can improve the appearance of the eyes depending on the severity and cause.
Fine Lines and Wrinkles
As part of the natural chronological aging process, it is normal for skin to become thinner and looser without intervention. Using appropriate age management skin care products daily and early in life for age preventative intentions and having routine facial treatments is a proactive and powerful approach to combat aging. To simplify, the skin’s cellular matrix weakens as the collagen and elastin fibers decrease over time. Skin also tends to become dry or dehydrated as the sebaceous glands become less active with aging, hence, reducing the skin’s self-lubricating and moisturizing capability.
Some extrinsic contributors include sun damage and smoking. Smoking deprives cells of oxygen, which in turn, accelerates aging. Sun exposure not only poses the risk of skin cancer at worst, it triggers overproduction of melanin, sourcing hyperpigmentation. The sun’s ultraviolet radiation is harmful to the dermis, and advances premature development of fine lines and wrinkles. The eyes can be age revealing, something usually undesirable for a maturing person. More so, they can actually make a person look older depending on the amount and depth of wrinkles.
Dark Circles and Puffiness
Dark eye circles is an unpleasant esthetic skin condition, classified as evenly distributed infraorbital flat-pigmented areas, or surrounding eye macules. Some of the contributors that affect how the eyes look include insufficient sleep, stress, weight loss, a decrease in facial fat content from skin maturation, fluid retention, hyperpigmentation, atopic dermatitis, and even how a person lays while they sleep. For starters, a deep-set facial anatomy often accompanies a sunken eye area and it progressively becomes more pronounced with age.
The skin becomes thinner and progressively loses its fat composition in the lower layers. Given that the skin around the eyes already is thin, it becomes transparent. The underlying capillaries and dark blood vessels prominently appear through the cellular tissue around this region. The muscles that support the eyelids, and an overall perky open eye appearance weaken over time as well. Consequently, the eyes begin to look droopy and even saggy.
The environment and a diet high in caffeine or sodium can cause skin dehydration. This too can exaggerate darkness under the eyes. On the opposite side, such extrinsic triggers can actually also have a reverse effect, generating fluid retention. As a result, the eyes tend to look puffy and possibly even irritated, a symptom that can also be provoked by allergies. It is essential to drink approximately eight glasses of water a day to help keep the skin and body’s hydration levels balanced.
In the Spa
Treating the eyes for conditions like dark circles and puffiness can be challenging. There are many variables responsible for the presence of eye darkness or swelling. Furthermore, there are different types of eye circles, including reddish-blue tones to hues of brown. Ingredients high in antioxidants are beneficial in repairing and enhancing overall wellness of the skin. Most importantly, the advancements in skin care ingredients and formulations proactively work to solve the tired eye skin issue. Accordingly, appropriate spa treatments are proving to be successful in brightening, plumping and firming the skin surrounding the eyes.
The key to a successful spa eye treatment is the active ingredients. Eye products must have a strong delivery system in place to enable ingredient penetration and efficacy. To boost the performance of the skin care products and encourage facial muscle strength, technologies such as micro-current therapy can be utilized. They contribute to stimulating epidermal tissue, as well as adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy source of cellular structure, and vitality.
Horse chestnut along with vitamin K, derived from dark leafy greens like kale, work to improve capillary function and overall cellular health. Gotu Kola is another one that supports localized blood flow. These ingredients in particular are helpful in improving the reddish-blue toned eye circles. Melanin inhibiting ingredients are potent in treating brown toned eye circles. Kojic acid, a fungal derivative, arbutin, and licorice root are some examples of melanin suppressing ingredients. Synergistically, such ingredients work to lighten the infraorbital, lower eye area, hyperpigmentation.
Eye puffiness should be treated with products that have lifting and collagen regenerating action. Bio-peptides, such as palmitoyl pentapeptide-3, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7, or palmitoyl oligopeptide for example, are short chains of amino acid monomers, linked by peptide bonds. Peptides are safe and effective in firming the skin and for smoothing the depth of fine lines and wrinkles. Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid are excellent for topical hydration and moisture binding; they protect skin from surface dehydration.
The loss of collagen in the skin that occurs with the natural aging cycle attributes to skin becoming thinner. Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, facilitates collagen production. By increasing collagen, the skin gradually and subtly becomes thicker. As a result, it improves the shadow under the eyes by filling the area, concealing underlying capillary structure, and minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
There are different medical treatments available to address eye area concerns. Such procedures are considered invasive and can only be performed by licensed medical professionals. Fat transfer or fat transplantation, laser therapies, and micro-pigment tattooing are some of the options that are implemented to enhance the appearance of the eyes. These are all local area treatments that offer precision in targeting under eye darkness. Laser treatments have shown to be effective in especially post inflammatory hyperpigmentation and atomic dermatitis related dark circles. It remedies the visible blood vessels that show right through the skin without altering the surrounding health of the skin.
Medical tattooing employees the process of micro-pigmentation. It provides a high degree of accuracy. This solution only alters the aesthetics of the condition without actually fixing the problem. Nonetheless, medical tattooing successfully camouflages dark skin patches around the eyes allowing the skin to look an even tone.
Another medical procedure performed by plastic surgeons is surgical fat transfer. As the fat content in the underlying layers of skin decreases with age, the eyes start to look sunken. The fat transferring process involves removing fat from other available areas in the body and injecting it into the lower eye region. The surgical implantation of fat helps restore the presence of natural fat in the skin and corrects the sunken eye appearance.
In today’s high stress society, the growing demand to look energized and healthy despite life’s circumstances is critical. Tired eyes, stricken with premature fine lines and wrinkles, dark circles and/or puffiness may create a false impression of a person. Being perceived as worn down, fatigued, possibly weak, or less attractive as a result, certainly effects a person’s self-esteem. Fortunately, the field continues to advance, and the treatments and products in the industry today, reveal to be effective in resolving this problem. By enhancing the appearance of the eyes, a person’s entire quality of life can improve.
Written by Victoria Tabak © All Rights Reserved. Published in September 2019 digital Skin Inc Magazine.