Eyes of the Beholder
All about keeping the windows to your soul alluringly attractive
Henry David Thoreau once said that “The eye is the jewel of the body”. Eyes have held a special place for poets who sung praises of them since time immemorial. A recent survey showed that the eyes are the most frequently mentioned part of the human body in songs.
Like it or not, your eyes have it. Meaning, what you want to say in words, your eyes can say in seconds without you opening your mouth. Your eyes can easily mirror your moods; joy, love, sadness, anger, frustration and a multitude of other emotions. It’s not an over claim then to conclude that your eyes are truly the window to your soul.
If that’s true, how proud are you of your eyes? Do they sparkle your inner radiance or reflect hidden dullness?
The skin around the eyes is more delicate and fragile than any other part of the body as it has few sebaceous glands to produce oil and keep the skin supple. So, if there is damage or ageing, our eye area is the first to show the signs. Read on to know more on how the skin around your eyes can spoil your looks, and some simple quick ways to correct them.
Women will lose sleep over fine lines appearing under their eyes. These lines indicate the on set of intrinsic or chronological ageing which is not entirely avoidable. It shows easily under our eyes because as we grow older, our skin becomes thinner and drier because it loses the moisture content and the ability to renew itself like before. This leads to breaking down of the elastin fibres and collagen present in the skin around the eyes. Weakened collagen makes the skin less elastic leading to drier skin that creates wrinkles and fine lines.
But the good news is that, although ageing cannot be stopped or reversed as it is a natural process, you can however control extrinsic ageing or ageing due to external factors, resulted from our exposure to the environment. Over-exposure to sun is deemed to cause the highest damage or photoageing where damage is done to skin from prolonged exposure to UV radiation over a person’s lifetime. Over time, the fine lines and wrinkles can become deep wrinkles and furrows. Other damaging factors include pollution. For instance, someone living in rural hilltop area may have a smoother skin compared to someone living in city centre. Lifestyle also plays a large part in extrinsic ageing. Smoking, excessive drinking, even continued squinting, laughing or smiling can contribute to fine lines under eyes.
Quick fix it tips
- Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sun glasses. If you don’t, the sun will make you squint which can lead to fine lines under your eyes.
- Stop smoking. Besides harming your health, smoke will make you squint too. Your entire complexion can become clearer too if you stop smoking.
- Apply lemon juice on skin three times a day.
- Apply castor oil or coconut oil on the affected area before going to bed. Wash off in the morning.
- Use the core of a green pineapple and rub it on your skin. Keep it for 10 minutes and rinse with cold water.
- Cut a grape in half and rub it on fine lines and wrinkles. Keep it for 20 minutes and rinse with warm water.
- Apply egg whites around the eyes. Keep it for 20-30 minutes.
Dark circles or rings under eyes are a common beauty problem which can give an appearance of lack of sleep, tiredness or even illness. They can instantaneously ‘increase’ your age and lower your self esteem by making you look much older than you really are. There are various reasons for the skin under the eyes to become thin and dry which gives the area a dark appearance.
Some experts have pointed the cause to drinking lots of caffeine, lack of sleep, fatigue or even anemia. Others include working long ours, sinus infections, hormone imbalances during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause – making your skin look pale and the blood vessels to appear prominent. Besides these, some types of medication can also lead to dilation of blood vessels that allow more blood to rush to parts under your eyes.
You can easily control some of the causes though. Are you one who parties all night? Often working late? If so, find ways to cut down the hours. Are you always under the sun? If so, remember exposing yourself to much sunlight which will increase the pigmentation level on your skin causing tanning. Even poor diet and lack of essential nutrients can lead to discolouration under your eye skin.
Some factors are beyond your control however, for instance, heredity. If your elders have thin skin and dark circles underneath the eyes, or even prone to allergic reactions causing itching, then in all probability you could too. Also understand that age plays an influential role. As you grow older, the skin under your eyes becomes dry and wrinkled.
Quick fix it tips
- Sleep well at least for 7-8 hours daily and sleep at the same time each day to regulate bodily functions and improve general health.
- Place slices of raw potatoes or apples on the eye area for 15 minutes every other day. This relaxes eyes and relieves tiredness of eyes.
- Using hot or cold tea bags under your eyes for 10 minutes regularly.
- Dip cotton pads into chill cucumber juice and place on your eyes for 15 minutes to relax the eyes.
- Lightly massage with almond oil before sleep.
- Apply natural vitamin E and K oil on skin area.
Saggy Eye Area
The skin layers on the lower eye have very soft, thin and delicate dermis and begin to lose firmness and elasticity as we age due to the decreased production of collagen and the reduction of elasticity. Small, fatty pouches can accumulate below and above the eyes, resulting in droopy upper eyelids and bags beneath the lower lid. Since the skin below the eyes is so thin, it is the first to lose its natural strength. If nothing is done, drooping layers of skin become obvious to give you an ‘aged’ look, leaving your eyes appearing tired, wrinkled or puffy. Gravity pull exacerbates the situation further.
The technical term for sagging eye lids is blepharochalasis, and blepharoplasty is the surgical modification done to improve the appearance of sagging eyelids. And according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, cosmetic surgery for the removal of sagging eyelids ranked as the third most popular cosmetic surgical procedure between 2006 and 2007.
Among the many causes of sagging eyelids are, fatigue, insufficient sleep, fluid retention, toxins, smoking and even thyroid dysfunction. Dragging when applying makeup or rubbing generally do not help either.
Quick fix it tips
- Avoid alcohol as it can cause water retention, leading to saggy eyes.
- Avoid watching TV too much which can keep you awake and cause eyestrain.
- Splash cold water on the face and eyes in the morning to improve circulation.
- Take fish oil supplements as Omega-3 is beneficial for your skin and overall health.
- Get oxygen to the dermis where collagen and elastin are produced with acupressure facial massage which is also excellent to drain lymph nodes.
- But don’t massage your eye area too vigorously as the skin around the eyes can be stretched easily.
- Apply topical creams to the eye area that are rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants like natural vitamin E and vitamin B5.
- Saggy Eyes could also mean an underlying health problem. Go on a detoxifying diet after consulting your doctor.
The sagging eyelids create mild swelling or puffiness under the eyes or ‘bags’, and thus the name. The puffiness or bags are created due to weakening of the tissues around the eyes, including some of the muscles supporting your eyelids. Normal fat that once helped to support the eyes migrate into the lower eyelids, making the lids to appear puffy giving a swollen appearance.
Although bags under eyes are usually a cosmetic concern and rarely a sign of a serious underlying medical condition, puffiness can also be due to mild facial edema, a term for the excess fluid accumulation in soft tissue manifested by swelling. Morning puffiness (mild facial edema that occasionally occurs in the morning and goes away during the day) is usually caused by lifestyle factors rather than health condition such as lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, etc. Other factors that can lead to puffiness include fluid retention due to changes in weather, allergies, changes in hormone levels, or eating too much salt.
Quick fix it tips
- Apply vitamin E or olive oil on affected area.
- Reduce your salt intake, because salt can cause water retention, which ultimately leads to puffy eyes.
- Sleep in a slightly elevated position by adding an extra pillow. This helps prevent fluid from building up around the eyes overnight.
- Take a cucumber and cut it into slices. Place the sliced cucumber on your eyelids, to get relief from the puffiness. Cucumbers contain an astringent that may help to constrict blood vessels around the eye. It also has a cooling effect on inflamed, irritated skin.
- Lie down, close your eyes and place a tea bag over each eye moistened with cold water. Leave in place for 5-15 minutes. The tannin in the tea may help pull the skin taut and reduce puffiness.
- Apply equal mixture of cucumber juice and lemon juice for 10-15 minutes on affected area (avoid getting into the eyes).
- Massaging around your eyes can assist in draining of fluids around your eyes thus reducing puffiness (Try the exercises on next page).
- Watch out for allergens as allergic reactions can cause eye puffiness. Seek your doctor’s advice.
Exercises to Ease Puffy Eyes
Exercises work in two ways. One, it improves blood circulation to the muscles around the eyes and two, certain exercises work directly on your eye muscles. These simple exercises can help you lessen the symptoms of puffy eyes.
Eye massage helps stimulate the eye muscles. Place your middle or ring finger (as it exerts less pressure) on the outer edge of the eye socket bone, and pressing very lightly, work your way round the socket using small circular movements. Repeat for one minute.
Use your index or middle finger to massage the side of your head in line with the eye socket, where it is slightly indented (Temple). Massage for one minute.
When you sleep deeply, you tend not to blink. You are most likely to wake up with puffy eyes due to fluid build up around the eyes. Next time, blink rapidly for 30 seconds upon waking up, to dissipate the fluid.
Once you are through with these exercises, rub your palms vigorously and keep them on your eyes for about thirty seconds. You can do these exercises any time you want but doing them often every day brings better result.