Eyes are the windows to the soul, or so the saying goes, but they can also be one of the most visible indicators of how tired and stressed we are.
Not to mention how old.
But can eye creams help stop those crow’s feet from forming, or do we have to give up smiling forever? Can cucumber slices or cold tea bags help reduce dark circles or puffiness, or should they stay in the kitchen?
Kinly Beauty experts will explain in three different fields for their perspectives.
Naturopath Annalies Corse says sinuses, allergies, tiredness and the way you sleep in bed can all contribute to puffiness and dark circles. However, if a client describes this as their main concern her first check would be for more serious conditions like diabetes, blood pressure and kidney problems.
“If they haven’t had those things investigated I would refer them back to their doctor,” she says.
For people who sleep on their stomach, the face, including the eyes, can be puffy in the morning as a result of gravity directing fluid to pool there.
Not getting a good night’s sleep can also lead to puffiness.
“The skin around the eyes is very fragile and it is also very thin,” she says.
“With things like lack of sleep you haven’t given the tissue and muscles around the eyes time to rest.
“It can lead to an inflammatory response which can show up around the eyes.”
Caffeine is one simple way to address this – unfortunately she doesn’t mean your morning cup of joe.
“If you’re waking up in the morning and they’re puffy use anything that contains caffeine, like the old tea bag trick where you apply cold tea bags to the area,” she says.
“It can reduce the fluid retention under the eye area. I would suggest either cold black tea bags or even green tea bags.”
Even cucumber slices aren’t such a crazy idea it seems, just not for puffiness.
“They’ll soothe the eyes when they’re itchy, sore or dry, but use anything with caffeine for puffiness,” she says.
The cosmetic dermatologist
Associate Professor Greg Goodman, from the Dermatology Institute of Victoria, says when it comes to problems around the eyes – specifically puffiness and dark circles – it all comes down to genetics. The problems just become more pronounced as we age and our faces change.
“You are what you’re born with, you are your bones,” he says.
Bags and puffiness can result from a bulging of the fat pads that cushion our eyes in their sockets. The muscle around the eye normally holds it back but as people age, become stressed or don’t get enough sleep, the muscle wall can weaken.
As we get older and the cheeks drop, this bulge, or puffiness, can become more noticeable.
“When you’re perky and happy and have been on holidays your muscle tone just seems to increase,” he says.
“As you get tireder and tireder the muscle tone sags a bit and the secondary defence, that muscle tone that keeps the eye pads back if the wall is weak, then that will show more.”
Dark circles are mostly caused by shadowing on the face, although sometimes the skin can change colour in that area, he says. People with thin skin may also notice their blood vessels are slightly visible under the skin.
As for lines and wrinkles, they’re just part and parcel of having an expressive face (they’re not called worry and laugh lines for nothing!). But sun damage and smoking can make them worse. Goodman says there’s also evidence that the amount of sugar in your diet can increase the depth and severity of wrinkles.
As for eye creams, they’re useful to a point, he says.
“They work well for early wrinkling and they’re probably as active as anything else is in the eye area,” he says.
“They have no role in stopping movement [that causes wrinkles] or in bags or in puffiness.”
The make-up artist
For those who are happy to let nature take its course, but don’t mind a bit of camouflage every now and then, concealer is a make-up artist’s best friend.
Nicole Thompson, senior make-up artist at MAC Australia, recommends the use of a warm, peach-toned concealer to counteract the blue tones of dark circles under the eyes.
For puffiness, she advises avoiding light colours.
Her golden rule for using concealer: “Just apply to the darkest part. If you get over zealous with product you actually draw attention to the area.”
She also says less is more.
“Set the concealer with power to hold it in place, however only apply a little,” she says.
And don’t forget to moisturise – dry skin is old skin.
“Around the eyes, the skin is much more fragile and needs some extra care,” she says.