A lot of people say that they want to get rid of the dark circles or bags under their eyes. Most people reach for topical solutions like makeup or a special cream to conceal them. This is a bandaid solution, and I believe to truly heal the condition it is essential to look within to discover the underlying cause and find a long term solution.
What causes dark circles and bags?
Many factors contribute to dark circles and bags under the eyes, all of which cause a breakdown of collagen and elastin fibres which adversely affects skin elasticity.
Bags are caused by fluid collecting under the eye because of poor circulation. When the fat pads in the eye socket weaken, fat starts to fill the sensitive area under the eyes. If circulation is poor, blood vessels and capillaries show up more easily in the eye area. This tends to give a purplish discolouration, which is actually a form of bruising.
We’ve all been there. You look in the mirror after a big night to see dark circles or loose bags under your eyes. (They don’t call it ‘beauty sleep’ for nothing!)
During sleep, tissue fluid is drawn from our blood and enters our body tissues. As we start our morning activities, the tissue fluid is squeezed back into lymphatic vessels and into our blood circulation. That’s why your face may look a little puffy when you first wake up, but by the time you’re out of the shower the puffiness will have receded. When we don’t get enough sleep, however, this process is stunted and fluid is stuck in the tissues, creating the puffy look.
Lack of sleep also tends to cause the blood vessels under the thin skin of the eyes to dilate, creating a dark tint. Sometimes tiredness can make the area under your eyes appear puffy as well.
The delicate area directly under our eyes correlates with our kidneys. In some cases, bags under the eyes are a sign of kidney problems. Dark circles are sometimes actually carbon deposits, resulting from the body’s inability to digest protein properly, which is often the consequence of a lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach or the kidneys failing to function optimally. This means the lymph system is backed up so the body isn’t eliminating toxins properly. This can be caused by an excess amount of protein which puts stress on the kidneys leading to protein being spilled over into the blood stream.
Having too much sodium leads to fluid retention and swelling under the eyes resulting in dark shadows, bags and circles.
Dark or grey circles under the eyes can also result from a deficiency of Vitamins B12 or K, and iron. This deficiency can result in poor oxygenation of bodily tissues and the effects of this are shown mostly under the eyes where pronounced, bluish veins are more visible.
5 ways to prevent and reduce dark circles and bags under eyes
Incorporating juices and raw foods into your diet will keep your skin hydrated and protect it from free radical damage. Consuming potassium-rich foods like oranges, apricots, bananas, avocados and squash, reduces your sodium levels which help with bags under eyes. Foods high in Vitamin K like broccoli, brussels sprouts, green leafy vegetables and spinach help with blood coagulation and circulation which can help lighten the circles under your eyes.
Eye bags are often caused by a sluggish liver, so beetroots are an amazing addition to your diet to help reduce bags under the eyes. The presence of betaine in raw beetroot helps stimulate liver cell function as well as protecting the liver and bile ducts. Raw beetroot is also high in betacyanin which is the substance that gives them their rich red colour. This pigment helps to increase the oxygen-carrying ability of the blood, therefore improving circulation.
Avoid highly salted foods like pizza and chips. Ensure you’re using natural sea or Himalayan salt and use it sparingly so that you avoid fluid retention. I also recommend reducing the amount of caffeinated beverages in your diet. If consumed too often, caffeinated beverages can stimulate your hormonal glands causing fatigue and producing adrenal exhaustion. It is beneficial to avoid processed food and alcohol because these cause dehydration which results in the delicate area around your eyes appearing sunken and dark. Alcohol can also cause bloodshot, tired eyes.
Ensure you’re getting adequate sleep. The number of hours differs for everyone, but anywhere between 6 – 8 should be fine. You’ll know how many hours of sleep allow you to feel your best.
Emotional and spiritual
Anger can lead to dark circles or black under the eyes. When you’re angry you start to breathe fast which causes your blood pressure and body temperature to rise. This in turn leads to excess vita energy which causes dark circles. When the mind is agitated and can’t calm down it takes over and causes physical problems which disturb normal energies in the body and results in degeneration in the tissues, leaving you looking run down and having darkened eyes. So ensure you’re not harbouring any anger or resentment. Appropriately express your emotions towards another in a loving way to help resolve a situation. Alternatively you can release them via deep breathing, meditation and changing your perspective on the issue by practicing gratitude and realising the positives which came out of it (they are always there!).
Exfoliating is important to promote circulation and blood flow in the skin (including under the eyes). I recommend using a gentle, natural scrub LIKE THIS ONE and using it 2 – 3 times per week. GENTLY rub all over your neck, face and under the eyes.
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant properties will help you shed your dark circles. It will also smooth and soften the skin around your eyes. Mix two teaspoons of turmeric with two teaspoons of pineapple juice into a thick paste. Apply the paste to your under-eye area. Leave on for ten minutes then simply wipe away with a soft cloth.
Rub fresh cucumber juice under the eyes. This has an extremely cooling effect and brightens up your skin. It contains astringent, skin-lightening and cooling properties that help to lighten up the skin under the eyes. It contains various anti-oxidants such as vitexin, isoscoparin, orientin and cucurbitacins and also silica that leaves the skin feeling soft, smooth and refreshed.
•Juice a cucumber or puree it in a blender and strain to extract juice.
•Wash face and pat dry.
•Use cotton ball to apply juice to under-eye skin.
•Leave on for 15 minutes then rinse with cool water and pat dry.
•Repeat at least 3 times a week.
•This method tightens pores and lightens skin.
Eyes are the windows to our souls. Keep them bright, light and healthy to allow your soul to become enlightened too. You will feel fresher, your eyes will be wide open and welcoming, and the skin around your eyes will glow because they will be more hydrated.