This month we are talking about eyes. As the saying goes “The eyes are the mirror of the soul”, of course (I assume!) it refers to the light that shines through your eyes, not to the skin around them, but the skin around them is “the frame of the mirror”.
The two annoying facts about eyes, apart from the REALLY ANNOYING fact that the delicate area around them is one of the first places where the signs of ageing strike, are: dark circles and puffy eyes.
The skin around our eyes is thin, in fact it is the thinnest layer of skin that we have on our entire body, making it very easy to appear bruised or puffed, no matter how old we are.
Dark circles around the eyes can be caused by a number of different things such as lack of sleep, drugs, alcohol, smoking, poor diet, iron deficiency, allergies and even genetics.
Puffy eyes is normally fluid retention and can be caused by illness, pregnancy, again genetics, can be an allergic reaction, hormonal fluctuations, dehydration (not drinking enough water and hangover related!) etc.
While you are trying to figure out which one is the cause of your dark circles or puffiness, try these simple, inexpensive and fun homemade remedies.
No, it is not a cliché, I promise you it works, try one (or all) of these:
1- simply close your eyes, apply a thick slice of cucumber to each eye and leave it for 20 minutes.
2- squeeze the juice out of the cucumber, dip a clean cotton ball into it and apply it to the skin around the eyes (best if the juice is cold).
3- make a soothing and cooling gel: mix one tsp of strained cucumber juice, one Tbs of aloe vera gel, and ¼ tsp cornstarch in a small saucepan and heat gently without boiling. Remove from the heat and add 1 Tbs of chamomile tea stirring well until all is properly mixed. Leave it to cool and transfer into a sterilised jar. Keep in the fridge for a maximum of three days. To use, gently dab onto the soft skin under the eyes.
the antioxidants found in tea can be highly beneficial to the delicate skin around the eyes, helping to tighten the skin while the caffeine (if you chose to use normal tea) is highly effective in reducing the puffiness and dark circles that can leave the eyes looking tired. You can use normal tea, green tea, chamomile tea (great anti inflammatory properties) and don’t forget the highly antioxidant properties (good for wrinkles too!) of our African-born rooibos. Simply take the tea bags, rest them in warm water for 5-10 seconds, wrap them in cling film and put them in the freezer for 15 minutes or until cool. Find a nice quite spot, lie down and “wear” them (they need to be cool but also still moist) for 15-20 minutes. Tip for dry ageing skin: before applying the wet cold tea bags on your eyes, dab the skin around them with some good olive oil (or any of your preferred oils, see August Lowdown) and put the tea bags on top of it.
Milk has great lightening abilities for the skin and helps with dealing with dark circles under the eyes. Take some cold milk and dip two cotton balls into it. Squeeze the extra milk from the cotton balls, place them on your eyelids and relax for 15 minutes. Wash your face and see the difference.
There’s nothing quite like a cool strawberry right from the fridge on a warm summer day. If you have puffy, tired looking eyes, next time you reach for a cold strawberry, grab a couple of extra strawberries for your eyes too. Besides doing a great job of reducing swelling, strawberries naturally contain alpha-hydroxy acid (found in many expensive facial creams, although in that case it could be synthetically produced): this naturally occurring ingredient is great for making skin smoother and younger looking. Remove the tops from large, fresh, refrigerated strawberries, and slice them about ½ cm thick. Find the usual quiet spot, place the cold strawberry slices under your eyes, and allow them to remain there for several minutes. Wash, dry and moisturise as usual.
There we go: simple, cheap and fun. One last thing … before you try those, make sure you sleep enough, drink lots (of water!), and smile … no matter how old you are, how puffy your eyes look, smiley eyes make you beautiful – always!
By Paola from Essential Skincare www.essential-zambia.com