Monday, March 29, 2010

Combatting Tired Eyes

You asked, and I got them: Pooped out, puffy eyes! I wanted to know what you (my loyal readers) wanted me to write about next, and the winner was: help with puffy eyes and dark, under-eye circles. Shortly after I declared this, A started having mini-tantrums on the floor -- thrusting her head back while kicking like a champion swimmer. Evidently, her latest experiment with the world hasn't been going so well, because she can't eat raisins all day long, she can't stay up all night, and she can't shred my thesaurus. Of course, my eyes started to swell with these stressful antics, as my 19-month-old diva starting bringing down the house. That is, until I pulled out my bag of tricks.

Puffiness and dark circles under the eyes occur for a number of reasons  -- but for both, stress, caffeine, alcohol and lack of sleep are all aggravators. The first problem is easier to tackle because it's just fluid retention. When we are stressed, we tend to retain more fluids. And first and foremost, in order to flush out what's trapped inside, you need to drink lots and lots of water.

To jump-start the process of de-puffing, try my One-Minute Remedy. First, grab an ice pack from the freezer or fridge (if it's too cold, wrap a kitchen towel around it) and hold it against your eyes for about 15 to 30 seconds. The cold will help counteract the swelling. Then, gently tap the area around your eyes with your fingertips to trigger circulation and promote the fluids to move away. Tap with light, even pressure about 30 times, like you're playing the same chord repeatedly on a keyboard. I was feeling the eye-bulge the other morning so I did this before I ran out the door. When I met up with my good friend A.S., a stylist, she actually, to my great surprise, remarked on how good my eyes looked.

A nice thing of note is that the puffiness you may have woken up to may probably get better on its on throughout the day without any intervention -- as gravity helps to push the excess water out of your body naturally.

As far as dark circles go, because the reasons they occur are more often due to hereditary or pigmentation issues, and/or thinner skin causing the blood vessels to start showing off their colors more, they are a little harder to treat in a quick-fix type of way. Your quickest bet for treating them as a busy mom is to use an eye cream daily, and a concealer.  I found an all-in-one product by Olay, Total Effect Eye Cream + Touch of Concealer ($20), which you can look to as a starting point.

Daily application of eye cream or some sort of moisturizing treatment for the delicate skin around your eyes will help you overall for either issue. Essentially, taking good care of the skin by giving it the moisture and nourishment it needs is the key to radiance -- whether it's around your eyes or anywhere else on your face. As we age, our skin's natural ability to replenish moisture and repair damage diminishes, so we need to help it supplement.

If you don't have an eye cream or can't be bothered to get one, you can actually take a peek in your child's beauty bin. Look for a baby balm or salve that contains one of the following herbs: Arnica Montana, Calendula, or Chamomile, which all have anti-inflammatory properties, and therefore will also help with the puff. The key is to find one without zinc oxide, a common ingredient in diaper creams that also happens to make them powder-white, unless you want to walk around looking like you've got face paint on. I found Bamford's Organic Baby Balm ($40) in A's drawer, which has both Chamomile and Arnica Montana. It's thick, but absorbed rather well. A budget option, that has a cool, fluffy texture is California Baby's Calendula Cream ($11).

Eyes Wide Open 1-2-3:

1) Try storing your eye cream in the fridge. It'll feel great in the morning as you're prepping for the day, and the cold might just help de-swell those puffy eyes.

2) Use a broad spectrum sunscreen, with UVA and UVB protection and an SPF of at least 30, on your entire face everyday. You will be protecting your precious visage from the damaging effects of the sun, which accelerates the development of wrinkles, AND contributes to dark-circles under the eyes. Try California Baby's SPF 30+ Sunscreen ($19), which A and I use.

3) Get lots of zzz's. Easier said than done, but there's no way around it. They didn't coin it Beauty Sleep for nothing!


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on


solveig said...

i just moved my eye countour gel from bathroom to fridge. sounds like a great idea!

ejc said...

Every morning the first thing I notice about my face is the look of the eyes. It takes a while for the puffiness to disappear. I will try the cold temperaure remedy you suggested.