By Liz Franz
The thinnest-skinned part of your face, your under-eye area is often the first to show signs of aging. And these signs—puffiness, dark circles, fine lines and crow’s feet—can add years to your look faster than you can say “Old Maid.” Much like your blood pressure or your cholesterol, how youthful your under-eye region appears is in part a matter of genetics. The good news? By observing a few simple rules, you can mitigate, and even prevent these signs of aging.
Rule # 1: Get a good night’s sleep!
It can’t be overstated: sleep is a core component to your overall beauty. When you sleep, your cells regenerate and repair themselves. When you cut your shuteye short, you compromise your beauty (not to mention your health!) by depriving your body from this essential process. What’s more, a lack of sleep can lead to an increase in cortisol, which further contributes to dark, unsightly circles. Shoot for 7-8 hours each night—you’ll not only keep under-eye puffiness and discoloration at bay, but will feel better as well.
Rule # 2: Sleep tight, but sleep right
Are you sleeping without a pillow? Worse, are you crashing face-down on your pillow? If the answer to either of these questions is “yes” you could unknowingly be sabotaging your good looks. While an elevated head is necessary to achieve bona fide beauty sleep (nix the pillow and you run the risk of fluids settling in your face and under your eyes, causing inflammation and discoloration) lying on your stomach and scrunching one side of your face into the pillow is a surefire way to acquire more wrinkles and fine lines. Your best bet? Sleep lying on your back, keeping your face away from the pillow at all costs.
Rule # 3: Invest in a quality eye cream with key ingredients
Why eye cream? Why not the same moisturizer you use on the rest of your face? Well, it all comes down to science. Because the skin under your eyes is so different than the skin on, say, your cheeks, it calls for a product with a lighter molecular structure than what’s found in your typical facial cream. Those products will NOT absorb properly under your eyes—and they’ll cause irritation and inflammation to boot. Reach for a peptide-rich eye cream formula designed specifically for the eyes. Why peptides? As we age, our skin produces collagen at a slower pace, causing a loss of elasticity. Peptides help stimulate collagen production, in turn preserving the youthful suppleness we all strive to retain.
Rule #4: Don’t stress your adrenals!
As we mentioned earlier, dark eye circles can be hereditary. But they also can be chalked up to exhausted adrenal glands—and unlike our genetic makeup, this is an issue that’s well within our control! By limiting our intake of coffee, candy and soda—and anything else that contains refined sugar—we can alleviate adrenal stress. We hope you’re not a cigarette smoker for a variety of reasons, but if you are, be advised: cigarettes, too, will stress your adrenals (and sap your skin’s moisture, and speed the formation of wrinkles, and yellow your teeth!). On the other hand, eating foods containing organic sodium, like celery, kale, spinach, sea vegetables and Swiss chard and committing to an all-around healthy diet may help improve the appearance of your under-eye region over time.