More than meets the eye | The truth behind eye bags and dark circles

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If prolonged stress and sleep deprivation have anything to say for our appearance, it’d be that the eyes don’t lie. Once dark circles and puffiness begin to appear, there’s no hiding the effects of a busy lifestyle. Although we should all be aiming for the required 8 hours to ensure we’re well rested, it’s important to note that environmental factors and genetic predisposition are major contributors to visible eye bags. Yet, while we may not be able to change our DNA, there are certainly reasons why eye bags and dark circles appear more prominent at times, and ways to avoid them!

If you’re the type of person who develops eye bags or dark circles after a late night, it’s fair to say that sleep (or lack-thereof) definitely plays a part. As we begin to fatigue, our adrenal glands are sent into overdrive in order to produce cortisol and other sympathetic hormones to try and keep you awake. Cortisol is a hormone which signals the body to retain water and, high cortisol levels that lead to extracellular water retention in the face can then be visible under the eyes in the form of eye bags.

Paradoxically, ensuring you are well hydrated can in fact prevent water retention. In some cases, you may notice bags begin to develop under the eyes after the consumption of a salty meal. This is because, as the body dehydrates, it’s natural reaction is to start storing excess fluid to ensure it remains hydrated enough to function correctly.

As well as diet, other lifestyle factors come into play when trying to prevent eye bags. Extensive exposure to the sun can be extremely damaging to the delicate skin surrounding the eyes which also contributes to collagen break down, ultimately resulting in sagging skin. Even allergies that release histamines and sleeping face down can cause blood vessels in and around the eye to swell, leaving you looking puffy and red.

But sadly, there is a correlation between some people’s development of eye bags and age. As you get older, the bone structure in your face begins to change which can lead to a stretching of the already thin skin around the eye. With age, the fat pockets that are there to protect the bone underneath can become weak and fall forward, making them bulge.

The good news is, in today’s modern world, there are many remedies that will help to slow the ageing process and/ or treat existing eye bags and dark circles. From expensive surgeries to instant skin firming topical ointments, even changing your sleeping position, limiting your intake of excessively salty foods and ensuring you’re always sun smart are ways in which you can reduce or diminish the appearance of eye bags and dark circles.

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