Filler for tear troughs and lasers for skin tightening are great approaches to enhance the skin under our eyes. But many patients are initially looking for more straightforward tips on how to make their under eye skin look better. I find that if I start with simple and sound advice, the patient is more likely to come back to have a procedure done. So here they are 5 tips to lessen under eye puffiness and dark circles.
1. Have a sense of product contents
Be careful about ingredients in products you use around your eyes. Sulfates are in all foaming cleansers. They can cause redness and puffiness in delicate eye skin. Remove makeup with a sulfate-free formula. Most eye makeup removers are sulfate free, or try to look specifically for a sulfate-free cleanser.
2. The clean truth
If you use a washcloth around your eyes, put it in the hot cycle of your washing machine every 2-3 days. I once cultured a cross section of washcloths and puffs that patients had in the shower for a TV spot I was doing on skin health. We grew out a surprising number of pathogenic organisms. Inadvertent exposure to a "dirty" cloth with micro-colonization can exaggerate eye puffiness and dark circles.
3. Delicate to your touch, harsh to your eyes
Don't use tissues and wipes near your eyes. These are often processed with some formaldehyde, which can promote puffiness, redness, and then discoloration. Instead of tissues, use cloth hankies, or a clean washcloth.
4. Do a mini self-assessment
To assess which topical products may help to reverse improve eye appearance: apply gentle pressure on your under eye circles. If when you first release that gentle pressure your circles look less dark, then they should be helped by using a topical vitamin K cream or a peptide eye cream that prevents blood leakage from small vessels. If your circles do not look less dark after applying gentle pressure, opt for an antioxidant, such as vitamin C or green tea, or choose an eye product containing hydroquinone.
5. Consistency is key
The same way that we brush our teeth daily, it is important to care for the skin around our eyes in a consistent manner. Find an eye product you love and use it diligently. No eye product works unless you get it on to your skin every day.
About Loretta Ciraldo, MD, FAAD
Dr. Ciraldo is a Voluntary Professor of Dermatology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Since 1993, she has been CEO of CosMedical Technologies while maintaining a thriving cosmetic dermatology practice in South Florida. Dr. Ciraldo started her dermatology career in 1975, when she worked in the lab of John Parrish, MD, at Harvard Medical School studying the effects of UVA. She also worked with Dr. Fitzpatrick on the Fitzpatrick skin type system. Dr Ciraldo has been awarded the Florida Physician Communicator of the Year Award by the Florida Medical Association.