How to check whether you have dark circles or under-eye bags
Under-eye bags—puffiness under the eye area—are easy to confuse with dark circles—darkness around the eye area. Puffiness under the eyes can look like dark circles because the shape can cause shadows and make your eye area appear darker. To make sure that your concern is under-eye bags and not dark circles, while looking in the mirror, gently lift up the skin under your eyes to see if you notice a color difference between your undereyes and the rest of your skin. If you notice that your under-eye skin is in fact darker, you have dark circles and you should focus on treatments for pigmentation and brightening. If your lifted skin is the same color as the rest of your skin, your concerns are likely with under-eye puffiness or skin that is extra thin and transparent.
The causes of under-eye bags and puffiness
Under-eye bags can be caused by different conditions of the skin, including sagging and weakening of the muscles around your eyes, which happen naturally as you age. They can also be caused by health conditions such as allergies and kidney diseases—check in with your healthcare provider if you suspect this to be the case!—and also lifestyle choices such as lack of sleep and salty foods.
How to address under-eye bags
Drink plenty of water and try a low-sodium diet
For those prone to under-eye puffiness, abstaining from salty foods, especially before bedtime, is crucial. Eating salty foods lead to fluid retention, aka, hello morning puffiness! Dehydration can also make your eye bags look worse.
Decrease puffiness with cold caffeine
Cucumber slices on the eyes are a cute classic, but what’s more effective is steeped green tea bags cooled in the fridge, since the tannins and caffeine will also help perk up your under-eye area. Topically, caffeine can temporarily constrict blood vessels and improve microcirculation, which helps reduce puffiness. Tracie Martyn master esthetician Irina suggests a DIY eye mask with ground coffee mixed with a little olive oil. These methods are most suitable for those who are experiencing temporary puffiness.
Target your under-eyes with peptides
Certain peptides—like the ones found in the Tracie Martyn LotuSculpt Eye Treatment Duo—can help tighten and firm the skin around the eyes, helping reduce the appearance of under-eye puffiness and sagging. Peptides are chains of amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins like collagen and are thought to aid in collagen production. While collagen molecules are too large to effectively penetrate the skin, peptides can and are thus well-researched on their role in signaling collagen production. The LotuSculpt line combines three peptides along with anti-aging botanicals to help address under-eye concerns like puffiness and fine lines and wrinkles. (Right now, you can get a full-sized LotuSculpt Eye Treatment Duo along with complimentary mini products with the Home Facial Kit!)
Promote lymphatic drainage
Lymphatic drainage is a specialty at Tracie Martyn, and the patented Beyond Microcurrent technology is famous for leaving you with a de-puffed face and eyes. Lymphatic drainage is the process of helping “drain” lymph fluid, which can help awaken the skin and get rid of puffiness. At home, you can practice lymphatic drainage by giving yourself a face massage either with your hands or with a tool like a jade roller. It’s easy to add this into your daily routine with a moisturizing serum like the Firming Serum (it also contains puffiness-reducing green tea and circulation-boosting bilberry!)—make sure it has some slip. Tap a rice grain-sized amount of Firming Serum onto your eye area and then start from the inner corners of your eyebrows and with your index fingers gently press upwards and slowly move out. Then, with your ring fingers on the corners of your eyes, apply light pressure in taps in a half circle outwards underneath your eyes and up to your temples.