Not a day goes by that I don’t get asked about some aspect of a patient’s facial appearance, including crow’s feet, puffy eyelids, dark circles, and wrinkles. The aging process may take its toll on your eyelids, as collagen in the skin is less and helps to create those “circles.”
I asked my colleague dermatologist Dr. Bobby Buka, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, about these unwanted dark circles and he indicated that “puffy eyes are progressive, and as we age, we lose fat pads that rest below our eyes. These dark circles that may appear underneath your eyelids and can be visible as a discoloration with puffiness of the eyelids is actually blood coursing through veins beneath.”
Those affected by allergies, particularly children and young adults, may have the presence of a horizontal crease or line on the middle part of the nose. This may reflect persistent upward “rubbing” of the nose from itchiness and explain the appearance of a nasal “crease” associated with allergies, especially if your allergies are not adequately controlled or treated.
With proper therapy for your allergies and sinuses, you can feel better and look better! You can work to improve your skin’s appearance as well as restoring improved nasal and sinus function. This may then translate into an improved facial appearance. What many women don’t know is that their skin care products (i.e. cosmetics such as mascara, eyeliner, etc) may cause localized skin allergy/irritation or contact dermatitis that can result in age-like effects of the eyelids and the skin surrounding it.
Try these tips to improve dark circles and eye puffiness:
1. Elevate your pillow slightly at night to fight gravity causing extra nighttime eyelid puffiness.
2. Keep your water and fluid levels adequate for your daily needs, especially during hot weather climate. Doing this can replenish the deeper layers of the skin with water delaying drooping of skin, and improve the appearance of dark circles. Avoiding dehydration can help to decrease the effect of gravity and promote well-hydrated skin that tends to sag less with advancing age!
3. Apply evening or nighttime cool compresses for short periods to both eyelids.
4. Get allergy-patch tests to learn if you’re sensitive to your facial and eye care products.
5. Invest in facial and anti-aging moisturizers as well as nightly eye cream, Dr. Buka recommends, especially for stubborn wrinkles.
6. Stick to a well-balanced diet.
7. Get tested to determine if you have allergies.
8. Work with your allergist and dermatologist team to look and feel your best!
Dr. Clifford W. Bassett is an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Long Island College Hospital and on the faculty of NYU School of Medicine. He is the current vice chair for public education committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. No information in this blog is intended as medical advice to any reader or intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition.