Dark circles, puffiness, discolouration, fine lines and under-eye bags… the list of under-eye problems is truly endless. And the worst part is that despite sleeping enough, applying eye cream regularly and piling on cucumber slices, somehow those stubborn under-eye issues find an excuse to stay behind.

We understand that this can be annoying AF; so we spoke to an expert dermatologist to help break down this issue for you. Dr. Niketa Sonavane (@drniketaofficial), Cosmetic Dermatologist of Ambrosia Aesthetics talks to Be Beautiful about some common under-eye problems that most of us face.

From what causes dark circles, puffy eyes and fine lines to how to choose the best under eye cream, Dr. Niketa tells us all. Read on for an expert guide on how to deal with common under-eye problems.

 

BB: What are the main causes of under-eye problems, particularly dark circles?

BB: What are the main causes of under-eye problems, particularly dark circles?

Dr. Niketa: There are several reasons why you may have under-eye problems. Some of these are within your control. Such as eye strain, nutritional deficiencies and stress, while some, such as genetics, poor vision and allergies are not. The most common causes of dark circles I see amongst my patients is poor sugar metabolism and excessive screen time.

BB: Can you prevent dark circles and puffiness from a young age. If yes, how?

Dr. Niketa: In the current lifestyle scenario, I would recommend limiting your screen time as that’s the biggest reason for under-eye problems. Especially late night exposure to blue light emitted by mobile phones. Another tip is to limit the use of eye makeup. Eye makeup tends to be very drying on the eyelids and may cause a low-grade allergic reaction. This makes the delicate skin around your eyes appear dark, dry and wrinkled.

BB: Apart from an eye cream, what are some of the best ways to care for the under eyes?

Dr. Niketa: I love using a collagen hydro-gel under-eye mask when I am reading or watching television. They allow the skin to be soaked in moisture. Another favourite DIY that really works is cotton pads soaked in freshly brewed coffee. This helps tremendously in reducing puffiness around the eyes.

 

BB: Does applying kajal or mascara every single day cause dark circles or is this just a myth?

BB: Does applying kajal or mascara every single day cause dark circles or is this just a myth?

Dr. Niketa: Kajal and mascara are not directly responsible for dark circles, but overuse of eye makeup can sensitise the eyelid skin and cause problems. Make sure you discard expired eye makeup regularly. Mascara expires in 3 months, eyeliner in 6 months and eyeshadows expire about 9 months after your first use. Expired eye makeup carries a risk of infection and can irritate the skin on the eyelid. This can lead to rashes and pigmentation. Remove eye makeup everyday with a cotton pad saturated in micellar water. Place it on the eye area, apply gentle pressure, hold for a few seconds and swipe off the makeup. Excessive rubbing of the eyelids can cause darkening, wrinkles and puffiness. Make sure you clean your eye makeup thoroughly each day to prevent the dark pigment from accumulating on the eyelids, giving a false appearance of dark circles.

BB: How early should eye care begin?

Dr. Niketa: Apply moisturiser and sunscreen on your eyelids from a very early age. This prevents dehydration and UV damage of the eyelid skin. Apart from this, women should start using an eye cream in their late 20s or early 30s to prevent under-eye problems. Those who actually have under-eye issues such as pigmentation, hollowing or crow’s feet can consult a dermatologist at any age. There is no age limit for starting prescription strength under-eye creams or under-eye treatments if they are required. 

BB: What are some things you shouldn’t do that worsen under-eye problems?

Dr. Niketa: Use your under-eye creams in the prescribed or suggested manner. Applying a thick layer or applying too often can irritate the skin and make the problem worse. Don’t overdo DIY applications. Always wear your spectacles or lenses if you have poor vision. If your eyelid skin feels sore or dry after using a home remedy or eye cream, give it a break till it normalises. Apply only a moisturiser around your eyes during this time. Avoid using makeup on dry, itchy eyelids and consult a dermatologist ASAP if things worsen.

 

BB: How much does diet affect the under-eye area?

BB: How much does diet affect the under-eye area?

Dr. Niketa: The eyelid skin is very prone to water retention and puffiness. Avoid excessive salt as well as sugar. Both of these increase puffiness and bloating. Avoid packaged food as it contains large amounts of sodium and sugar. Drink lots of water to hydrate yourself and reduce your intake of alcohol and coffee. Antioxidant rich food such as colourful fruits and vegetables slow down collagen degradation. These can prevent under-eye wrinkles. Omega 3 fatty acids found in nuts, seeds and oily fish improve skin elasticity and prevent under-eye problems. Include plenty of leafy greens such as spinach, broccoli, lettuce, methi and sarson in your diet. These are rich in vitamin K and iron, which are commonly used in dark circle treatment.

BB: What are some things you shouldn’t do that worsen under-eye problems?

Dr. Niketa: Use your under-eye creams in the prescribed or suggested manner. Applying a thick layer or applying too often can irritate the skin and make the problem worse. Don’t overdo DIY applications. Always wear your spectacles or lenses if you have poor vision. If your eyelid skin feels sore or dry after using a home remedy or eye cream, give it a break till it normalises. Apply only a moisturiser around your eyes during this time. Avoid using makeup on dry, itchy eyelids and consult a dermatologist ASAP if things worsen.

BB: What about eye massages? Are they safe if done on an everyday basis?

Dr. Niketa: A quick 1-minute massage while applying your favourite eye cream is totally fine. Lymphatic massage with a jade roller or Gua Sha is also acceptable. Just watch out for signs of irritation or sensitivity such as redness, burning or itching.

 

BB: How does one choose a good eye cream?

BB: How does one choose a good eye cream?

Dr. Niketa: The texture of your eye cream should feel comfortable on your skin. It should be neither too greasy nor too dry. Eye creams should never cause irritation inside your eyes. If it does, then it is better to discard it. OTC eye creams are okay for hydration, but if you have actual under-eye problems that you wish to repair, then make sure you pick a prescription strength under-eye cream by consulting with your dermatologist. If you are young or looking at preventing under-eye issues then pick an eye cream with vitamin C. Caffeine creams work best at reducing puffiness. Wrinkles can be improved with peptides such as stem cell activators, Matrixyl, Argireline and Epidermal Growth Factors. Natural extracts such Bakuchiol and Centella Asiatica work well on sensitive skin. Kojic acid, Azelaic acid and Vitamin K help in improving dark discoloration. 

BB: Is it possible to prevent dark circles if you wear spectacles?

Dr. Niketa: Not all people who have spectacles have dark circles. If you have poor vision, make sure you use your prescribed spectacles or lenses daily. This will help in reducing eye strain and prevent dark circles.

BB: How safe are home remedies when it comes to treating under-eye problems?

Dr. Niketa: Avoid overdoing DIY home remedies. If any application causes an uncomfortable burning sensation, wash it off immediately with lots of plain water. Dark circles cannot be treated with home remedies. They work fine if you have mild under-eye problems or if you want temporary improvement, but for long term solutions, always consult a dermatologist. To reach out to Dr. Niketa for more personalised advice, log on to her website.