Skin Around Eyes
Author: Dr. M. V. Subramanyam, Professor and Head of the Department of Shalakya Tantra, College of Ayurveda Hassan, India
The skin around eyes is vulnerable part of body's entire skin surface. In most areas of the body, the blood supply cools, warms, and nourishes the skin, but facial skin, and especially the skin around the eyes, serves an additional function, that of emotional response.
On top of the emotional stresses and free radical assaults, environmental factors such as automobile exhaust and second-hand tobacco smoke cause adverse effects on skin. Allergies to nail polish and some perfumed cosmetics can also lead to a compromised skin texture around the eyes. Even internet addiction can be a factor! And of course, the sun can produce further signs of aging. Sunscreen lotions and creams are widely used to protect facial skin, but unfortunately, most sunscreens cannot be used close to the eyes.
Facial expressions are always changing in response to what happens around you. This creates tremendous stress in the facial skin and eye area. All of these reactions require complex biochemical changes. Some of the by-products of these reactions are free radicals and some are hormones such as adrenaline. The free radicals interact with normal skin structure and either have a destructive action or impair biological function. The result is that the skin looks dull and lifeless, and wrinkles prematurely as its collagen structure is impaired.
A drop of almond oil gently dabbed above and under the eyes keeps the skin there smooth and supple. Regular application is a good preventive measure. Almond oil is very fine-textured oil that is easily absorbable, giving the skin a plump, healthy feel.
Don't rub the area around the eyes. It serves no purpose and can be dangerous. Try acupressure massage with the point where the eye meets the bridge of the nose being the first point. Press gently with the thumb and continue pressing all the way across the lids. Repeat for the lower lid with a slight thrusting movement. Massage the second point on the other extreme of the eyes with single fingers in a circular motion.
Apply used chamomile tea bags after you have chilled them. Tannic acid in the tea has an astringent effect that will shrink swollen tissues. Chilled cucumber slices can also be placed over the eyes, but their action is gentle and only useful for crow's feet a few days old. Grated potato wrapped in a cheesecloth works faster.
Dark circles are often caused by hyper-pigmentation, meaning the concentration of melanin is higher around your eyes. These are thought to be genetic and are often similar to brown age spots. Pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives can also lead to a darkening of the skin around the eyes. Some authorities suggest undue emotional stress also causes dark circles under the eyes.
Use a facial sunscreen with an SPF of at least 20. This prevents further damage to the sensitive skin under the eye.
Cold compresses are useless and provide the illusion of change without lasting effect. They come in handy only if there is considerable tissue swelling.
An excellent under-eye lightening cream used in Ayurveda can be made by using extracts of coconut, manjishta (the root of Rubia cordifolia), and sandalwood oil. For a generic facial lightening agent, mix one teaspoon of carrot juice, one teaspoon of orange juice and a little honey and apply this on the face for about 15 minutes everyday.
Discriminate between specialized lightening creams and cheap bleaches, which can actually damage your skin in the long run, making it look patchy and discolored. Some bleaches come with special after-bleach creams to offset damage that might be caused to sensitive skins, but you are advised to stick to natural preparations, which are free from long-term side effects.
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