How to Brighten Eyes and Under-Eyes

How to Brighten Eyes and Under-Eyes

By Kylie Nicholson

DEC 9, 2022

Why does the under-eye area seem to age faster than the rest of the body’s skin? Our eyes are surrounded by some of the body’s most delicate, thin, sensitive skin, making it more susceptible to the intrinsic and extrinsic causes of aging, leading to more accelerated visible signs of aging. Because of this primary difference, our under-eye skin area needs a little extra TLC to maintain optimal elasticity, hydration, and collagen levels. We will explore ways to keep the under-eye area firm and healthy, including using OneSkin’s OS-01 EYE (coming soon!), a Topical Supplement with a slightly higher concentration of the OS-01 peptide, specifically designed with the delicate skin around the eyes in mind.

What causes dark circles under eyes and wrinkles?

The skin under the eyes is much thinner than the rest of the face and body, allowing more significant environmental damage to be incurred in this delicate area. There are only about 3 layers of stratum corneum under the eyes, while there are 15 layers throughout most of the rest of the body and up to 50 layers in the thickest areas, such as the palms and soles.
Many different factors can cause damage to the skin around the eyes, leading to dark eye circles and crow’s feet. A few of these factors include:
  • Rubbing or scratching at the eyes: because the skin here is delicate, blood vessels can easily break from rubbing or scratching, causing a dark and puffy appearance.1
  • Sun damage: Sun causes a majority of the damage our skin incurs, and the eye area is especially sensitive. Sunspots and hyperpigmentation are often caused by sun exposure.1
  • Age: With age, collagen and fat deplete, causing the area around the eyes to have a less full and healthy appearance.2
  • Lack of Sleep: A lack of sleep can cause a tired appearance, including under eye bags and also puffy eyes.2
  • Genetics: Some families have a genetic predisposition to the appearance of under eye bags, including a condition called periorbital hyperpigmentation, which refers to the propensity to develop naturally occurring dark under eye circles.2
  • For a more complete list of the causes of dark circles under eyes, fine lines, and crow's feet and some simple remedies, check out our blog!

    How Can You Brighten Your Under-Eyes?

    There are many ways to brighten the under eye area, including lifestyle changes, topical products, diet changes, and more. Some simple lifestyle changes that can be made to reduce the appearance of under eye circles include hydrating more efficiently, not drinking alcohol or smoking, and changing sleep habits.3 Other daily habits, such as regular exercise, can increase circulation and blood flow, brightening your skin.3 Several diet changes can also provide nutrients and vitamins that improve skin appearance. Some foods to add to your diet include:3
    • Potatoes: These are rich in Vitamin C, which aids in collagen synthesis.
    • Dark Chocolate: The flavanols in dark chocolate aid in preventing UV damage from the sun in the skin. This can slow down the aging caused by sun exposure.
    • Salmon: The Omega-3 vitamin in salmon improves blood flow and circulation, which prevents blood from pooling in the eye area and giving skin a dark appearance.
    • Walnuts: The fatty acids in walnuts provide similar benefits to the skin as salmon.
    For more foods that are beneficial for skin repair, check out our list of the top 10 best foods for skin repair.
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    Tips for How to Get Brighter Eyes

    Lifestyle Changes

    There are several simple day-to-day changes that can improve the appearance of eyes and overall skin health.
    • Sleeping Habits: An unregulated sleeping pattern can cause you to appear fatigued, which often includes fatigued eyes. Regulating your sleep cycle by going to bed and waking up at around the same time every day, and allowing yourself 7-9 hours of sleep per night, can help you look and feel more refreshed.4 Using more pillows when sleeping and elevating the head when sleeping can also decrease the amount of fluid that pools around the eyes during sleep, minimizing dark circles.4
    • Sun Care: Using sunscreen regularly, especially near the eye area, will help prevent further UV damage to the skin and can prevent its associated visible effects, including hyperpigmentation.4
    • Avoid Unnecessary Disruption to the Eye Area: Allergies and other environmental factors can make it tempting to rub or scratch at the eyes. This friction can quickly damage the delicate skin around the eyes and will cause the tearing of delicate blood vessels near the eyes. Avoiding this temptation is instrumental for keeping eyes bright.4

    At-Home Treatments

    There are many common household items that can be used to brighten eyes. Some include:
    • Cucumbers/ Cold Compress: Slices of cucumber or a cold compress placed on the eye area can reduce inflammation and prevent the dilation of blood vessels that can cause a red appearance around the eyes.1
    • Apply Tea Bags: Tea, such as green tea, can lessen irritation, swelling, and puffiness in the eyes. This is thanks to the polyphenol that’s contained in green tea, specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent. First steep the bags in tea, then allow them to cool before placing them on the eye area for about 10 minutes. 11
    • Eye Massage: A gentle massage of the eye area can improve circulation and lymph drainage, reducing puffiness and inflammation. Use gentle motions starting near the eyebrows and moving outwards, along the cheekbones, and down the nose. Make sure to not pull or stretch the skin to avoid tearing blood vessels. Repeat these steps for at least 30 seconds.7

    SHow to Brighten Eyes with Makeup

    Here are some makeup tips that will help minimize the appearance of dark circles and illuminate eyes.
    • Concealer/Foundation: Applying a colored concealer that is opposite the color of dark circles can neutralize their appearance under the eyes. For purple tones, apply a yellow concealer to minimize this coloration. For blue tones, apply an orange concealer. Then follow with a foundation that is true to your skin tone or one shade lighter for a lightened appearance.10
    • Light Diffuser: A special kind of makeup called an optical diffuser works by molecules of different sizes filling in divots in the skin. By reflecting light away from the skin, light-diffusing cosmetics can enhance the brightness of the under eye area.10
    • Blotting Papers: The use of blotting papers, small sheets that absorb oils from the skin, can improve the appearance of dark eyes by removing shine from the area that might be drawing attention.12

    How to Brighten Eyes with Skin Care

    Most eye creams claim to brighten eyes and remove dark under eye circles. But how do we know which claims are scientifically backed and which result from clever marketing? Here are a few tried and true ingredients scientifically proven to improve eye brightness and reduce dark circles:
    • Vitamin E and C: Topical application of vitamins E, C, retinol, and phytonadione proved to be fairly or moderately effective in treating wrinkles and dark under eye circles in an 8-week clinical study.8 Vitamin K and Caffeine: Topical application of Vitamin K and caffeine showed an improvement in wrinkles, dark under eye circles, and overall appearance and elasticity in the skin of all patients in a four-week clinical trial.
    • Retinoids: Retinoids are derivatives of Vitamin A that can decrease the appearance of dark circles in the eye area by activating collagen synthesis. This leads to increased skin smoothness and less discoloration. Retinoids should be used with caution, given the delicacy of the skin around the eyes and its common irritating side effects.
    Use scientifically-backed products: Launching soon, OS-01 EYE is a Topical Supplement powered by OneSkin’s OS-01 peptide, which is scientifically proven to increase skin’s epidermal thickness and increase the activity of key genes associated with collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin production.* OS-01 EYE was developed with a slightly higher concentration of the OS-01 peptide and formulated with ultra-hydrating ingredients to benefit the delicate skin of the eye area. OS-01 EYE contains Fucus Vesiculosus Extract, which helps reduce the appearance of dark circles and crow’s feet while enhancing overall skin luminosity.
    In a consumer study spanning 4 weeks of consistent use of our peptide eye cream (2x daily), the following visible improvements were observed:
    • Puffiness (66.7%)
    • Sagging under the eyes (66.7%)
    • Sagging eyelids (66.7%)
    • Crows feet (69.2%)
    • Under eye wrinkles/fine lines (76.9%)
    • Dryness (91.7%)
    *Shown in lab-grown ex vivo human skin models

    Key Takeaways

    • Dark under eyes and wrinkles are caused by many different factors, including environmental stressors, genetics, and age.
    • Application of different vitamins and ingredients can improve the appearance of eyes when applied topically. There are also several foods that promote skin healing.
    • Several at-home treatments are possible for reducing puffiness and minimizing dark circles.
    • Different makeup techniques and products can be used to brighten the appearance of the eyes and minimize the appearance of wrinkles and dark circles.
    • Skin care products, including OneSkin’s OS-01 EYE and vitamins, can help minimize the visible signs of aging and allow for a glowing appearance when applied regularly.
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