The life of a college student usually consists of all-nighters, unhealthy amounts of caffeine and a sleep schedule made up of sporadic naps throughout the day. Even though we try to get an optimal amount of sleep each night, sometimes it's just not possible with all the exams, assignments and deadlines tossed our way. Lack of sleep doesn't only make you feel extremely tired, but it also shows up on your face in the form of dark circles. While dark circles may be representative of the long hours you dedicated to studying for your classes, you might not want to display them to the world.
The most common explanation for having dark circles is, of course, lack of sleep, a concept that all college students should be familiar with. There are also a variety of other reasons for those pesky dark circles, such as oversleeping, sun exposure, fluid retention, etc. For the common causes of under-eye dark circles, here are several ways for you to banish them from your face!
1. Sleep enough, but not too much.
Let's start off with the most obvious tip: get enough sleep. Most of us know that sleep deprivation is the main contributor to dark circles. However, it turns out that oversleeping is not the best rebuttal either. The trick is to get the proper amount of sleep each night. According to Sleep Foundation, the optimal amount of sleep for young adults is seven to nine hours, so aim to sleep for this amount of time each night and see if those pesky dark circles fade away.
2. Use tea bags.
Putting tea bags underneath your eyes lets you kill two birds with one stone by not only reducing your dark circles, but also reducing any puffiness you have. Brew two tea bags (green or black tea are the most effective), then set them aside or put them in the fridge to cool down before you place them under your eyes. During this time, you can sip the nice hot cup of tea you just made and relax! After the tea bags have cooled, squeeze out any excess liquid so that the bags are not soaking wet and put them underneath your eyes. Leave them on for about 15-30 minutes and let the tea work its magic. The reason tea can reduce dark circles and puffiness is because it contains caffeine and tannins, which help constrict swollen blood vessels and shrink them.
3. Cool it down.
There's a reason why people put cucumbers underneath their eyes: to cool them down! Applying something cool to your under-eyes will constrict any swollen blood vessels and reduce the appearance of bags as well. If you don't have any cucumbers on hand, no worries because two metal spoons will do the trick. Simply hold the spoons under cold running water until they're cold, or put them in the freezer. Then, gently place the hollow ends of the spoons over your eyelids and relax for a few minutes while the cold does its job. If you don't want to keep using spoons, I suggest investing in a cooling gel mask that you can use whenever you're in need.
4. Eliminate excess salt.
Dark circles can be due to excessive salt in our diets. Eating too much salt causes water retention, which makes your body bloat, which can cause under-eye puffiness. As a college student, it can be hard to not eat cup noodles and fast food, both of which contain lots of sodium. If you find yourself consuming a lot of salt, remember to drink more water to help your kidneys flush the sodium out of your system. If possible, try cutting back on the salt, which is not only beneficial to your under-eyes, but is good for your overall health.
5. Stay hydrated.
Caffeine and alcohol may also be the culprits of your dark circles because they dehydrate the body. Dehydration is one cause of under-eye bags and dark circles because when you're dehydrated, your body will retain water, causing puffiness and bloating (similar to the effects of high sodium intake). Stay hydrated throughout the day by reducing your caffeine and alcohol consumption and increasing your water intake. Remember that our bodies are about 60% water. Most health authorities recommend the 8x8 rule, which is drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to stay optimally hydrated. You can use apps like My Water Balance or Plant Nanny, to keep track of your water consumption.
6. Protect your eyes.
You should be doing this nevertheless because the skin around your eyes is extremely sensitive. According to Mayo Clinic, overexposure to the sun can cause dark circles due to increased melanin production. To keep your eyes safe when outdoors, don't forget to put on sunscreen, sunglasses or both!
7. Be aware of your allergies.
This is an important one to remember, especially when allergy season comes along. Allergies can cause dark circles because they trigger your body's histamines, which causes your blood vessels to dilate or get darker. If you think your dark circles could be due to allergies, contact your doctor for an antihistamine that you can take.
Keep in mind that there's absolutely nothing wrong with having dark circles, but if you want to reduce the appearance of them while improving your health, hopefully these tips work for you!
Lead Image Credit: Remy Loz via Unsplash