By Alison Angold CIDESCO ITEC
Essential oils can be very effective for many different skin conditions, so why not use them in addition to your other skincare, for all the issues that we get around the eye area. In this article we are going to look at how to use essential oils to relieve under eye bags, puffiness & dark circles around the eyes, as well as lines and wrinkles around the eye area.
We can use essential oils to relieve under eye bags, puffiness & dark circles, by creating recipes in the following ways;
The best essential oils to relieve under eye bags & puffiness
The main oils that we need to use are;
The skin around our eyes – particularly underneath the eyes, is much thinner than the rest of our face, so needs to be treated much more gently. It is also the reason that we suffer with so many different issues in this area, as everything is much more visible, due to the thin skin.
Every essential oil has a unique chemical complex, which means each oil has a variety of different therapeutic actions. The therapeutic properties we need to treat the various eye issues are;
Astringent – these oils tighten the tissues, especially in the skin, so useful for firming the eye area.
Anti-inflammatory – reduces inflammations, including puffiness.
Vaso-constrictive – this means that the blood vessels in the area, will constrict, reducing the flow of blood. Due to the thin skin, we see the blood more easily under the eyes, which causes the dark circles.
Diuretic – reduces the amount of fluid in an area – often puffiness can be caused by excess fluid.
Detoxifying – removes impurities in an area – again a build up of excess waste can cause under eye bags.
Cooling – cools the area of application, useful for restricting blood flow, to reduce the appearance of dark circles.
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Bergamot is a lovely refreshing citrus oil that is anti-inflammatory and cooling, so useful for relieving puffiness and reducing blood flow in dark circles under the eyes.
This is a wonderful essential to treat issues around the eye. It is astringent so will tighten the skins tissues around the eyes. The cooling properties will help to reduce inflammation while its vasoconstrictive actions, reduce the flow of blood so that the darkness is reduced. Finally it has detoxifying properties which means it will help remove excess waste and toxins.
This a very hydrating essential oil that is effective at treating wrinkles. It is a very rejuvenating essential oil as it helps to hydrate and smooth out lines and wrinkles
Grapefruit is astringent and detoxifying, so ideal for firming the skin and removing the excess waste that may be building up in the under eye area.
Lavender is a naturally healing oil, that is used for a wide range of skin conditions. It is anti-inflammatory so reduces puffiness and inflammation, while also being cooling and detoxifying, so useful for removing built up waste in the area.
Peppermint is a strong essential oil, that should be used in very small amounts around the eyes, but the eyes will benefit due to its cooling and vasoconstrictive properties.
How to use essential oils to relieve under eye bags & puffiness
Roller ball blend
This is a great recipe for reducing dark circles under the eyes, relieving puffiness, and reducing dark circles.
Sweet Almond Oil, 6 drops Cypress, 6 drops Grapefruit, 6 drops Lavender
Simply fill a 10ml amber roller bottle with sweet almond oil. Sweet almond oil is a lovely light oil, that absorbs well and has anti-inflammatory properties. Then add the drops of essential oils, and shake to blend. The metal roller ball applicator is ideal as it adds an element of coolness to the blend, which will also help reduce under eye bags, and relieve puffiness.
Note – do not over apply this blend! If you use too much product on the delicate skin here, it could cause the area to puff up even more. My suggestion is to use this in evening. Due to the oily content, it may be hard to apply make-up over it, and it also allows the oils to have time to absorb overnight. I have been using a few swipes of this in the evening, and definitely wake to up to less puffy, dark eyes!
Using these cool compresses are good for dark circles and puffiness.
Cotton pads, cold water, 1 or 2 drops of peppermint OR 1 or 2 drops of bergamot.
In a small bowl add 1 or 2 drops of peppermint OR bergamot (do not use both) to some cold water. If your skin is very sensitive use bergamot instead of peppermint. Add the cotton pads, and leave in fridge, to get cold. Take one cotton pad, squeeze out the excess water and carefully apply on the area under the eye only, for 10 minutes. There was a definite reduction in the darkness under my eyes after applying these – the reduction was minimal and temporary, but definitely there.
Note – prepare these as you need them. I experimented by preparing a few peppermint soaked cotton pads and leaving them in the fridge, so they were there when I need them – however the peppermint intensifies, making them too strong for use after the first day!
Hydrating eye cream
This super charged eye cream is great for using under the eyes to prevent and reduce lines and wrinkles.
Plain eye cream, 3 drops lavender, 3 drops frankincense, 3 drops cypress
Take a plain – but already effective – eye cream like Cera Ve Reparative Eye Cream. Dispense into a small 10ml pot or pump bottle and add in the essential oils. Stir to mix, and apply a small amount, daily underneath the eyes.
Inflamed or itchy skin? Check out the oils and products you need HERE.
Essential oil products to relieve under eye bags & puffiness
Creating your own essential oil recipes is fun and easy to do, but there are some wonderful aromatherapy eye products to buy. These are some of my favourites.
What causes puffiness and dark circles under the eyes?
There are many different causes of under eye bags, puffiness and dark circles. The skin underneath the eyes is very thin, so whatever is occurring under the skin, is magnified due to the thinner skin. The blood vessels are close to the surface of the skin, so show through more, causing darkness in this area
Waste and toxins can build up underneath the eyes, causing the ‘bags’ and puffiness. Any excess waste in our bodies – caused by a poor diet, smoking, drugs/medication, or excess alcohol – will ‘sit’ in certain areas just below the skins surface. This can result, in the bags under the eyes.
Lack of sleep, can cause a heaviness under the eyes, which results in puffy looking skin.
An excess of water and fluid can also be responsible for the bags and puffiness. During times of hormonal imbalance, excess fluid pools in certain areas of the body, causing puffiness.
A poor diet. A lack of vitamins and minerals in the diet or excess bad fats, additives and preservatives in the diet can result in dark circles or puffiness under the eyes. Saturated fats, and many food additives can cause our body systems to get filled up with ‘toxins’ – which are basically substances that the body does not need or cannot use. While our body is very clever at picking up and removing these toxins, if there is an excess then they can pool in certain areas and cause puffiness.
Using your face cream under your eyes – As we already discussed the skin under the eyes is much thinner than elsewhere on the face, so your face cream will likely be too heavy and cause the skin to puff up. It is important to use a separate product underneath the eye to suit the skin here.
How can we reduce puffiness & bags under the eyes
There is a type of massage called lymph drainage. Lymph is basically waste that our body does not need and cannot use. A lot of the waste in our bodies is removed by our lymphatic system, however if there is an excess of waste, it can pool in certain areas of the body, including underneath the eyes.
The excess waste sits just under the skins surface, thus causing the puffiness. By performing very light gentle massage movements we can help move this waste along, creating a less puffy area.
It is important to always massage towards the lymph nodes, so the waste is being taken somewhere for removal. We have lymph nodes all over our face, head and chest, but the ones we want to move towards here are at the temples, and the ones just in front of the ears. Try these simple steps, remembering that everything we are trying to move, is just underneath the skins surface, so very gentle pressure, is all you need;
- Using your index and middle fingers, perform rocking movements, from the outside corners of the eyes to the inside corners. Do this gently, several times. (This begins to break-up any existing waste/deposits)
- Using your ring fingers tap gently, back and forth, along the area under the eyes.
- Finish by very gently, sweeping from the inside corner of the eyes, out and finishing at the temples, with a gentle pressure. Use your middle finger for this and perform a few times.
Keeping the area cool
Using cucumber slices on the area is often seen as a cliché when treating the eyes, but the fact is they do have an effect on the puffiness and dark circles. The coolness of the cucumber – or potato slices – cause the blood vessels to constrict, meaning that blood flow will be slowed and the darkness of the blood shows up less under the skin. This is usually a temporary measure, but performed regularly can help keep the under eye area free from puffiness and dark circles.
Similarly a cold teaspoon applied underneath the eye for a few minutes can have the same effect. Keep a couple of teaspoons in the fridge, solely for this purpose.
Alternatively, see my recipe for essential oil cool compress, above.
Deal with fluid retention
If you know you suffer with fluid retention, then chances are, the puffiness or under eye bags will be worse. There are many over the counter remedies for dealing with this issue, but essential oils can also help naturally, to treat water retention.
Get a good nights sleep!
Easier said than done! Especially if you suffer with insomnia or associated issues, but trying to get a full nights sleep, will help with reducing puffiness or dark circles around the eyes. Try going to bed and rising at around the same time each day, avoid heavy foods or alcohol before bed, try an aromatherapy bath before retiring, or, again use specific essential oils to help induce a good nights sleep.
It is also worth noting that how you sleep, can affect your eyes. If you sleep on your front, with your face on your pillow, you can cause excess fluid to pool under the eyes, causing (temporary) puffiness, along with the fact that sleeping this way, could increase the chances of getting lines and wrinkles. Invest in a silk pillow, to reduce all of this occurring.
A diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and water, and low in junk food, or fried food will reduce the chances of puffiness around the eyes. As we have already discussed ‘waste’ from bad foods, tends to sit in various areas of the body and cause puffiness.
Precautions of essential oils for relieving under eye bags & puffiness
The minimal amounts of the essential oils suggested here, should be safe to use, however, please be aware of the following precautions;
Bergamot and Grapefruit are phototoxic, which means the skin will be more prone to burning, when applied topically, so avoid direct sunlight after application.
Cypress is not recommended to use during pregnancy.
Peppermint, counteracts the affects of homeopathic medicines and should not be used by those with hyper sensitive skin.
If at all unsure of the use of any essential oils, due to any medical conditions, please seek specific advice from your doctor, local aromatherapy practitioner or contact me for a consultation.
|About the Author |
Alison Angold is a fully qualified (certified) beauty therapist, massage therapist and aromatherapist from the UK. She has over 25 years experience in this industry and has worked in a variety of beauty salons, spa’s as well as running her own successful beauty and massage business. Her career has allowed her to treat many, many clients, with skincare concerns, medical conditions, and a whole variety of other ailments and issues, that has enabled her to work closely with essential oils, prescribing specific blends for these clients to help with these conditions. Her qualifications in the use of essential oils and aromatherapy, allow her to share this knowledge with others, in a safe, reliable way.