Skin Problems and Solutions

What Do You Know About Dark Circles Under/Around The Eye Area
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Most people get dark circles under their eyes - or even all round the eye area - at some point.
 
Surprisingly, the most common cause isn't lack of sleep (although it does have an effect) but nasal congestion. The main reason for dark circles on pale skin tones is being able to see blood vessels under the skin. When your nose is bunged up, veins that usually drain from your eyes into your nose become dilated and darker. Fluid retention can also cause the capillaries under the eyes to become dilated and contribute to the same effect. Conditions that cause fluid retention (such as heart, thyroid, kidney and liver diseases) or medications that cause blood vessel dilation may be a factor (always discuss it with your doctor). Dark circles may also be a sign of dehydration. In those with darker skin tones, dark circles are sometimes, unfortunately, genetic.
 
Aging can provoke the appearance of dark circles, because the skin becomes thinner (and may be paler) so the blood vessels show up more: sun damage contributes, because it weakens the skin.
 
Rubbing itchy eyes, due to allergies and hayfever, can also result in dark circles; hayfever sufferers often notice them at the height of the season.
 
Another cause often overlooked is overproduction of the pigment melanin in the eye area. This may be because the very thin skin there is more sensitive to the sun. Sun damage will also thin skin further, by degrading collagen. Wearing sunscreen and big sunglasses can help with the problem, and prevent more pigmentation and skin thinning.
 
Iron-deficiency anemia results in less oxygen passing through the bloodstream, which produces a bluish tint. It's important to have a blood test, to make sure anemia is not the cause. If it is, take a non-constipating, highly absorbable form of iron, such as the product Iron Bisglycinate, by HealthAid. (The ferrous iron formulas prescribed for this by most doctors often result in nausea
and constipation, according to Dr Ivor Cavill, senior lecturer in dermatology at Cardiff University School of Medicine.)
 
Natural prescription
 
Supplements containing vitamin C, or grapeseed extract, or pycnogenol contain antioxidant compounds that may help to strengthen blood vessels. (Anyone on blood-thinning medication, such as Warfarin, should take these only under medical supervision.)
 
Topical creams containing vitamin K may help. Other ingredients in 'topicals' include eyebright, horse chestnut, gingko and yarrow, which increase localised circulation -also witch hazel, for its astringent properties, which may help to shrink the capillaries. Pycnogenol and green tea may also help strengthen the tissue in the eye area.
 
Lifestyle
 
Be sure to get enough sleep and STOP SMOKING!
 
Quick fixes
 
A cold compress will help constrict blood vessels and normalize tissue color: wring out a flannel in very cold water, place on eyes and lie down for 10-15 minutes as many times as possible. Alternatively, smooth an ice cube -in a cotton hanky or muslin cloth - round the eye area, which also reduces puffiness. Lie down with chilled cucumber slices, or slices of raw potato, or plain teabags (rich in natural tannins)' over your eyes.
 
Complementary and alternative medicine
 
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) holds that a bluish cast under the eyes is due to an imbalance in kidney energy (the under-eye area is linked to the kidneys in TCM): if you decide to consult a TCM practitioner, always choose someone who is registered and appropriately qualified.
  
Diet
 
Feast on cranberries, blueberries and bilberries, blackcurrants, onions and legumes, garnished with lots of parsley and washed down with green tea (or black); they contain the antioxidants that may help to fortify blood vessels. Drink plenty of water to combat dehydration, flush out toxins and discourage fluid retention (if you don't drink enough water, your body will want to retain it, resulting in fluid retention and toxins staying in the system). Cut down on dietary salt, which may contribute to dilated blood vessels. 
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