In addition to lack of sleep, dietary choices, genetics and your sleep position can lead to dark circles and puffy eyes. You may have heard beauty mavens swear that cold cucumbers slices placed over the eyes can help reduce swelling and dark circles. Scientific evidence as to whether the cucumbers work is scant, but plenty of people swear by the strategy. Compounds in the cucumbers and their temperature may explain their effectiveness.
Scientists have isolated a number of antioxidants present in cucumbers, including cucurbitacins, vitexin, orientin and isoscoparin, along with vitamins C and K. You can absorb these antioxidants through your skin. Dermatologist Gregory Nikolaidis told the "Huffington Post" that these antioxidants may help reduce the inflammation that causes puffiness and dark circles.
Cucumber slices work best to reduce swelling and dark circles when chilled. The cool temperature eases puffiness and discourages the accumulation of fluid under your eyes. Cold, damp teabags or a bag of frozen vegetables are alternatives.
Thin Skin and Vitamin K
Dark circles may appear as the result of a combination of thin skin and visible veins. The skin around your eyes is quite delicate; as you age, it becomes even thinner and more fragile, so veins that run underneath appear as dark circles. According to a study published in the "Journal of Drugs and Dermatology" in 2009, Vitamin K, which is present in cucumbers, can reduce dark discolorations due to bruising in people who undergo laser treatments. Vitamin K may similarly help reduce the discoloration that causes dark circles.
How to Use Them
The colder the cucumber slices, the better your results. "Real Simple" suggests placing the slices in the freezer for a few minutes before you apply them. When they're ready, lie on your back and place a cucumber over each closed eye lid. Rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Using cucumbers isn't a guarantee that your dark circles will go away, but the treatment is unlikely to do you any harm.
- Fitoterapia: Phytochemical and Therapeutic Potential of Cucumber
- The Chalkboard Magazine: Garden Fresh Beauty
- Real Simple: How to Treat Puffy Eyes
- Journal of Drugs and Dermatology: The Role of Topical Vitamin K Oxide Gel in the Resolution of Postprocedural Purpura
- MSN: The Myth of Bags Under the Eyes
Andrea Boldt has been in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. A personal trainer, run coach, group fitness instructor and master yoga teacher, she also holds certifications in holistic and fitness nutrition.