Aromatherapy For Dark Under-Eye Circles

Banish those panda eyes!Dark circles are technically known as ‘periorbital dark circles’, and everyone hates these shadowy blemishes under the eyes since they make you look much older than your true age.

Quite often, dark circles can age a woman far more than wrinkles and even grey hair. And as if that was not bad enough news, some unfortunate individuals begin to develop ‘raccoon eyes’ in their late teens or early twenties. Life can be cruel.

It is often stated that genetics determines whether you will suffer from dark circles, and although it’s true that some people do inherit them, there is no conclusive evidence to support the theory that this is always the case. A lack of sleep, poor diet, chaotic lifestyle habits, stress, anaemia and certain liver conditions can all contribute towards dark circles or make them worse, since they stand out more when you are tired and pale.

So what really causes under-eye dark circles?

The science bit

Underneath the skin around the eyes are the tiny blood vessels known as capillaries, and these are so small that quite often red blood cells leak out from them into the surrounding skin tissue. This is perfectly natural and the body has a mechanism to deal with these leaked blood cells. A special enzyme is released to break-down and absorb the errant blood cells, but this process leaves a dark bluish-black residue behind exactly the same as a bruise, due to components in haemoglobin.

So these unsightly dark circles are actually very similar to bruises, and they can be an indication of a weak blood vessel network which explains the hereditary link. If you are prone to this and persistently burn the candle at both ends with late nights and too much alcohol etc, the chances are that you will end up with permanent dark circles under your eyes.

The good news is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on those outrageously expensive eye cream treatments containing chemicals, because aromatherapy can help care for the delicate eye area and help to reduce those dark shadows around the eyes using only natural products.

Flower Power!

Hydrosols for dark circles

I’ve treated dark circles in my clinic for over 30 years, and have found that hydrosols are by far the simplest, most economical, effective treatment for combating dark circles and puffiness round the eyes when used as a regular treatment. Several hydrosols such as lavender, rose, orange blossom, frankincense and geranium can all help fade dark circles.

But in my experience, nothing beats the power of roman chamomile hydrosol for reducing those dreaded dark circles. Admittedly, this hydrosol doesn’t have a pretty fragrance like the floral ones, but the miracles it performs on dark and puffy eyes more than makes up for it, believe me! German chamomile hydrosol also works just as effectively but most people prefer the slightly less ‘earthy’ aroma of roman chamomile hydrosol.

Soak two cotton pads with hydrosol and place one over each closed eyelid. Leave them on for around 5 minutes and finish off by rinsing off the residue completely. It is quite normal for your skin to tingle after a few minutes as the hydrosol sets to work. After the treatment your eyes will feel refreshed and alert, and you should see an immediate reduction in puffiness, although you will obviously need regular treatments to fade the dark shadows significantly.

Blends for dark circles

Aloe Vera Gels help to fade dark circles by stimulating the micro-circulation and reducing puffiness. In addition it also softens, rehydrates and nourishes the skin which makes it an ideal treatment for reducing wrinkles as well. A good quality gel does not tend to creep into the eyes which makes it perfect for this very sensitive area when adding essential oils.

For a great revitalising under-eye treatment, add 1 drop of roman chamomile and 1 drop of lavender essential oils to 30mls of aloe vera gel base and mix together well. Sandalwood essential oil is also an ideal choice due to its renowned moisturising properties plus it smells great blended with lavender. If you don’t have any aloe vera gel base use a carrier lotion/cream, or carrier oil using the same concentration; 2 drops of essential oil to 30mls of carrier.

Palmarosa is also an excellent essential oil for facial treatments because of its hydrating and rejuvenating effects, plus it also blends well with sandalwood. Other valuable essential oils that can be used around the delicate eye area include geranium for its sebum balancing properties and of course, rejuvenating rose and neroli which both smell exquisite.

How to apply

Before starting any eye treatment you should thoroughly cleanse and dry your face to help with the absorption of the nutritious oils. When applying your treatment, just place a few dots under the eye socket area and gently tap it towards the top of the cheekbones. Repeat the same method under the eyebrow area, but avoid getting any blend onto the eyelids since it can smudge onto the eyelashes and then into the eyes.

Essential oils should be used in a very, very low concentration on the skin around the eyes. Never use more than 1 drop of essential oil to every 15mls of carrier oil, base cream or lotion, and apply only once a day avoiding the eyelashes and eyelids since it can easily smudge into the eyes.

There’s no need to rub the blend into the skin, it should spread on its own due to the heat of your skin and will be absorbed naturally. I recommend using a base cream rather than a carrier oil since it ‘creeps’ less towards the eye area. Give your skin a rest from treatments every few days if you plan on using this regimen regularly to fade your dark circles.

Copyright © Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd 2013. Written by

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Did you know?

The skin around the eyes is the most fragile on the human body, and measures a mere 0.6mm in thickness!

This is why heavy or thick creams should be avoided around the eye contour area since they can cause puffiness.

For the same reason, carrier oils are not ideal although light carrier oils such as Peach or Apricot Kernel can be used occasionally as an intensive moisturising treatment.

Do take extra care to ensure that you do not get any oil into the eyes.

Cause & effect

Causes of under eye circles

There is a lot that you can do to help keep the skin around the eyes looking young, and it's never too late to start.

Before you reach for the expensive cream or lotion treatments you should look at your habits and environment.

As much as is possible, you should always try to avoid the following;-

• poor diet
• too much alcohol
• lack of sleep
• smoky atmospheres
• too much sun
• sinus problems
• rubbing eye area

Under-eye treatment

Under-eye treatment with aromatherapy

Essential oils that can be used in base creams around the delicate eye area include;-

• Chamomile Roman
• Geranium
• Helichrysum
• Lavender
• Neroli
• Palmarosa
• Rose
• Sandalwood

Remember that essential oils should only ever be used in a very, very low concentration on the skin around the eyes.

Use no more than 1 drop of essential oil to 15 mls/grams of base cream, and don't get too close to the eyes when applying it.