There are a lot of things that change as you age, both physically and intellectually. The upside is increased confidence and a greater sense of ease in the world. At just shy of 50, I ask for what I want; I don’t freak out when things don’t go as planned; and I take life a lot less seriously than I did 20 years ago. This, I guess, is the “wisdom” everyone associates with aging. Eventually — if we’re lucky enough to grow old — we’ll all be wise.
We will also be wrinkled. Inevitably — unless you’re Cindy Crawford — the skin on the hands will stop snapping back; the upper arms will appear crepey; and the neck will slacken and form a waddle. None of these is fun, but they are beautiful in their own way — or so I’m learning. They say “I was here,” and “I’ve lived.”
The one sign of aging, however, that I’ve yet to put a positive spin on is what’s happening around my eyes: dark circles, under-eye bags, and crow’s feet. They’re not the biggest changes to my appearance, but because we connect with our eyes, they are the most immediately noticeable (and I’d rather not cue “old” right off the bat). Unfortunately, the delicate skin around the eye makes these problems particularly difficult to combat.
But difficult is not the same as impossible. Two years ago, I started a regimen of natural remedies for younger-looking eyes, and I gotta say: the results are good. Using the right ingredients and treatments for the specific problem is key. You wouldn’t heal a broken leg with a band-aid, after all. So, without any more rambling on the pros and cons of aging, here are three DIY treatments for younger-looking eyes.
To lighten dark circles: Use a milk compress
Milk has two properties that make it uniquely equipped for fixing dark circles around the eyes.
- First, fermented milk contains lactic acid, an anti-inflammatory that eases swelling. This is important because, as we age, the skin below the eyes thins out, prompting the blood vessels under it to show through. When these blood vessels swell, they cause the area under the eyes to appear darker.
- Second, milk’s cool temperature constricts blood vessels, which in turn reduces puffiness.
To do: Soak cotton pads in milk and set on closed eyelids for 10 minutes. Remove and rinse.
To minimize under-eye bags: Opt for coffee “patches”
The caffeine in coffee stimulates the circulatory system, which is why it’s effective in minimizing under-eye bags. Here’s how that works (without getting too science-y):
- When functioning properly, the lining in our blood vessels does two things: 1) it helps prevent blood from clotting as it moves through the body; 2) it control the materials — things like inflammatory cells — that enter and exit the blood stream.
- When the lining does not function properly, blood flow slows and pools, and fluids fail to be expelled from the blood stream.
- Thus, effective blood flow indicates a properly functioning blood vessel lining. (This is where caffeine comes in.)
- Research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2013 showed that drinking a single cup of coffee improved blood flow in study participants’ fingers. This, in turn, indicated that participants’ blood vessel lining was functioning properly.
In short, under-eye bags are all about the blood vessels. When working correctly, blood vessel lining removes fluids that can pool under the eyes and create the appearance of shadows.
To do: Snip a cotton pad in half and soak in brewed coffee that has cooled to room temperature. Place cotton pad under the eyes for five minutes. Remove and rinse.
To reduce appearance of crow’s feet: Use rosehip oil
Rosehip oil has been used to reduce scars, heal wounds, and treat fine lines for ages (pun intended). That’s because it’s rich in vitamin A, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants, all of which support tissue and cell regeneration in skin.
In a 2015 study, participants with post-surgical scars were divided into two groups. One group treated their incision site with topical rosehip oil twice daily for 12 weeks. The other group received no treatment. At the end of the trial, the group using rosehip oil experienced significant improvements in scar color and inflammation compared to their no treatment counterparts. Additionally, a randomized controlled trial showed that rosehip powder significantly reduced the appearance of crow’s feet after eight weeks of oral consumption.
To do: Rub two drops of rosehip oil around the eyes twice daily.