Dealing with Those Dreaded Dark Circles

As we get older and our priorities start to pile up, it can be hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle, let along get enough sleep at night. Dark circles are a key indicator of stress and lack of sleep,  and can become more distinguished over time if not taken care of, giving the face a tired, worn and aged look. Here are a few tips to diminish those dreaded dark circles and stop looking like a panda!

  • Almond oil is great for softening the skin and holding in moisture, which can help to reduce dark circles caused by dehydrated skin and can also aid in depuffying eyes. Apply a small amount over dark circles before going to bed and gently massage it into the skin, then leave it on overnight and wash it off with cold water in the next morning. You can also use almond oil in your diet and make a hydrating face mask by combining two teaspoons of almond oil with honey.

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  • Tomatoes are chockfull of antioxidants and contain bleaching properties that can lighten skin to a great extent. Crush a tomato and spread the pulp mixture and juice over your dark circles. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes and rinse it off with water. You can also drink tomato juice as an alternate to the eye mask, or make a face mask with tomato pulp and plain yoghurt.
  • Rosewater hydrates and rejuvenates the skin and has a soothing effect on tired eyes. Due to its mild astringent properties, it also works as a good skin toner and makeup remover. Soak cotton eye pads in pure rose water for a few minutes, place the pads on your closed eyelids and leave them on for about 15 minutes, then remove and gently rub the essence into your dark circles. Do this twice daily for a few weeks and check for results!

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  • Crushed mint leaves are a good option for treating under eye dark circles because of its cooling and hydrating properties and the soothing sensation it gives to tired eyes. Place the crushed mint leaves around the eyes, leave on for 10 minutes and wipe off the residue with damp cotton or a splash of cool water and lightly massage the area around the eyes. Add cucumber paste for added hydration, or mix into a facial mask with honey and cucumber. Mint can also be consumed in veggie smoothies.
  • Essences like Acymer Tempus Moisturizing Essence can also serve to reduce dark circles caused by dehydrated skin. These are water-based products that contain hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and plant essences like aloe vera juice.
  • Cold silver spoons can also help get rid of dark circles under your eyes. Put a silver spoon in your fridge for 3 minutes and then gently touch your under eye area with it (do not squeeze or press, but lightly pass it over your dark circles). Effective and easy to do!
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Blackheads Be Gone!

Nobody enjoys getting acne, least of all those pesky blackheads that seem to pop up when you least expect it. Blackheads occur when your pores become clogged with excess sebum (an oil created by the sebaceous glands that keeps skin supple) and dead skin cells. A blackhead occurs when the pore is open, as the excess of sebum/dead skin cells oxidizes when it comes in contact with the oxygen in the air, turning the pimple black. Harshly scrubbing your face will not get rid of blackheads but will actually strip your skin of oils and cause more sebum to leak out. Also, do not pop blackheads unless you want to risk permanent facial scarring. Instead, here are a few good solutions to getting rid of blackheads that you can try out!

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  • Bentonite clay masks

Bentonite clay is a mineral-rich substance that has been used for centuries to treat various skin-related ailments. When applying a Bentonite clay mask, your skin receives all of the clay’s nutrients while simultaneously drawing out the oils and impurities within your blackheads. It also helps with circulation, which helps with overall skin tone and health. Mix the clay with water if you have dry or sensitive skin, spread the mixture over your face and leave on until the clay hardens, then wash everything off with water or a wet cloth and view the results!

  • Pore strips

Pore strips are an easy and effective way of treating blackheads and is far less painful than popping all your acne. You can make your own pore strips using honey and strips of cotton (milk or cinammon are good supplementary ingredients, as both contain soothing and regenerative properties), spreading the honey over your face and stripping it off using the cotton. Honey has antibacterial properties that can help nourish the skin after it’s been stripped off. You can also purchase storebought ones like Acymer 2x Blackhead Removal Strips, but make sure you stick to your beauty routine to avoid getting more blackheads!

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  • Baking soda

Baking soda is an effective treatment for blackheads as well as acne as it works as a mildly abrasive exfoliant when mixed with water, helping to clear the skin of dirt and other impurities and stripping away dead skin cells without damaging the skin or infecting it with chemicals. Mix two teaspoons of baking soda with a bit of water to form a paste, then spread over your face and wait for it to dry up before rinsing it off with warm water.

  • Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a professional procedure that can be used for extreme cases of acne. A small tube is moved across the surface of the face, blowing tiny micro crystals onto the skin while simultaneously sucking up the top layer of dead skin cells to expose the layer underneath. It sucks out blackheads like a vacuum cleaner, but too much can actually make blackheads harder to remove and pores can become damaged and tough, so take caution!

Addressing Acne

Acne is a problem that nearly everyone goes through, whether in puberty or during your college years, but there are several solutions that can aid in diminishing and eventually getting rid of acne entirely. Remember, however, that it takes persistence, time and discipline in order to fully restore your skin depending on what kind of acne you have (read my article Blackheads Be Gone! to find out about how to address blackheads in specific!). Here are a few of my favorite solutions—pick a few to start out and I wish you luck!

  • Raw papaya has been used for centuries in order to treat skin ailments due to its anti-inflammatory enzyme papain and its ability to slough off dead skin cells and excess lipids from the surface of the skin, leaving it soft and smooth. Take the flesh of one papaya, mash it up well and apply it all over the face as a face mask, then leave on for 15-20 minutes and rinse off completely with warm water.

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  • Tea tree oil is especially known for its use in acne solutions, but unlike the sebum oil your skin naturally secretes, tea tree oil acts like a solvent that cuts through the extra sebum and dead skin cells and unblocks the pores. Its antibacterial properties also kill off any acne-causing bacteria and helps prevent further outbreaks.
  • Green tea, rice flour and honey combined into a face mask packs a triple threat for acne. The anti-bacterial properties of green tea and honey help in preventing acne, while rice flour also has lightening properties which lightens marks, blemishes and acne scars on the face. To make the mask, take one green tea bag and dip in into hot water for 10 minutes. When the water cools down, squeeze the green tea water into a bowl and throw away the tea bag. Add 2 tablespoons of rice flour to the tea water and mix with 1 tablespoon of honey to form a paste. Apply this mask onto your face for 10 minutes and rinse off by scrubbing your face in circular motions.

Image source: http://www.hungryforchange.tv/images/avocado-and-honey.jpg

  • An avocado & honey mask is an excellent solution to fighting acne. Avocadoes contain Vitamins C and E, which helps to regenerate and repair skin, reduce acne inflammation and hydrate the skin. The two can also be put into a blender and made into a delicious and healthy drink!
  • Turn to a product. Even when you’ve started a healthy diet and tried all sorts of different face masks, there can still be a chance that the acne needs to be fought by a more powerful substance, and that’s where anti-acne products like the Acymer Botanical Anti-Acne Repair Essence come in. Whether the product is prescribed by a dermatologist or purchased at the drugstore, these products are specifically designed to fight acne and they can often mean the difference between reducing your acne and killing it completely. Try a few out and find one you like, but remember that relying on one for too long can build resistance in your skin and lead to untreatable breakouts. Make sure that it corresponds with your skin type—if you have particularly sensitive skin, for example, find a mild product!