Operation Dark circle

There are some problems related to specific skin conditions for which umpteen queries have been received.

Under-eye circles

This is a common problem, generally attributed to heredity, lack of sleep, mental and physical fatigue, stress and improper diet.

If your dark circles are hereditary, you can hope to lighten them and camouflage them by the treatment given below, but they will not vanish.

Sleep is very essential to health and beauty. Make sure you get your 6-8 hours of sleep. Some people need more and some people need less. Skin revives itself when you sleep.

If you suffer from insomnia or chronic fatigue, something very common during menopause, consult your doctor, and along with medical help, follow the instructions given below.

A nutritious diet goes a long way in preventing dark circles. Insufficient iron, which causes anaemia, is also responsible for dark circles. To get rid of those dark circles or prevent them, do the following:

-- Eat a green leafy vegetable daily.

-- If you are a non-vegetarian, include liver and egg, especially yolk, in your diet.

-- Iron supplement can be taken in the form of tablets.

-- Figs and sultanas are sources of iron.

-- Wheat contains more iron when compared with rice; include wheat at least once in your daily diet.

-- Drink plenty of liquid. Consume at least 6-10 glasses of water daily. Moisture is the key to a good complexion.

Stress -- mental and physical -- also increases dark circles. To relax, close your eyes. Squeeze the juice from a grated cucumber, dip a cotton pad and place it on your eyes.

Put on some soothing music, lie down and relax. Dark circles tend to intensify with the increase in the number of hours spent before the TV and the PC.

Tips for treatment at home

At bedtime, cleanse the skin around the eyes using an herbal cleanser. Wipe off very gently with moist cotton. Apply an almond-based under-eye cream around your eyes. Remove it using moist cotton after 10 minutes. Creams should not be left on the skin around the eyes when you go to sleep.

For daytime, you can try the following: Powder almonds and store in an airtight bottle. Make a paste using milk and apply around the eyes in the morning. Keep it on for 10-15 minutes and wash with water. Take care not to pull or drag the skin around the eyes.

Some parlours do a special under-eye treatment. Specially formulated masks containing seaweeds are also available for the purpose. Seaweed has a revitalising effect when applied under the eyes. When it dries, wash off with water. This should be used once a day.

Fresh air and exercise

Oxygen is vital to your skin. It has been observed that if you are continuously breathing in stagnated air (for example, if you work for 12 hours in an air-conditioned office), you are prone to dark circles. To offset this, take an half-an-hour brisk walk daily and do some deep breathing exercises. This will do you as much good as an expensive under-eye treatment.

Queries & Answers

Geeta wants to know how long should she allow henna to set before application. Also whether she can use chemical dyes and henna alternately so that the frequency of chemical dyeing is reduced. She has also enquired where she can get walnut shells from.

Let the mixed henna set either overnight or at least for 2-3 hours for better colour and conditioning. Henna only coats the hair, whereas chemical dyes put pigment in the cortex of the hair.

Alternating henna and chemical dye is not a good idea. Instead, you could switch to semi-permanent dyes, which do not contain ammonia and hence, are better for the hair.

Walnut shells are the shells of unripe walnuts and are available during September/October in north India.


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