The 21st Century Herbalist DIY Skin Care Month: The Eyes Katie Glenn

It’s the last week of DIY Skin Care Month and today is all about the eyes.  Just as water and hydration are the keys to beautiful skin, so too is sleep.  This is especially true for the eyes.  A deep, restful sleep is the best treatment for dark under eye circles, puffiness and inhibiting wrinkle formation.  Now back to the real world where a deep night’s sleep is the exception rather than the norm.  Below are a couple of my favorite quick tips for your eyes.

Touch & Direction

The skin around your eyes is thin and very delicate.  It must treated with a gentle touch and great care.  That being said, any time you’re applying creams, lotions or oils around the eyes, be sure to use your ring finger to do the spreading.  It is your weakest finger and will deter you from pressing too hard.

When applying a product around your eyes, start by dabbing a bit of the product under your eye.  Then, using your ring finger, start at the outside corner of your eye and gently roll the cream under your eye moving toward the inside corner.  Starting at the inner corner of your eye, sweep your finger and the product up into the crease of your eye, up to the bottom of the brow line.  Do not put product directly on the lid of your eye, as it might get into your eye and that’s never delightful.  Plus, it could irritate your eye causing redness, tearing and puffiness…all of which you are trying to prevent.  Your eye lids have natural oils on them that will carry the product from the crease of your eye down toward the lash line.

Deep Moisture

For a quick, deeply moisturizing eye treatment, look to your pantry!  Extra-virgin olive oil is a great base oil and perfect for the tender skin around your eyes.  After cleansing your face, dab a small amount of oil on your finger and apply it as instructed above, moving your finger around the eye several times.  You can gently pat off any excess oil, but you’ll want to leave a light film of oil on the eye.  Follow with your regular nighttime moisturizer.

If you don’t have olive oil, you can also use sesame, almond, jojoba, grapeseed or (my favorite) apricot kernel oil.  For a great summertime treatment, chill the oil for a little while in the refrigerator, the cool oil feels great and will help reduce puffiness.

Crow’s Feet and Wrinkles

Need a quick fix for crow’s feet and the small wrinkles around your eye?  Look to your refrigerator!  Fresh, chilled egg whites can be applied directly to the area around your eye to tighten the skin and reduce the look of fine lines, wrinkles and crow’s feet.  Start with freshly cleansed skin, apply the egg whites around your eye as directed above, then allow them to dry (approx. 15 minutes).  Place a soft cloth, soaked in warm water, over the eye area to rehydrate the dried egg white.  Then rinse the remaining egg white off with warm water.  Do not scrub at the egg whites or the area around your eye…gentle, gentle, gentle.

Puffiness, Bags and Dark Circles

I would be remiss if I didn’t state it again, the quickest way to reduce puffiness and dark circles is deep, restful sleep.  The next best thing is cool temperatures. They naturally constrict blood vessels, which helps reduce puffiness and dark circles.  Before we get into some of my favorite quick fixes, you should be aware that if your dark circles are caused by genetic hyper-pigmentation, long-term stress or depression, allergies or hereditary, there is no miracle fix. Bummer I know, but I think science is working on it for us!  In the meantime, there are ways to reduce the appearance of dark circles.  Give these remedies a try and remember that treatments will work differently on different skin types, so if you try one and don’t get the results you want…try another!

  • Let’s start with a classic, cucumber slices on the eyes.  You’ll want to use thinly sliced cucumber or white potato that has been chilled.  Place the slices over your closed eyes and lie down.  Relax for 15 minutes and allow the cool cucumber to do it’s job.  I’ve done a lot of research over the years to determine exactly why the cucumber works so well and there doesn’t seem to any consensus among dermatologists, scientists or herbalists.  Some feel that it is the coolness that helps, while others point to the foliates in the cucumber as a reason for the decrease in puffiness.  Either way, they work and are great for all skin types, including sensitive.
  • No veggies in the house?  A cool compress will do the trick as well.  Soak a soft washcloth in cool water, ring out the excess water, then place over your eyes.  Lie back and relax for 15 minutes.  If the washcloth gets warm before the 15 minutes is up, rinse it again and continue to sit with the refreshed cloth for a cumulative 15 minutes.
  • Break out the cotton pads!  Soak cotton pads in either: cold whole milk, cold witch hazel, cold green tea, cold black tea or cold chamomile tea.  Squeeze out the excess liquid and place the pads on your closed eyes.  Get comfy, lie back and relax for 15 minutes.
  • What, you don’t have veggies, your towels are all dirty and you ran out of cotton pads last week?!  To the kitchen with you!  Fill a coffee mug with cold water and ice cubes.  Place 4 metal spoons in the cold water and allow them to chill for about 2 minutes.  Lie down with the cup-o-chilly spoons nearby and place one spoon over each eye, backside against your eye socket.  Allow the other two spoons to continue to chill in the cup.  Hold the spoons in place until they get warm, then put them back in the cup and use the other two spoons. Continue to rotate the chilled spoons for 15-20 minutes.

I hope you enjoyed DIY Skin Care Month. I’ll continue to share more DIY skin remedies and treatments, including an entire month devoted to healing and renewing facial masks!  Before that, next month I’ll be talking all about summer, with my series: Summer Survival Kit.  It’s full of great tips for making it through the summer while keeping your skin and hair healthy and undamaged.

image via: istockphoto.com

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  1. I had an INSANELY itchy eye the other day and I used the cold spoon trick and the itch was gone almost instantly. BAM. Success. Cold, glorious, success.

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