Welcome to the latest from Wellness Council, our handpicked holistic health squad: a tightly curated group that gives the best advice this side of your own personal guru.
Here, celebrity nutritionist, entrepreneur, and best-selling author Kimberly Snyder, is all about under-eye circles: what could be causing them, and how to make them disappear (sans concealer).
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If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then dark circles under them are the not-so-wanted shutters that dim your natural sparkle. There are few things that can add years to your looks faster—but they're not strictly related to aging. Unfortunately, they can affect any of us, at any age.
So how do we get them, and maybe more importantly, how do we get rid of them?
There are many possible causes for this pesky problem, from allergies to dehydration, fatigue, even anemia. From an Ayurvedic perspective, they indicate a possible dosha imbalance, and may be an indicator of an overly taxed adrenal system or nervous system, as would be the case for smokers or people whose diets include too much salt, caffeine, or refined sugars, as well as those who are overly stressed or not getting sufficient amounts of rest.
“So what can I do about it?"
Once dark circles have made their appearance, it can be difficult to manage them. First, I think it is important to eliminate certain medical causes, like anemia, which can have a dramatically negative effect on your physical health. Remember, the body will tell you when there is something wrong, so don’t be tempted to dismiss warning signs. It’s better to get checked out if you are concerned.
Assuming your dark circles are not a symptom of a severe medical problem, the best way to approach a solution is almost always found through fine-tuning your lifestyle, starting with your diet.
Taking an Ayurvedic approach, you would begin by:
• Eating lots of nourishing, freshly prepared foods like simple stir-fries, soups, and stews seasoned with fresh herbs and spices like turmeric and ginger.
• Limiting table salt and only add a small amount of sea salt right before eating to your serving, to avoid consuming excessive amounts.
• Making sure you are consuming plenty of hot water with lemon (a great way to start your day), which helps alleviate excessive adrenal stress.
• Staying hydrated, sipping room-temperature water or hot teas throughout the day, as icy beverages can actually inhibit optimal digestion. Keeping your body hydrated is arguably the easiest thing you can do for your overall health and beauty—with the least amount of effort.
Once you have made these simple changes, try these seven tips to help you eliminate unwanted dark circles.
1. Place fresh cucumber slices or cooled green tea bags soaked in almond milk or rose water on your closed eyelids for a cool, refreshing treat
This will naturally help reduce inflammation around your eyes, relieving those aging signs of fatigue.
2. Add more celery, collard greens, asparagus, and bananas to your diet
My second book, The Beauty Detox Foods, offers a detailed list of over 50 foods that will help you transform your body and uncover your naturally beautiful, healthy glow—and these are great ones to start with in combating dark under-eye circles. They balance important electrolytes such as potassium (it controls fluid levels in the body to lessen the puffiness around your eyes, which exacerbates the dark circles), while adding healthy fiber and essential beauty nutrients that help alleviate this specific issue.
3. Incorporate adaptogens into your routine
By definition, adaptogens are plants and herbs that boost your resistance to stress, anxiety and fatigue. I recommend a tea made from ashwagandha to help to relieve the stress in the body that is often a root cause of those nasty dark circles. The powerful adaptogenic herb, otherwise known as Indian ginseng, is so rejuvenating! Some other great adaptogens to add into your diet are maca, which you can add in a powdered form into smoothies, and tulsi, which you can also find easily in a tea form.
4. Take fresh, cool natural antioxidant water with you everywhere you go
Add some sliced orange, cucumber, lemons, or lime for extra vitamin C, to help naturally reduce inflammation and puffiness, and support your supple, healthy skin. And, bonus: It's a naturally flavored, refreshing drink that you won’t mind sipping all day long.
5. Make sure that you are getting plenty of rest
Your body goes into hard-core repair mode during a healthy sleep cycle, regenerating damaged tissue. Try to eat dinner at roughly the same time every night and follow an evening routine (shower, meditation time, evening elixir, whatever) to get into a regular cycle so your body “knows” it’s sleepy time. (I do this with my four-month-old son and I have to do it with myself. We all need routine!)
6. Make sure you use a good SPF30 non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen for sunny days
And don’t forget to wear your dark glasses!
7. Take an excellent probiotic
I like and use the SBO (soil-borne organism) varieties myself, which mimic nature and can survive stomach acid and implant in our gut. A balanced gut microbiome helps to support the absorption of B vitamins, which are also essential to beautiful, healthy skin all around.
Kimberly Snyder, CN, is a celebrity nutritionist and the New York Times best‐selling author of The Beauty Detox Solution, The Beauty Detox Foods and The Beauty Detox Power, and co-author of the upcoming Radical Beauty with Deepak Chopra (September 2016). Her popular beauty blog, KimberlySnyder.com, features recipes and her signature products, including probiotics, nutraceuticals, and yoga DVD. She is also the creator of Glow Bio, an organic juice, smoothie, and cleanse company.
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