We promised you the highlights of Black Skin Decoded – the beauty and aesthetics event for Black skin led by specialists in the industry and instigated by the Black Skin Directory founder Dija Ayodele. Here’s the third instalment in our beauty mini-series, “All About Eyes”.

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The ways you can treat bags under the eyes are multiple

First we had skincare, touching on everything from how to prevent and tackle hyperpigmentation to ‘Does Black really crack?’, then it was the “Nips & Tucks” one telling us what we need to know about injectables. Now, it’s time to focus on our eyes with multi-award winning makeup artist Joy Adenuga, surgeon Dr Mayoni Gooneratne and  Dr Uche Aniagwu, also known as the ‘Tear Trough Doctor’.

The eyes are called the windows to the soul for very good reason. The skin is incredibly thin around the eyes with just muscle, a bit of fat and lymph nodes making up the different layers of our under-eye area, Melan learnt.

The skin is incredibly thin around the eyes with just muscle, a bit of fat and lymph nodes making up the different layers of our under-eye area…

“The maxilla of our cheek bone starts to age around age 28 or 29, so we lose volume. There will be ethnic variations in that and often people of darker skin types hold that bony mass for longer but do eventually succumb,” Dr Mayoni explained.

“When there’s less support, the fat pads start to drop and you see hollowing under the eyes which contributes to the skin thinning and changes in appearance.”

How can we depuff our eyes without surgery?

Dr Uche Aniagwu (UA) – The ways you can treat bags under the eyes are multiple. Sometimes those bags are actually caused by puffiness that occurs in the morning and disappears by the afternoon, which is fluid retention, so it’s about circulation, not fat…However, if you realise they’re there all the time and let’s say it’s because you’ve got bulging fat pads, so true eye bags, the options of things to use on the skin aren’t that many. You’re looking at getting dermal fillers to try and camouflage it or energy treatments in an attempt to shrink the bulging fat under your eye. Those are minimally invasive, but I would say to see if you can camouflage it with fillers to start and then progress to those treatments if you’re trying to avoid surgery.

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Dr Uche Aniagwu

WHAT TO DO AT HOME TO TREAT PUFFY EYES:

  • Use ice packs in the morning or cooling eye rollers
  • Exercise in the morning to kickstart the lymphatic system
  • Avoid caffeine – Dr Uche said caffeine is great for tightening the skin under the eyes but drinking it causes dehydration, which contributes to dark circles and puffiness
  • Try slices of cucumbers

Is it possible to get rid of dark eye circles and dry skin around the eyes?

UA – It is possible to improve your dark circles. In some cases you may be able to get rid of them, but it depends on the extent of the dark circles and the cause…Under the eyes, that skin is the thinnest skin in the entire body so basically, it betrays us the fastest. Anything that’s happening which is suboptimal – whether it’s an inflammatory process, you’re not getting enough rest, you’ve got allergies that aren’t obvious or genetics, sun damage, not having a great skin routine – will show under your eyes.

Under the eyes, that skin is the thinnest skin in the entire body so basically, it betrays us the fastest.

How do people get to know the cause of dark circles?

UA – Normally, there are some tell-tale signs…Ask yourself when the dark circles are appearing. If they’re there all the time, irrespective of what you’re doing, they may well be genetic so what you do for them won’t necessarily be a lifestyle prevention. What I like to do is distinguish if it’s your lifestyle causing the dark circles, or is it something that’s genetic or hormonal, in which case you’re going to need a product to improve it. You can’t change your genetics, unfortunately, with cream, but what you can do is try and slow down and have an impact on the process that makes dark circles worse.


ARE ANY OF THESE CAUSING YOUR DARK CIRCLES OR UNDER-EYE PUFFINESS?

  • Allergies (medication, food, insects, latex, mould, pets, and pollen can all trigger allergies)
  • Changes in hormones, such as after having a baby
  • Lack of good quality sleep
  • Too much screen time
  • Dehydration
  • Alcohol

Eye cream – should we or shouldn’t we? (The answer is yes)

Dr Mayoni Gooneratne – My favourite eye creams – there are so many. You’ve got the iS Clinical Youth Eye Complex and of course, SkinBetter Science. The brand has two eye creams which are absolutely top notch. One of them has a rollerball and my top tip is to keep it in the fridge so it’s lovely and cold. If you get puffy eyes, use the rollerball to help with lymphatic drainage in the morning. In terms of ingredients, you want something which will stimulate collagen really gently. Retinols are really aggressive in that area. Malonic acid is often what you’ll see in a lot of products that gently exfoliates and stimulates the collagen.

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Dr Mayoni Gooneratne

At some point, you need to hide what’s going on! Any tips on concealer?

Joy Adenuga (JA) – It depends on the skin type…The skin under the eyes is very thin so I’m normally baffled when I see people load powder and put so many products on it. You’re making it more obvious by doing all that…If you have really oily skin, I’d advise a product like Too Faced Born This Way Super Coverage concealer. It’s between that and Laura Mercier. I tend to use Laura Mercier concealers for people who have a drier skin texture and there is Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage concealer for really dark circles. There’s also Mac Studio Fix Concealer and the final one I’d say is Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer – one pot will last you a whole year! And the Nars Radiant Creamy concealer.

The skin under the eyes is very thin so I’m normally baffled when I see people load powder and put so many products on it.

How can you mask tired eyes with makeup?

JA – If you’ve got hooded eyelids, avoid using anything shimmery because you’re drawing more attention to them. Use matte products and eyeshadows. A smokey eye will be your best friend but not black – go for deep plum or brown to give an illusion that the hood of the eyes isn’t there. For under-eye circles and bags, I wouldn’t advise using a light concealer – I tend to use concealer the shade of the client’s skin. [Rather than the advised one to two shades lighter than your complexion.] If you have really dark circles and want to brighten them, use your normal concealer one or two shades lighter than your skin, and what I try to do is take another concealer three or four shades lighter and apply it near where you have your inner tear ducts and blend it so it draws the attention [to the inner eye].

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Joy Adenuga

How can you make your eyes appear brighter?

UA – Spinach and kale contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which will actively help whiten eyes because they protect against free radical damage. The second thing is, if you do smoke any kind of marijuana-based products, don’t, because they contain THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) which lowers blood pressure and causes red eyes afterwards.

JA – If you want to give the illusion of bigger, brighter eyes, I would say: avoid the smokey eye, stay away from really dark eyeshadows and use a brighter colour towards the inner section of your eyes. For brighter eyes, shimmer works, so bronze shimmer in the tear duct areas or an off-white colour rather than white, in place of your normal kohl liner inside your waterline. Then apply your normal kohl liner under the waterline.


Written by Vicky Gayle  – Follow her: @vi_gayle

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