Are you a night owl? Or you do not drink enough water? Or hooked to the screens all day? Is insomnia troubling you? Such an unhealthy lifestyle will not just impact your health, but your under-eye skin will face burnt in the first place. The reason is, the skin in the area around the eyes is quite sensitive and gets easily impacted by our poor lifestyle choices.
There are several other factors that can impact our eyes and the skin around it such as, stress, poor sleeping patterns, and unhealthy eating habits etc. All these factors take a toll on our eyes and lead to poor eyesight, eye bags, puffiness, and dark circles. While several products and remedies claim to address these issues effectively, not all of them deliver what they claim. Therefore, it's time to explore what Ayurveda says about dealing with our eye health and the appearance of dark circles and puffiness.
What are Dark Circles?
Dark circles are not an indication of something severe or fatally wrong. However, the appearance of dark circles can be stressful and frustrating for many. Dark circles are dark brown, black, or bluish discoloration, depending on a person's skin tone. They usually appear when the skin beneath our eyes is hyper-pigmented, fatigue1, genetic predisposition2, allergic reactions, and dryness3 in the eye or aging and is visible between the inner and outer corners of our eyes. The appearance of dark circles and puffiness under the eyes are typically discernible by examining the eyes in the mirror. In the majority of cases, dark circles under the eyes indicate an alteration in our lifestyle practices, diet, aging, and sleep habits. Therefore, it is essential to address the reasons behind their appearance and how to tackle them with the help of Ayurveda.
What does Ayurveda say about dark circles and the area around the eyes?
As per our Ayurveda, dark circles are a manifestation of significant changes in our body and mind, often caused by stress (physical or environmental) and other symptoms like improper diet, irregular sleep cycle, etc. In Ayurveda, stress is known as sahasa4, which leads to loss of immunity or ojahksaya. This loss of immunity makes a person susceptible to various health and skin conditions. However, in some cases, dark circles have been associated with genetic issues. As per Ayurveda, the appearance of dark circles is related to an imbalance in the elements governing the air (Vata), fire (Pitta), and earth (Kapha) elements in the human body:
Vata Imbalance (Air element imbalance): Vata imbalance may be due to factors like dehydration, irregular sleep cycle, and inadequate nourishment. It can also be triggered due to excessive intake of cold or drying food products. Vata imbalance can trigger dry eyes, dark circles, and skin dryness.
Pitta imbalance (fire element imbalance): Another imbalance called Pitta can cause dark circles, inflammation, and strained eyes. Usually, pitta imbalance comes with symptoms like hot flushes, burning sensation, excess thirst, and hunger.
Kapha imbalance (earth element): From an Ayurvedic perspective, Kapha's imbalance can also affect the eyes. When Kapha goes out of balance, it can trigger puffiness and swell around the eye. Ayurvedic experts attribute this imbalance in the body as a way to deal with inflammation caused by Pitta imbalance.
Now, why does our body suffer from any of the above imbalances? The answer is simple: our body needs a sufficient amount of sleep, nutrition, and relaxation to function healthily. But if anything goes amiss, an imbalance is created inside our body. Therefore it is essential to maintain the balance between the various elements of our body and help the mind to de-stress.
What does Ayurveda suggest in dealing with dark circles and eye health?
The science of Ayurveda offers simple remedies to tackle dark circles, some of which include:
Assess the food you are eating: Having a balanced and healthy diet at the proper time is vital to reduce any imbalance. The Vata and Pitta doshas are influenced by the food we eat and the nature of the products. So, to get rid of dark circles, Ayurveda recommends eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and products rich in fiber. A person should avoid spicy and excessive sugar-infused products. This will offer nourishment to the body, enhance the quality of the skin and improve eye health.
Maintain a healthy sleeping pattern: Another factor contributing to dark circles is irregular sleep patterns and lack of proper sleep. There is an intricate relation between the doshas and sleep5 quality. Therefore, to reduce the appearance of dark circles, a person should have a healthy sleep-wake-up cycle. The Ayurvedic clock mentions the ideal time for a person to sleep. According to the Ayurvedic clock, the ideal time to wake up is before sunrise, and to sleep is before 10 p.m.
Try Ayurvedic anti-stress remedies: Stress is a leading cause behind the appearance of dark circles. Try Ayurvedic anti-stress products that offer skin benefits like Jatamansi, Brahmi (detoxifies the body and improves overall complexion too), and Ashwagandha6 (improves skin growth and boosts the production of natural skin oils), etc. Performing the Shavasana can help the mind to de-stress.
Include eye wash in daily routine: Another practice that a person must include in their daily routine to get rid of dark circles is eye wash. By splashing a little water into the eye, a person can get significant relief from dark circles and inflammation and experience better blood circulation. Ayurvedic rituals include practices like eyewashes using products like Triphala tea, Yastimadhu tea, or regular water.
Massage the area with almond oil: Another ayurvedic remedy to significantly reduce dark circles around the eye area includes gently massaging the area with almond oil7. The oil is rich in Vitamin E, which is excellent for the skin and helps lighten the skin and fight fine lines. A person trying to reduce dark circles must apply almond oil at night before sleep.
Use pure rose water, aloe Vera gel, potato juice, and cucumber: Both rose (Rosa centifolia)9 water and cucumber have a cooling and soothing effect. Placing a slice of cool cucumber (Cucumis sativus) for 10-15 minutes can potentially brighten the skin and reduce dark circles. Regular use can also offer relief from puffiness around the eye area. Similarly, pure rose water can act as an excellent natural toner that can soften and lighten the skin around the eyes. Applying potato juice/slices (Solanum tuberosum) and aloe vera gel can offer similar benefits.
Experiment with ayurvedic rituals like Tarpana: According to Ayurveda, Netra Tarpan is amongst the most effective remedies to reduce dark circles. The process involves making a dough with urad daal (black gram), boiled barley flour, and ghee. The dough is placed around the eyes, and ghee is poured through the dough and onto the eyes. After letting the ghee stay for a few minutes, it is removed along with the dough. The process allows the eyes to be bathed in medicated ghee, offering potential benefits like relaxation, improving eyesight, and reducing dark circles around the eye area.
Perform yoga asanas for managing dark circles and eye exercises: There are several exercises in the form of Yoga and Pranayams8 that can help reduce dark circles, inflammation, and other bodily troubles. Experts recommend performing Pranayam, Anulom-vilom, Bhastrika, etc., daily for 30 minutes to eliminate dark circles.
Stay hydrated: Since dehydration can also cause Vata Dosha, which can lead to dark circles, it is vital to keep ourselves hydrated. A well-hydrated body will not face Vata imbalance and, therefore, lesser chances of dark circles. People can also consume fresh fruits that have high water contents. Apart from that, staying hydrated has multiple potential vital benefits for a person's well-being.
Dark circles can be tackled and addressed using simple steps recommended by Ayurveda. These steps are straightforward and offer a holistic benefit to the person beyond reducing dark circles.