Your plan of attack depends on the color of your circles. Look straight into a mirror in natural light, then lower your chin slightly to expose the shadows under your eyes. This way, you’ll see clearly whether your circles are more blue or more brown.
Blue Circles The cause: Blue circles result from oxygenated blood pooled beneath the under-eye skin. Skin here is very thin and almost transparent, so blood shows through. This is more noticeable in the morning: When we’ve been horizontal for a while, fluids accumulate and the veins expand to hold more blood. Blue circles may get worse with age. “As we get older, we lose subcutaneous fat, which can mask blueness below the surface of the skin,” says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Medical Center, in New York City.
OTC treatments: There are a few options that work in different ways, though their effects last only a day at most. Topical creams with stimulating ingredients, like caffeine, can constrict blood vessels and temporarily boost circulation; potent hydrators, such as hyaluronic acid, plump the area, pushing the skin up and away from the pooled blood. Retinoic acid creams thicken the outer layer of the skin to conceal shadows. Another quick fix: products with stainless-steel rollerball-tip applicators. “The cool metal causes vessels to constrict,” says New York City dermatologist Eric Schweiger. To try: Philosophy Miracle Worker Eye Repair, which contains a high-performance retinoid; $65, philosophy.com. Lancôme Génifique Eye Light-Pearl has a metallic applicator; $68, lancome-usa.com. La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Eyes uses firming caffeine and moisturizinghyaluronic acid; $33 at drugstores.
Professional treatments: A few other treatments approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use on the rest of the face can effectively treat under-eye circles. One noninvasive solution is a cream with a prescription-strength retinoid. Blue circles can also be significantly diminished by a treatment called Thermage, which involves a high-tech handheld radio-frequency device. It is nonsurgical, requires no downtime, and is thought to increase the production of collagen, which builds up and tightens the skin. One session costs about $1,000, and the results last three to five years. Zeichner treats dark circles by injecting a hyaluronic acid filler, such as Juvéderm or Restylane, to plump the skin and hide blueness; the injections can last a year or longer and cost $700 to $900 a pop.
Brown Circles The cause: Brown circles result from hyperpigmentation, triggered by chronic eye-rubbing, sun exposure, or genetics. They are most prevalent among Asian and African American skin tones.
OTC treatments: Your best bet is daily use of a cream or serum spiked with a skin brightener, like soy or citrus, which can lighten circles over a period of four to six weeks. Avoid hydroquinone, a go-to lightener for sun spots and scars, as most dermatologists agree that it’s too heavy-duty for the eye area. To try: Murad Renewing Eye Cream brightens with citrus-unshiu peel; $75, murad.com.
Professional treatments: As with blue circles, there are treatments dermatologists use elsewhere on the face that can also lessen the look of brown circles. They respond well to low-concentration TCA (trichloroacetic acid) peels, which exfoliate. Plan on spending about $100 a treatment, and you may need several over a couple of months. For enhanced results, there are lasers, like the Q-switched or Fraxel, which destroy pigment cells and even out skin tone with a beam of light energy. Most circles lighten after two or three $500 sessions.
Preventive Measures Reason No. 734 to wear sunscreen: It will keep circles from returning after treatment and can also stop them from developing in the first place. Sun protection prevents skin from both thinning prematurely (exposing blueness) and tanning (getting browner). realsimple.com
OK, we might be exaggerating just a little. But these new face yoga poses promise to relax your fine lines into smooth submission. Worth a shot? We think so...
Ryan Lochte, KStew the "Trampire," and the election are trending right now. You know what else is spreading through the digital world like a cute cat video? Face yoga !
From the Botox-addicted Desperate Housewives to the celebs who will try any and every anti-aging treatment (yes, you, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston), everybody is crazy for face yoga lately. Is one of your eyebrows raised as you read this? That's face yoga! (Kind of.)
Face yoga is a series of exercises that promise to do for your face what yoga does for your body: relax and tone muscles. So, I set out to investigate if making these targeted (not to mention ridiculous) facial expressions can really prevent -- and even reverse -- wrinkles and sagging.
Skip ahead to see the 6 face yoga poses that'll prevent signs of aging.
Some plastic surgeons and derms say sorry, face yoga is absolute nonsense. "The earlier you start face yoga, the earlier you'll get wrinkles," says cosmetic facial plastic surgeon Jeffrey Spiegel, MD. "You don't get wrinkles from loss of elasticity in your muscles; you get wrinkles in your skin. And repetitive movement creates creases in the skin. It's like folding a piece of paper." Translation? Even if you have the facial muscles of the Incredible Hulk, all that flexing and stretching is also stretching out your skin, ultimately causing wrinkles.
But proponents of face yoga say that it can relax your face, which ultimately smoothes those tension-filled expressions we make every day without even realizing it. And just relaxing those usually contorted facial muscles can give you a natural face lift. Who needs Botox to freeze muscles into a smooth, relaxed state when face yoga can do something similar?
"Relaxing the facial muscles, especially where we hold tension -- like the jaw, brow, and forehead -- can counteract the wrinkle-causing grimacing we do on a daily basis," says Annelise Hagen, a New York yoga instructor and author of "The Yoga Face: Eliminate Wrinkles with the Ultimate Natural Facelift."
"Since the muscles on our faces can't lift weights or go on the treadmill, when you apply pressure with your fingertips or make certain facial expressions, you're toning and strengthening the muscles," she says. "I would never say face yoga eradicates all lines, but it can definitely change the downward drift."
Alright, so the jury's still out on just how effective face yoga is. But I was convinced enough to try it myself. If doing these exercises can make me look like I spent a week on the beach reading "50 Shades of Grey," I'm game to give it a go. Here are the six face yoga poses that seem to do more good than harm
Surprise me To smooth your forehead …
Widen your eyes, trying to expose as much of the white in your eye as you can. Hold that until your eyes start to water.
How it works: By holding this expression, Hagen says you're exercising the muscles around your eyes and your forehead, erasing the negative effects of scowling by doing the opposite action.
Get cheeky To firm your cheeks …
Take a big breath through your mouth, then puff the breath from cheek to cheek like a bullfrog; then release.
How it works: This pose strengthens your cheek muscles and prevents them from becoming thinner and looking hollow. "If you look at people who play the saxophone, they always have firm cheeks. When you use a muscle in a specific way, it changes the facial appearance. So do this if you want toned,
Crow, crow, fly away To get rid of crow's feet …
Imagine winking with your lower lid. Kind of hard, right? Hagen says it'll take some practice, but your brain will learn how to do this quickly. First, lift and release your lower lid gently without moving any other facial muscles. Then add a little bit of fingertip pressure in the outer crease of the crow's feet, which creates some pressure for the muscle to work against. Just make sure you don't drag or pull the skin, says Hagen, since that area is very sensitive. You also want to make sure the skin is clean and slightly moisturized so it's not tight.
How it works: By exercising the muscles around your eyes, you're firming the skin to keep it from folding into itself, which creates wrinkles.
Puppet face To lift nasal labial folds …
Smile with your teeth showing, then gently press your fingertips into the creases between your nose and lips. Lift the muscles up and press your fingertips down into the muscles for slight resistance.
How it works: One of the best signs of youth are plump, round cheeks, which is why people use injectables to fill the area. Instead, Hagen says to try this exercise, which will "strengthen the muscle so that it doesn't become slack." "When your fingertips push into facial muscles, the muscles push back, which is what makes them stronger and fuller," she says.
Baby bird To prevent your chin and neck from sagging …
Press the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth, then smile and swallow while pointing your chin at the ceiling.
How it works: While you may never forget to slather SPF on your face, your neck may often get skipped -- and that's why the neck is one of the first places to show signs of aging. Hagen says this pose is "great at tightening the jaw, since you're working out your chewing muscle and the platysma, which is the muscle that surrounds your upper chest, collarbone, and neck," she says.
Buddha face To reset your face to a neutral, unlined state …
Saying your "oms" can relax more than your mind, it may work to relax those lines on your face as well. Good news: This exercise is the easiest of all of the face yoga poses. Hagen says all you have to do is "imagine the face of Buddha superimposed over your face like a Photoshop filter." Just close your eyes, visualize the point between your eyebrows, and make a very slight smile.
How it works: Hagen says this pose can "reset your facial habits" -- almost like rebooting your computer. "Most people don't realize they're grimacing. It's an unconscious thing. But repeated scowls create wrinkles. This pose helps offset those line-making expressions."
Home Remedies for Stretch Marks :Stretch marks are very common among women, while men are also capable of developing stretch marks (a.k.a. striae). Stretch marks are widely associated with pregnancy, and are created when your body experiences hormonal changes due to puberty or menopause; you can also develop striae when you’re losing or gaining weight.
Going further, the reason these annoying lesions appear on your skin is due to the breakdown of collagen and damaged elastic fibers below the epidermis layer of your skin. Now that we’ve covered the basic causes of stretch marks, let’s move a little deeper into the subject and also talk about how you can treat them.
Causes of Stretch Marks :Common reasons why stretch marks form are due to:
Stretch marks are visible linear scars that pop up on your body where the skin is too thin due to the aforementioned breakdown of collagen and elastic fibers damage. The skin cells are no longer able to bounce back from extreme stretching, thus causing the dermal layer of skin to develop tears that appear as scars on your skin.
- losing weight too quickly,
- gaining weight rapidly,
- hormonal imbalances/changes,
- growth spurts,
The areas of the body that are most affected by stretch marks include the thighs, abdomen, arms, hips, breasts, back, buttocks and the area around belly button. When striae firsts begins to form, it usually appears red, and then turns white over time.
Treating Stretch MarksThere are topical creams, ointments, and oils that claim to remove stretch marks or reduce their appearance; however, these products can cost quite a bit, and hardly deliver on the promises. There are also laser treatments available, but this too is very expensive.
Because stretch marks are scars, there is little chance of getting rid of them completely. So you should avoid wasting money on products that claim to eradicate stretch marks completely, and have realistic expectations when it comes to topical treatments. Using topical treatments requires discipline, and they may even need to be applied more than once a day. But they do have the potential to improve stretch marks’ appearance.
Treating only the symptoms associated with stretch marks or scars will not help lessen the appearance of striae. Furthermore, dry skin can sometimes appear around area of stretch marks; however, dry skin isn’t the cause of stretch marks. It’s also worth mentioning that moisture is good for your skin, but it won’t make a dent in the removal of stretch marks since the marks start deep within the skin’s layers.
Dermabrasion, or laser treatments for stretch marks, only affects the surface of the skin. This is not enough to penetrate deep into the dermis, where the tears have formed in elastic fibers. These treatments may be able to improve the appearance of stretch marks, but the side effects are redness (erythema) and/or scaling on the skin.
One stretch mark treatment that’s overlooked is eating better/keeping a healthy lifestyle. It’s never too late to begin a healthy lifestyle, and there are hundreds of benefits to eating better, including keeping stretch marks at a minimum.
Along with a healthy diet, you should be drinking plenty of water. Keeping your body hydrated will allow your body to function properly, meaning your skin cells are more likely rebuild areas that need repaired. The minimum amount of water needed to stay hydrated is five to eight 8 oz. glasses a day. An easy way to maintain a healthy diet is to eat one cup of fruit or vegetables with a glass of water before each meal. This helps reassure that you are getting healthy nutrients into your body while staying fully hydrated.
Be sure to supply your body with plenty of vitamin A, C and E, as well as zinc since these nutrients help your skin flourish. You’ll be able to find these vitamins and minerals in raw fruits and vegetables, in addition to fish liver oils, leafy greens, eggs, beans, nuts, seeds and fish. By adding more of these things to your diet, you’ll increase your skin’s ability to heal itself.
In some cases, if you’re taking medication such as oral contraceptives, you could be lacking essential nutrients needed to keep your body healthy; consult your doctor about any concerns here. Physicians will be able to prescribe or suggest dietary supplements to counterbalance the nutrients you may be losing to the medications.
Home Remedies to Remove & Treat Stretch Marks:Homemade stretch mark creams can be used to treat scars, and are also great for other areas of your body that need special attention. You can use these recipes to make extra hydrating lotions that can be applied to stretch marks, dry elbows, knees, hands and/or feet.
Cocoa Butter and Oil Cream / Stretch Marks, Home Remedy #1One of the most effective ingredients in improving the appearance of skin is cocoa butter. This is the main ingredient in the following skin cream for treating stretch marks. Using this homemade cocoa butter and oil skin cream will make your skin moist, soft and supple. Here is what you’ll need to make the cocoa butter and oil stretch mark cream:
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sauce pan, and use medium heat to melt the beeswax. Once the beeswax has melted, remove it from the heat, and pour it into an airtight container. Store the cream in the refrigerator, and use after showering, and throughout the day until you have the desired results.
- 1/2 cup cocoa butter
- 1 Tablespoon wheat germ oil
- 1 Teaspoon apricot kernel oil
- 1 Teaspoon Vitamin E oil
- 2 Teaspoons grated beeswax
Olive Oil and Aloe Vera / Stretch Marks, Home Remedy #2Olive oil shows up in almost every beauty remedy recipe because it’s loaded with moisturizing nutrients perfect for conditioning skin and hair. To use olive oil as a stretch mark treatment, simply pour the oil onto a cotton pad, and pat the oil onto your stretch marks. To make this treatment even more nourishing, follow these instructions:
Take the six capsules of vitamin E, and the four capsules of vitamin A, and remove the liquid from the capsules into a bowl; then combine the other ingredients with the liquid from the capsules.
- 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
- 6 vitamin E capsules
- 4 vitamin A capsules
Blend the mixture well with a whisk, or by using a blender. This treatment can be applied to any area on your body where you have stretch marks such as the stomach, legs, arms, thighs or breasts.
Use olive oil in combination with aloe vera gel to treat your stretch marks. Aloe vera has been used widely to treat burns, but also provides positive results when used to treat stretch marks. Combine a small amount of aloe vera gel with an equal amount of olive oil, and continue to massage the mixture onto stretch marks. To get even more use out of aloe vera gel, use this recipe to prevent more stretch marks from occurring, and treat the ones that have already formed.
In a mixing bowl, combine the liquid from the vitamin E capsules, and the liquid from the vitamin A capsules. Mix the remaining ingredients with the vitamin liquids. Massage into your skin to improve the appearance of stretch marks.
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
- 4 vitamin E capsules
- 2 vitamin A capsules
Vitamin C and Sugar / Home Remedy for Stretch Marks #3Use natural white sugar to exfoliate the problem areas of your skin for 3-5 minutes daily. This will remove the dead skin cells, and encourage more skin cells to develop.
This works best if you exfoliate while in the shower. When you’ve finished your shower, take two vitamin C tablets and crush them as finely as you can. Use a small mixing bowl to combine your daily moisturizing lotion and the vitamin C tablets together. Apply the lotion and vitamin C mixture as usual, focusing mostly on your stretch marks. Now saturate a cotton pad or ball with olive oil, and dab onto your stretch marks.
By using this treatment and the previously mentioned ones, you’ll go a long way towards reducing the appearance of stretch marks.