What will happen if I stop using eye cream for a whole month?
My guess is not much, seen as I have never seen an improvement in my dark circles from using eye cream. You may therefore be thinking, “why even experiment if you are so sure of the outcome?”. That’s a good question and one that can be justified by my interest in what it actually does if it does something. Because it must as many bloggers, magazines and self- proclaimed beauty experts suggest, we NEED it. Allure magazine ran an article in 2013 on its importance, ‘because the skin around the eyes is thinner, and because of all the tiny muscles in the area, it’s more sensitive and prone to a variety of issues, like puffiness, discoloration, and fine lines and wrinkles. Plus, there are minimal oil glands around your eyes to help keep the skin naturally hydrated’.
But let’s say you have puffy under eyes, that is caused from fluid build-up often linked to sleep deprivation and excessive diet/alcohol consumption. Will putting on a soothing eye cream be more beneficial than trying to be healthier/drinking less? Which may seem like a big ask for some people but if you really want to help your skin then being healthy is a necessity and you might just save yourself £20. This experiment was born from the sheer frustration of eating well, exercising and using good products but still having dark circles. So, could it be genetics?
According to Darkcircles.net genetic hyperpigmentation is a problem that can be related to genetics but it exasperated by sun exposure and it easily treatable “In most cases, a chemical peel, laser resurfacing, or a lightening cream can easily get rid of these blemishes”. I didn’t take such extreme lengths because it seems contradictory to use harsh procedures on an area of skin that is thinner and more delicate than everywhere else.
“The difference is that hereditary dark circles are determined by genetics, so while you can do things to make them look worse or better, you can’t control whether you have them in the first place”. – Livestrong.com
But how do you know if it is hereditary dark circles? And to what extent does eye cream influence the appearance of them?
For this experiment, I recorded the amount of water and sleep I had every day for thirty days. These two factors seem to be the most prominent when discussing environmental influences in how much improvement can be seen in the appearance of the under eyes.
To collect the data, I made an excel spread sheet that consisted of two categories; amount of water I drank a day and number of hours I slept every night. A tedious task but I managed to record it everyday. Below are the averages from all 30 days:
Average hours slept (Hours) 6 hours 30 Minutes
Average water drank (litres) 0.93 L
So why did I choose these two things as variables for my experiment? Well as Dr, Dennis Gross once said, ‘Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your skin,’ because it is in repair mode. Working to regenerate new skin cells and make the most of the nutrients you have.
From this excerpt, taken from the telegraph, it is evident how this links to dark circles, ‘Lack of sleep can put your body into flight or fight mode, which means your brain, like other vital organs, leaches every single molecule of oxygen it can from the blood, so a darker more deoxygenated blood flows through our veins to the other areas of the body’. This dark blood is most visible in the transparent skin under our eyes and is what causes the appearance of those discoloured rings.
And water? Well that one is a bit easier because there are tons of obvious benefits with this one, that I’m sure most people know. The big one is flushing out toxins, this a remedy used all over the world to reduce puffiness and keep the skin clean. Here in the UK, 2 litres is the recommended daily allowance so I aimed for that.
So the results. Well first let see some picture of how I looked during and after the experiment had taken place. Please excuse the morbid look on my face in most of these.
Picture 1, At the beginning of the experiment.
Picture 2, half way through, looking grumpy due to my dissertation
Picture 3, the first time I put eye cream on in a month
Picture 4, today, I’ve been off the experiment for around 2-3 weeks
Okay, well let me just state that I look dead in all of them so its hard to decipher which one shows the worst dark circles but I think I am right in saying that the today picture has the least amount of darkness underneath the eyes.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to tell myself that well because I see myself everyday so I asked some of my closest friends if they thought anything was different. The answer was a resounding ‘I can’t see any difference’. Disappointing but aligned with what I thought.
Now the biggest surprise for me was that throughout the experiment I was in discomfort. My eyes felt so dry and itchy. I was constantly blinking to try and increase moisture. I narrowed down the reasoning for this to two reasons; lack of eye cream or weather change. Or both. It wasn’t something I was expecting but it impacted me greatly. I couldn’t focus as much and I was constantly thinking about the lack of hydration under my eyes.
I didn’t consider this before because I had never experienced it before. I.e. before I used eye cream, when I was a child I don’t remember ever having this problem. So did my eyes become too comfortable with receiving extra hydration? eye cream resistance? I had a look and couldn’t find any substantial scientific articles that suggest this is a thing but I think the idea of almost mollycoddling your skin to the point where it doesn’t fend for itself might be a real issue that people see in the future. I am totally going off on a tangent but I think it is interesting to see if there will ever be any negative side effects of using so many products on the barrier of the largest organ you have.
That said I craved my eye cream, I just wanted the comfort of knowing I could put something around my eyes that made them feel better and made me feel like I was doing something beneficial for my dark circles. So I don’t think I will stop using it anytime soon but I will keep my expectations lower.