The best way to get your beauty rest and wake up feeling refreshed is by having a routine. Along with your am and pm skincare regimen, some additional self-care habits can work wonders for your pre-slumber ritual.
Aside from sipping on a sleepy time tea, swearing off coffee by 3 pm, and avoiding technology before bedtime, there’s something else you can add: a soothing eye mask. Pampering yourself before bed is a great way to end your day and get ready for the next one to begin. There are two kinds of eye masks: a cream or serum mask, and a soft and silky eye cover mask.
Eye masks are just like face masks but focus on a key area that shows your youth: your eyes. They can give you a boost of brightness, hydration, minimize puffiness, or whatever job they are specifically designed for. Keep reading for all the benefits you’ll love to see when you start using a soothing eye mask.
Why Use an Eye Mask?
The skin around your eyes is the thinnest on the body, making it more susceptible to irritation and damage. In addition to lack of sleep, too much time spent in the sun, allergies, and irritation can all cause puffy, dark, tired-looking eyes.
Instead of damage control, consider damage prevention! Instead of caking on the concealer and foundation on top of dark eye circles and baggage, you can use an eye mask to treat the problems that cause them.
You likely use your daily moisturizer, spend hundreds of dollars a year on makeup, and get all the new tools and gadgets to keep your skin looking youthful. But since your eyes are the biggest giveaway of your age, don’t neglect to pamper that sensitive skin surrounding them.
To really feel like you're spending a day at your personal, at-home spa, eye masks can do just the trick. Make yourself some cucumber mint water and slide on an eye mask—sit back, relax, and let the mask do the heavy lifting.
For Much-Needed Vitamins
Different eye masks contain different ingredients that can soothe the skin around your eyes, making them appear brighter, clearer, and smoother. Learn more about the best vitamins and ingredients in soothing eye masks below.
1. They Can Brighten Up Dark Circles
While expensive cosmetic procedures like chemical peels, fillers, Botox, and microneedling can all help if you’re suffering from dark circles, there are some over-the-counter ingredients found in eye masks that can help too.
Why Do I Have Dark Circles?
Dark circles are tricky because there isn’t one specific factor that causes them. A rough night, lack of sleep, dehydration, drinking too much alcohol, or not eating a well-balanced diet all can contribute to the reason why you may be experiencing dark circles.
- Genetics: Genetics play a major role in dark circles under your eyes. The shape of your eyes and the structure of your face surrounding them can portray a hollowed look. This hollowed look can make your eyes appear darker and more sunken.
Rough Nights: Dark circles are a dead giveaway that you’ve had yourself a long night. Heavy drinking and dehydration can cause dark eyes that will totally blow your cover the next day.
- Lack of Sleep: Maybe your lack of sleep is due to a few too many rough nights in a row, or you were cramming to study for finals or trying your best to work late nights to make a work deadline. Whatever the reason for your lack of sleep, do your best to address it and not make it a habit.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, consider adopting a nightly bedtime ritual.
Winding down with a cooling sleep eye mask can be a great addition to your routine, and help your dark circles too.
- Aging: Although you grow wiser and can do whatever you want, there are a few pitfalls associated with aging—eye circles included. As you get older, the tissue around the eye weakens. Your body starts producing less collagen, meaning your skin will be less plump and lose its elasticity.
- Allergies: Allergies can be linked to your dark eye circles. Irritation to your eyes can cause pretty consistent itching and rubbing. Rubbing your eyes is a major no-no if you want your under-eyes to remain youthful. It’s one of the worst things to do to this sensitive skin.
Ingredients That Treat Dark Circles
All these reasons sound pretty damning, but luckily there are key ingredients you can find in eye masks that can help. When shopping around for an eye mask that will help brighten dark eyes, look out for the following:
- Hyaluronic Acid: Meant for hydrating and plumping up the skin, hyaluronic acid can give you a more youthful look and a newfound glow. It works by pulling moisture into the skin.
- Caffeine: Anything that says “coffee bean” or “caffeine” is a great option for fixing up dark circles. It works by constricting the blood vessels under the eyes and reducing discoloration.
- Dimethicone and Cyclomethicone: These are emollients that lock in moisture while fusing the skin cells together to make the skin look smoother and softer.
- Retinol: Part of the vitamin A family, retinol is an over-the-counter retinoid that helps prevent wrinkles by supporting a speedier cell turnover.
- Peptides: Peptides are what collagen is made of, and since aging slows down collagen production, incorporating peptides into your under-eye routine can help stimulate collagen growth.
2. They Can Reduce Puffiness
Nothing’s worse than waking up to take a look at yourself in the mirror and barely being able to see past the puffiness.
Why Are My Eyes Puffy?
- Aging: Once again, aging could be to blame for your puffy eyes. As your collagen breaks down, the fat in your face shifts to the lower eyelids, creating puffiness. This process is slow and gradual and happens in layers. Your face doesn’t age all at the same time, which over time leads to eye bags, hollowed eyes, and wrinkles.
- Stress: Seriously, chill. It’s good for you. Stress releases cortisol from your adrenal glands and in turn changes the salt balance in your body. When your salt balance is off, your body retains water and you can experience swelling and puffiness.
- You’re Not Active Enough: Fluid retention happens when you don’t get enough movement in the day. Being sick, injured, or lying down too often can cause fluid to collect in your face. If you’re stuck in bed, try sitting upright as much as possible to reduce the fluid building up in your face and under-eyes.
- You’ve Got a Cold: If you have sinus congestion due to a head cold or allergies, the cavities responsible for draining fluid from your eyes are blocked. This causes puffy eyes.
- You Eat Too Much Salty Food: The eyes are a major indicator of your diet, from the color of the “whites” in your eyes to the level of puffiness surrounding them. Salt causes water retention which often gathers around the eyes.
Ingredients That De-Puff Eye Bags
If you’re experiencing a problem with puffy eyes daily, in addition to making certain lifestyle changes, look for the following ingredients that can help minimize them:
Green Tea: Antioxidant-rich green tea protects the skin from environmental stressors. It helps to firm, tighten, and minimize eye bags.
Vitamin E: This vitamin helps to regenerate cells, turn them over, and promote the growth of new skin. This is key in minimizing eye bags. Vitamin E is another antioxidant that protects against aging.
Vitamin K: When used with Vitamin A or another retinoid, vitamin K is a fat-soluble source that is effective in fighting hyperpigmentation. While it may sound daunting, it has blood-clotting properties that actually help reduce wrinkles and minimize puffiness.
Aloe Vera: Come on, what isn’t this plant good for? From soothing sunburn to moisturizing, aloe vera is a great option to choose when trying to fight puffy eyes. It’s chock-full of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. All of these things are warriors against puffy eyes.
3. They Can Minimize Wrinkles
Wrinkles are simply a part of life. But there are ways to reduce their appearance and prevent them from forming. There are many factors that cause premature wrinkles and your future self will thank you for doing your best to avoid them.
Am I Putting Myself at Risk for Premature Wrinkles?
Knowledge is power. The more you know, the better off you’ll be when combatting signs of aging. While you may do some of these things mindlessly, consider this your warning!
- Sunbathing: While we all love a great tan in the summertime, a week of looking sunkissed may not be worth the future consequences. Ultraviolet radiation (UV) rays are the enemy if you don’t want wrinkles, sun spots, or signs of aging. Exposure to UV rays triggers the breakdown of the skin’s important connective tissue, collagen, and its elasticity.
- Smoking: Smoking absolutely obliterates your collagen and elastin. Cigarettes contain thousands of toxic chemicals that damage your skin cells and cause premature aging and wrinkles. It particularly affects the skin between your eyebrows, around the eyes, and around the mouth and lips.
- Dehydration: Hydration comes from the inside out. Being sure to drink plenty of water—eight glasses per day is the recommended amount. This will have your skin looking fuller, brighter, and less wrinkly. Water will help improve the skin’s elasticity, making it less likely to crack.
Ingredients That Minimize Wrinkles
You may be guilty of some of these actions that can cause wrinkles and premature signs of aging. If you’re past the point of harm reduction and it is now time for damage repair, look for these ingredients to minimize wrinkles on your skin and around your eyes.
Retinoids: A retinoid is a compound of vitamin A. It can be retinol or retinoic acid. They help to repair sun-damaged skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
This potent antioxidant protects the skin from free radicals and free radical damage. Oxygen molecules can break down your skin cells and cause wrinkles. Vitamin C combats that by protecting your skin and reducing the environment’s effects on it.
Hydroxy Acids: Alpha hydroxy acids, better known as AHAs, help to remove dead skin cells. This is what’s called “chemical exfoliation,” and it regularly prepares the skin to better absorb moisturizing products while stimulating the growth of smooth and evenly pigmented skin.
Niacinamide: This potent antioxidant helps reduce water loss and can help improve the skin’s elasticity. It is related to vitamin B-3, also called niacin, and is often used as a way to reduce and minimize fine lines and wrinkles.
Dark under-eye circles, puffy eye bags, and signs of aging are not fun, but getting some new eye masks that can help with those problems can be! Whatever your eye dilemma is, try to eliminate the source.
If you can’t quite pinpoint the cause or are unable to rid the cause, turn to soothing eye masks to brighten your eyes and your days. When you go to sleep at night, don’t forget to seal everything in and protect your eyes with a silky, soft eye mask, too!