Many things can cause dark bags to form under your eyes, including fluid retention, changes in hormones, sleeping on your back, allergies or a lack of sleep. The best way to combat dark circles is to avoid allergens, get seven to eight hours of sleep every night and sleep with your head slightly elevated. However, when the demands of life in the real world prevent you from doing these things, spending a few minutes with a potato can lighten the resulting under-eye circles.
The Science Part
When raw potatoes are exposed to air, an enzyme in them called catecholase oxidizes and becomes benzoquinone. Benzoquinone is a mild relative of a chemical called hydroquinone, which has been the active ingredient in skin bleaching products. The safety of hydroquinone has been questioned and its use is no longer recommended, however, there is no evidence that hydroquinone’s much weaker cousin benzoquinone is unsafe.
Making the Magic Happen
When bags appear, slice a raw potato, place the slices in a bowl of cold water to keep them from turning brown and refrigerate them for 15 to 30 minutes. Once they are chilled, pat them dry, lie on your back and lay the potato slices over your eyes for 15 to 20 minutes. If you prefer, grate the potato, place the shavings into cheese cloth or a piece of gauze and set the cloth on your eyes. The smaller bits of potato will conform to the shape of your eye and stay in place more easily than slices.
- Bloomberg Businessweek: Ole Henriksen's Late-Night Coverups
- Allure: Dark Circle Treatments That Work
- Michelle Phan: The Potato Eye Trick
- All Natural Beauty: Eco Living: Potato Eye Remedy
- Mayo Clinic: Bags Under Eyes Causes
- Mayo Clinic: Bags Under Eyes Lifestyle and Home Remedies
- The Dr. Oz Show: Staying Safe With Skin Lightening
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