And how many bags are you checking today?

This post was inspired by Lily’s Facebook status update sometime in the latter part of 2009.

Bags and dark circles under your peepers automatically make you appear haggard and old.  That’s not desired, considering today’s image-conscious society.  I must confess that I am not heavily affected by this issue, but whenver I see a gal or fella with blackening underneath the ocular orbits, I think, “Someone needs sleep!” 

The causes of undereye darkness vary, but one major cause is your genes and pigment levels.  Sunlight, dermatitis, eczema, wimpy diet, partying until 5am, meds, boozing, ciggies, allergies, even getting old can cause this problem.  Thin skin is no good.  Shrink those vessels!  Looks like dilated blood vessels are to blame as well.

There’s no shortage of undereye circle concealers and creams but the evidence proving they actually do jack is not really there.  The latest trend is injecting fillers such as Restylane® and Juvederm® in the bad spots.  Yeouch!  Be cautious though, these fillers are not approved for this malady; you’re off-label.

Filling you in on fillers: cosmetic fillers are typically used to smooth away folds on the face.  They consist of hyaluronic acid (HA) which is naturally found in your body, with the biggest quantity in your eyes and joints.  HA is either whipped up in the good old lab or extracted from rooster combs (wha?!).  Other uses include eye/corneal surgery and osteoarthritis.

If you don’t want to spend $500 to have derms pop HA into your face, here are some less ouchy ways to combat the undereye gremlins.

  1. Cold compresses: cold shrinks vessels.
  2. Concealers (makeup) and vitamin creams
  3. Pillows: elevating you head reduces the amount of blood in the target areas.
  4. Sinus flushing: to reduce congestion
  5. Rest!



Your hair, it’s everywhere

Props if you can ID the song I’ve quoted from in the post title.

As anyone who’s shared a bathroom/living arrangement with me for an extended period of time knows, I shed a lot of hair, a generous amount that has led me to question if I were actually going bald and would be needing a hairpiece soon.

Naturally I was relieved to learn that shedding is completely normal, and it’s estimated that you drop about 50 to 100 hairs a day. Whew. Hair grows in a cyclic pattern with 90% of the hairs growing at any one time. The ones that aren’t are the ones that fall out, the ones I find all over the floor and on my hairbrush. These hairs have just been in the resting phase which lasts two to three months. To classify what I just described, hair growth has three stages: anagen (active phase), catagen (in-between phase), and telogen (resting phase).

What we term hair is more correctly known as the hair shaft, and it’s all dead and is made up of protein (keratin). The follicle holds the hair shaft, and it’s pretty complex with its sebaceous glands, capillaries, nerves, and muscles/erector pili.

Other fun hair facts: hair grows roughly one centimeter a month. People sport 100,000 to 150,000 hairs on their heads. Blondes have a greater number of hairs on their heads. I’ll refrain from making a blonde joke. Asian hair grows the fastest. And you need to lose 40% of your head hairs for it to be a noticeable loss. I think I’m in the clear.