Cucumbers have long been considered an at-home treatment for under eye bags and dark circles – but how effective are they, really? The answer may surprise you!
Cucumbers should be used with occlusive and emollient ingredients
Although cucumbers are composed of 95% water and have skin soothing properties that can benefit tired, puffy eyes, they can accelerate transepidermal water loss (TEWL). This is due to their constituents, monosaccharides and oligosaccharides, which are both hygroscopic (they attract water molecules from the enviornment and from lower layers of the skin). To prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and maximize skin hydration, it’s best to use cucumbers with occlusive (petrolatum, shea butter, jojoba oil, mineral oil etc.) and emollient ingredients (ceramides).
When using raw cucumbers, it’s best to apply a moisturizer with occlusive and emollient ingredients around the eye area PRIOR to placing the cucumbers over the eyelids, as this can cut down on TEWL. When using products with cucumber extracts, look for formulations that contain emollient and occlusive agents, or layer the product with a moisturizer that does.
Cucumber extract contains ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and caffeic acid
Apart from moisturizing, refreshing, and soothing the skin, cucumber extract contains ascorbic acid and caffeic acid – two antioxidants, which have been shown to benefit the look of dark circles and under eye puffiness. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in particular is a promising ingredient in the management of dark circles, as it can thicken the eye lid dermis which can reduce the visibility of congested blood.
Cucumber Extract in general exhibits powerful antioxidant activity through its phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and free radical scavenging activity.
Inhibits melanin production
Studies have shown that 3% cucumber extract can mildly inhibit melanin production. This is possible through one of its compounds, lutein, which has an inhibitory effect on melanogenesis via tyrosinase suppression.
Raw cucumbers can soothe and refresh the delicate skin around the eye area, but they can accelerate transepidermal water loss (TEWL), so they are are best used with emollient and occlusive ingredients. Using cucumber extract in skincare products is a more ideal choice for targeting under eye and dark circle concerns, as many of these formulations contain occlusive and emollient agents as well as other vital constituents.
Cucumber extract is rich in antioxidants, namely ascorbic acid and caffeic acid which can brighten the eye area and reduce inflammation. Additionally, a component known as lutein in cucumber extract can mildly lighten skin.
Therefore, cucumber – specifically, cucumber extract, can benefit dark under eye circles and improve skin integrity.