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eye bags or puffy eyes and portraiture


  • many women and men, even teenagers, have a tendency to develop puffiness under the eyes - “eye bags”
  • this appearance is not something most want emphasised in portraiture as it tends to age people and suggest a tired, stressed, depressed appearance
  • a related issue is dark “circles” under the eye

causes of eyebags

  • there is a strong genetic pre-disposition to the tendency to develop puffiness, to the extent many have permanent eye bags which tend to become more prominent as they get older.
    • this is due to a combination of increased fatty tissue deposition, impaired ligamentous support and perhaps lymphatic drainage issues
  • exacerbating factors which increase the amount of local tissue fluid are said to include:
    • lack of sleep in the previous 3 days
    • sleeping with the head down which encourages fluid accumulation
    • fluid retention due to high salt intake
    • local eye inflammation such as hay fever
    • rubbing the eyes
    • crying
  • dehydration (inadequate water intake or excessive dehydrating drinks such as alcohol or caffeine)
    • causes the dark circles rather than the puffiness

reducing eye puffiness

  • sleep at least 8 hours per night
  • do not sleep with your cat - many people have some residual allergy to cat dander
  • avoid sleeping on your stomach face down
  • sleep with head elevated a little
  • avoid alcohol, caffeine, and excessive salt intake
  • treat hay fever early - eg. antihistamines
  • avoid cosmetics which may be causing irritation to the eyes
  • avoid rubbing the eyes as this increases local blood flow and swelling
  • gentle massage or facial exercises may increase lymphatic drainage and reduce the fluid
  • cool compresses usually applied for 4-5 minutes may help - popular options include:
    • resting two cold soda cans under each eye for 10 minutes
    • green tea bags - possible additive action of topical caffeine to vasoconstrict the blood vessels
    • cold cucumber slices
    • cold teaspoons
    • cold gel packs
  • some recommend facial products such as:
    • Arbonne face serum
    • “The Arbonne Daily Eye Cream works wonders as well. It takes away my eye puffiness in about an hour. Just add a few dots under your eye and your entire eye lid if you'd like (some people get puffy there too) rub it in gently and presto… no puffiness! It works even better if you apply the night before! ”1)
  • eye makeup:
    • although many say not to use a concealer lighter in tone than your skin as this may emphasise the area
    • for dark circles:
      • “A luminizing pen is one of the best kept secrets that models use for erasing those missed hours of sleep. It is seriously like a magic wand for under eye circles. The best is YSL's Touche Eclat $40. Just dot it under your eyes and blend! The light reflectors in this product will help make the area appear less depressed”2)
  • photographic lighting:
    • an elevated main light such as used in typical butterfly lighting tends to exaggerate the puffiness by making it appear darker
    • consider lowering the main light a little
    • women with prominent cheeks and dark circles under the eyes should have lighting above eye level to avoid the cheeks casting shadows onto the dark circles and emphasising them - this is particularly a risk with on-camera flash with camera below face level
  • Photoshop post-processing
photo/eyebags.txt · Last modified: 2012/10/23 00:27 by gary1

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