Papas para las ojeras?

Posted on July 22, 2011

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So I was working at Lima/Limón the other night, and Victor, our waiter comes up to me.  Here’s how the conversation proceeds:

"Papas!"

Victor approaches, and from out of the blue simply states:  “Papas.”

JJ:  Blank stare.  Pause.  “…Que?”

Victor:  “Papas!”

JJ:  “Por qué me estás hablando de papas?”

Victor:  “Se usan para los ojos.  Para quitar las ojeras.  Es que, Ud. tiene la piel tan blanca — y se ven bastante las ojeras.  Bien negritas.  (Smile.)”

JJ:  “Ahh (fake laugh) … Gracias!”

Um, thank you NOT!   Uff da — that latin over-honesty catches me off-guard every time.  But Victor´s not the only one.  Several people have told me lately that I look cansada, tired … even though I´ve generally been getting my 8 hours of shut-eye.  I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been working too much in front of the computer screen lately, or if it’s the humidity, or maybe just that I am, as Victor says, so darned white.

Whatever the case, I may have to give this potato-remedy a try.  Have you guys heard of that?  I mean, I know cucumbers form a part of most facials, and that cool tea-bags or cold spoons are supposed to deflate under-eye bags.  But potatoes?  That one’s new to me.  To make sure Victor wasn’t just pulling my leg, I consulted our cook.  He said potatoes are indeed commonly used — cooks find them especially helpful for relaxing their eyes after hunching all day over smokey frying pans, for instance.  His wife also recommends tomatoes.

That got me investigating.  If you, too are suffering from dark circles, here are a few recommendations from Salvadorans for getting rid of them:

Potato Slices

Peel and wash the potato.  Place cold potato slices over the eye (either large thin slices that cover the full diameter of the eye area, or half-moon slices just on the under-eye bags) and let sit for 10 minutes, while thinking happy relaxing thoughts.  Alternatively, you can shred the potato, pound it to release some of its juices, and wrap it in a thin cotton cloth that you place over your eyes as a compress.  You can add peeled, shredded cucumber to the compress as well.

Apparently the potato has an enzyme (catecholase) that is used in skin-lightening products.  The starchiness also helps as an anti-inflammatory that also reduces irritation and redness.

Tomatoes

You can also place cool tomato slices over your eyes.  Alternatively, mix a teaspoon of fresh tomato juice (ie, from tomatoes, not a can) with 1/2 teaspoon of limón juice and 1/2 teaspoon of flour to make a paste.  Apply the paste on the dark areas under your eyes and let sit for 10 minutes, not letting it dry completely.  Rinse with cold water.

A and C vitamins, along with the iron found in tomatoes, are what make this concoction a success.

So they say.  I guess we’ll just have to give it a whirl to find out if it works!

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