Bags Under My Eyes: What Causes Them and What To Do

Woman's eye

Puffy under-eyes can be a mysterious skin issue that's hard to fix. While not uncommon, figuring out how to achieve smooth under-eyes does not come easy to everyone. Thankfully, bags are just a cosmetic concern and not a health one, but they can be an annoyance. 

Many different things could be causing your eye bags. There are various options you can try to improve the puffiness. There are home remedies such as using cucumber slices, eye creams with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, treatments such as chemical peels, and injectables such as tear trough filler. 

There are also procedures dermatologists or a surgeon can do to treat the puffiness, which involve injections, incisions, or blepharoplasty, which is an outpatient procedure for eyelid surgery. 

We are going to go over some of the possible causes when it comes to the appearance of bags. We will also go over treatment options and how you can cover them up. Your under-eye bags will be a thing of the past in no time!

What Causes Under-Eye Bags?

If we listed all the reasons you could have under-eye bags, it would be overwhelming. We are going to go over five common causes of under-eye puffiness

1. Age 

Bags can develop as you age and your body changes. When you get older, the tissue and muscles around your eyes (especially the lower eyelids) weaken. The fat in your face can shift into your under-eye area, resulting in bags. Swelling can also occur from fluid building up below your under-eyes. 

Quick Tip: Use at least one extra pillow to prop yourself up while you sleep. This can help prevent fluid from building up below the under eyes.     

As you age, your skin loses the elasticity that keeps it taut. Collagen production also slows down, causing your skin to sag. The older you are, the more susceptible you are to these types of skin issues. 

2. Genetics

You may be genetically prone to under-eye bags. For example, pale skin doesn't hide color very well, so your blood vessels beneath the skin show through, resulting in dark circles

Another example is if you store fat in your face, it can find its way to your under-eyes, creating bags. A normal fat level in the face will likely not cause uneven distribution. Your genetics contribute to your skin tone and how your body distributes fat. 

3. Underlying Health Issues

While under-eye bags in and of themselves aren't a health concern, they could be a sign of other issues. You may have an underlying health problem causing the puffiness. Sometimes thyroid disease can affect your eyes, so seek medical advice if this is the case. 

Sinus dysfunction can also lead to issues around your eyes. Both of these health problems cause mild swelling. If you treat the underlying issue first, your under-eye bags may fix themselves. 

Even allergens can cause the same symptoms as other health issues, resulting in purple under the eyes, bags, or puffiness. You can try over-the-counter allergy medications to help. 

4. Unhealthy Diet

If you have a diet high in sodium, you may be retaining a lot of water. When you take in too much sodium and don't drink enough water, your body holds on to excess fluid to prevent dehydration. You also disrupt your sensitive sodium cells. You may experience bloating and under-eye bags from the extra water. 

If you notice under-eye bags periodically, try taking a closer look at your diet. Some foods can have a deceivingly large amount of sodium. If your sodium or potassium is out of balance, you can see the effects in your under-eyes. Try keeping track of how much salt you are consuming to see if that is the problem.

5. Sleep Deprivation

When you don't sleep, you can see the signs on your face. Sleep deprivation stresses your body out and causes a multitude of issues. Your blood vessels can dilate, and as your blood circulation picks up, it can pool under your eyes. Lack of sleep can also result in more fine lines and wrinkles, making bags more prominent. 

How To Treat Under-Eye Bags 

Luckily, since under-eye bags are such a common issue, many different options are available to fix them. Some of these treatments can be done in the comfort of your own home, while others will require you to go to a doctor or dermatologist. 

Drink Plenty of Water

Dehydration can make the effects of too much sodium, alcohol, and no sleep a lot worse. Keeping yourself hydrated is great for your overall health and also helps reduce the appearance of under-eye bags. Water enhances your circulation, which helps the excess fluid drain in your under-eye area.  

If you struggle to drink enough water, try never leaving the house without a water bottle. If it's always on hand, you're more likely to drink it. If you don't like the taste of water, try slicing different fruit and letting it soak in your water. Making these small lifestyle changes can really help in the long run. 

Get Plenty of Sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential for your body to function normally. When you have enough rest, your cortisol levels will decrease. Cortisol is one of the main stress hormones that trigger your body's fight or flight response. 

You want your body to do this when there is an actual threat, so you have extra energy and strength. However, if everything is fine and your body releases cortisol, it can quickly take its toll. One of the effects is—you guessed it— under-eye bags. 

Kitchen Remedies

Soaking a clean washcloth in cool water and applying it to the skin can help reduce the appearance of puffy eyes. This homemade cold compress can feel extra soothing. 

You can use cold spoons gently pressed under your eyes for five minutes. You can also use cold green tea bags. The tea has caffeine and antioxidants, which have added benefits. Caffeine can restrict your blood vessels, which results in depuffing. You can even put an ice cube under your eyes and gently massage it into your bags. 

Lymphatic Drainage

If you are prone to fluid retention, you may benefit from a lymphatic drainage massage. Massage is one of the many therapies that can improve the lymphatic system. 

There are smooth stones (aka gua sha) that work well to help push the fluid out of your face. After you lubricate the stone with serum, use it in an upward and outward motion. This massage technique encourages the fluid to drain. Make sure you clean the stone after every use to avoid infection.  

Professional Treatments

There are several procedures you can get from a doctor. Some of them can stimulate collagen production, like laser resurfacing. It can also tighten the tissue and reduce puffiness. You can also get under-eye surgery that requires a longer healing process than other options but has long-lasting effects. 

How To Cover Under-Eye Bags 

Some treatments can take time before you see complete results. In the meantime, you can conceal your under-eye area with makeup. 

The first step is to apply moisturizer to replenish your skin. It will also prevent your skin from soaking up the product. Next, use a primer if you have fine lines and wrinkles. A silicone primer will fill in the creases and allow the makeup to glide smoothly over the skin. 

Once your skin is prepped, reach for a concealer that is a shade or two lighter than your skin tone. You also want a moisturizing concealer because a dry product will stick to your fine lines and wrinkles. 

HIDE Premium Concealer is a liquid formulation and offers excellent coverage. Apply it under your eyes in an inverted triangle shape. This technique will brighten up your face and remove any shadows created by your bags. Blend the product out with a concealer brush or a damp makeup sponge. 

After you blend everything out, set your face with a setting spray. Translucent powder can set into your wrinkles and accentuate them. HIDE products set themselves, so you don't need a setting spray, but you can use one if you want an extra layer of protection and hydration. 

In Summary 

You don't have to live with under-eye bags if they make you uncomfortable with your appearance. There are a number of things you can do to prevent them from occurring and treat them. 

If nothing you do at home is working, seek professional advice from a dermatologist or doctor. HIDE premium products can offer a quick and painless option to cover your under-eye bags. It will help diminish the appearance of your bags and stay in place all day. 



How to Get Rid of Bags Under Your Eyes | Hopkins Medicine 

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