What causes under-eye bags?
There are several reasons people get puffy eyes, including:
High-salt diet: Eating a lot of salty foods causes you to retain water and leads to swelling.
Allergies: Congestion and inflammation from allergies can sometimes exacerbate under-eye puffiness.
Medical conditions: Some health conditions such as thyroid problems can cause the eyes to become swollen.
Genetics: Having under-eye bags can be a physical characteristic that runs in your family.
Natural aging process: Loss of firmness in the skin and muscles happens as you age.
Drinking more water and applying a cold compress can help shrink eye bags quickly, but the only way to reduce their appearance in the long term is to make a few lifestyle changes. This is especially true if your eye bags and dark circles are genetically inherited.
1. Apply tea bags
Tea isn’t just for sipping. You can actually use caffeinated tea bags under your eyes to help with dark circles and bags.
The caffeine in the tea contains powerful antioxidants and may increase blood flow to your skin. It’s also said to protect against UV rays and potentially slow the aging process.
2. Use a cold compress
Toss out those pricey creams. Relief from dark circles may be as simple as using a cold compress you make using materials you already own. Applying cold to the area can help the blood vessels constrict quickly for some temporary relief.
Although you can purchase a cold compress at the store, do-it-yourself methods can work just as well.
Some DIY options include a:
bag of frozen veggies
Before applying, wrap your compress with a soft cloth to protect your skin from getting too frosty. You only need to apply the compress for a few minutes to see results.
3. Clear out your sinuses with a neti pot
Some people swear that using a neti pot can help remove your under-eye bags and dark circles. A neti pot is a device you fill with a saltwater (normal saline) solution. You place the spout in your nose and irrigate your sinuses, removing mucus and other debris.
To do this:
Fill your neti pot with a saltwater solution — 1/2 teaspoon of salt into 1 cup of water. Heat the water to dissolve, then cool to body temperature before use. Warm or lukewarm is best for comfort.
Tilt your head sideways over the sink. Place the spout of the pot in the upper nostril, the one now closer to the ceiling.
Breathe through your mouth as you gently pour the solution into the nostril. The solution should drain through the other nostril.
Repeat this process with your head tilted the other way.
Rinse your pot after use with filtered, distilled, or otherwise sterile water.
Let the pot air dry before storing.
If you choose to try this method at home, be sure to use distilled or sterilized water to create your saltwater solution. You may also use boiled tap water that has cooled to a safe temperature.
4. Stay hydrated
Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Given this, it may not be surprising that dehydration can contribute to under-eye bags. Upping your water intake should help.
Experts recommend drinking around 13 cups of fluids a day for men, and about 9 cups of fluids for women, per day.
Don’t like water? The good news is that all fluids count toward your daily total. Still, water is a low-calorie option. Try sparkling waters, flavored waters, or even water infused with fruit. Hot or cold herbal decaffeinated tea is another good choice.
Bags under eyes are usually a cosmetic concern and don't require medical treatment. Home and lifestyle treatments may help reduce puffiness. But if you're concerned about the appearance of under-eye swelling, medical and surgical treatments are available.
However, you should consider seeing your doctor if your swelling is:
severe and long-lasting
joined by redness, pain, or itching
affecting other parts of your body, like your legs
Depending on what's causing bags under the eyes, eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) may be a treatment option. Your surgeon will tailor your blepharoplasty to your unique anatomy and needs, but in general the procedure involves removing excess fat through an incision in the natural crease of the upper eyelid or inside the lower lid. The procedure is usually done in an outpatient setting with local anesthesia.
In addition to correcting bags under eyes, blepharoplasty can also repair:
Baggy or puffy upper eyelids
Excess skin of the upper eyelid that interferes with your vision
Droopy lower eyelids, which may cause white to show below the iris — the colored part of the eye
Excess skin on lower eyelids
Talk with your health care provider about the side effects of eyelid surgery — dry eyes, watery eyes, pain, swelling, bruising and blurred vision. Rare complications include visual loss, bleeding, infection, injury to eye muscles, corneal abrasion and drooping of an eyelid.
These noninvasive treatments smooth the under-eye area:
Filler: This treatment places a filler material (usually hyaluronic acid, which is a jelly-like substance) where the under-eye area and cheek meet to create a smooth transition. The injection is performed in a doctor’s office under local anesthetic. Results last six to 12 months.
Laser resurfacing: This treatment uses a laser to remove surface layers of wrinkly skin in the under-eye area and stimulate new collagen growth, resulting in firmer skin. Results can last years, depending on your skin type and sun exposure.
Chemical peel: A chemical peel also treats wrinkly under-eye skin by removing superficial top layers. An in-office application of a chemical solution dissolves old skin cells to reveal tighter, brighter skin. Depending on your skin type and sun exposure, results can last a few years.