Have you ever looked in the mirror and noticed your eyes looked puffy or swollen? I’m sure we’ve all had mornings when we’ve scrambled to figure out how to get rid of those pesky under eye bags. Though they are usually harmless, they’re not exactly a sight for sore eyes, and people have been figuring out ways to do away with them for a long time, with more success than you might know.
That’s why there are now a variety of tried-and-true, easily accessible remedies to help you get rid of bags under the eyes. You might rightly be wondering, Well, that’s all well and good, but why do I have bags under my eyes? So, first, let’s find out why these puffy nuisances might be coming around.
How to Get Rid of Under Eye Bags
What Causes Bags Under Eyes?
There are several possible reasons for puffiness under and around the eyes. Most of them are lifestyle factors that can be addressed, whereas some, you can’t really change or affect too much. The biggest reasons for under eye bags include:
Eating a diet that’s high in salt can cause your body to retain water. When you consume a lot of salt, the body stores fluid in order to avoid dehydration. This is often what makes you look or feel bloated when you’ve been snacking on chips while binge-watching the Great British Bake Off or after eating out one too many times this week.
The fluid retention from heavy sodium consumption is not limited to certain parts of your body. It also causes the same kind of puffiness around your eyes, giving the appearance of eye bags.
Allergies or Medical Conditions
Puffy eyes can be a symptom of allergies or certain medical conditions. Congestion and inflammation due to allergies can cause under eye bags, because allergies promote fluid build-up in the sinuses and near the eyes. Allergic reactions can also cause eye redness, itchiness, or watering.
When you’re exposed to allergens, protective cells in your eyes release immune proteins, known as histamines, to combat them, causing your eyes to become sensitive and watery. This ultimately results in eye bags.
Some diseases, like dermatomyositis, dermatitis, kidney disease, or a thyroid condition, can also cause under eye puffiness.
Like plenty of other things in your life, eye bags might just be something you can trace back to and pin on your parents. Your susceptibility to eye bags could run in the family, and really, there’s simply not much you can do about that.
Tobacco and Alcohol Use
Smoking has been found to contribute to under eye bags. Chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage the collagen and elastin found in skin, which are the most important proteins when it comes to maintaining skin elasticity and strength.
This causes smokers to have deeper wrinkles and sagging skin, which also translates to under eye puffiness and bags.
Alcohol consumption contributes to dehydration and fluid retention, leading to swollen eyes.
Lack of Sleep
There’s a reason it’s called beauty sleep—not getting your eight hours a night can have an impact on your skin, and it clearly shows. If you are prone to eye bags, you inevitably know that they’re exacerbated when you don’t get enough rest.
Consistently inadequate sleep can weaken the muscles around your eyes and cause depletion of under eye collagen, which can lead to fluid build-up in the area.
As we grow older, it’s natural to for skin and muscles to lose firmness. As that happens, tissue around the skin can weaken. This leads to fat shifting into the lower eyelids, making them look puffy and swollen.
How to Get Rid of Bags Under Eyes
So, now that we know what causes bags under the eyes, what do we do about it? Well, like we mentioned earlier, there is a whole host of methods you can use to alleviate puffiness and swelling around the eyes.
Some of these methods are short-term solutions, while others are more geared towards modifying habits and ensuring a sustained improvement in the appearance of eye bags.
Any kind of cooling treatment will help reduce eye bags, because cooling generally improves swelling and inflammation by constricting the blood vessels in the area. There are a variety of cold compresses you can use.
Some widely used options include:
- A cold, wet washcloth
- The back of a chilled spoon
- A bag of frozen vegetables
- An ice pack
- A cold eye mask
- Cool cucumber slices
If your eye bags are the result of an allergic reaction, taking an antihistamine might be your best course of action. Take an over-the-counter anti-allergy medication that works for you and the swelling should clear up in no time.
Also, whenever possible, try to avoid allergens that tend to trigger a reaction. If you’re not sure what might be causing the reaction, try documenting the substances you come into contact with to narrow it down, or consider allergy testing.
Like cold compresses, caffeine is also a vasoconstrictor—a substance that causes the narrowing of blood vessels. This effect can also be harnessed through topical application of the caffeine to your skin, so using teabags on your eyes can be a great way of reducing eye bags and swelling.
Simply steep two black tea bags in warm water and then chill them in the fridge for a few minutes until they’re cold. Apply the cold teabags to your eyes for 10–15 minutes and voilà! You’ll be eye bag free.
Wearing sunscreen (and sunglasses!) to protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays is an essential habit to develop. UV rays cause accelerated ageing, and the eye area is often the most neglected when it comes to protection against the sun.
In addition to causing cancer, UVA and UVB rays can also damage your skin and cause wrinkles and premature ageing, because they break down collagen and elastin. This can lead to eye puffiness, and protecting your eyes from the sun can ensure that you’re bag-free.
Try to get a minimum of eight hours of sleep a night. Reduced sleep can make your complexion paler, causing puffiness to be even more visible. Enough sleep will also help your eye muscles stay strong and your skin to retain elasticity, reducing the likelihood of eye bags.
In addition to getting enough sleep, try to sleep with extra pillows under your head if you can. This elevates your head to prevent the build-up of fluid in your lower eyelids, which is what causes eye bags to appear.
What you eat has a huge effect on your overall health and wellness, and that means it also affects your skin. Eating foods that are rich in vitamin C and amino acids helps your body absorb more hyaluronic acid (which is extremely important to maintain skin hydration) and boost collagen production.
Good sources of vitamin C are:
- Citrus fruits (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, kiwi)
- Bell peppers
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts)
- White potatoes
One of the most important factors in reducing eye bags and making sure they stay gone is ensuring proper skin care. There are a variety of creams and gels available that are targeted to combating dark circles and under eye puffiness.
One of the best of these is Wake Eye Gel. The lightweight, collagen-based gel formula is especially formulated to tackle dark circles and puffiness, as well as offering a shot of hydration to your skin. The gel contains vitamins and antioxidants specifically to minimise signs of ageing and has been created for a generation that is constantly looking at screens.
The cucumber extract and aloe vera in the gel lend their cooling and soothing properties to calm puffiness. For best results, use the Wake Eye Gel twice a day, and with consistent use, you will notice an undeniable improvement in the appearance of under eye bags.
A tip: to boost the gel’s benefits even further, keep it in the fridge. Not only will this allow the gel to enact its long-term effects when you use it, but its cooler temperature will also help reduce eye bags immediately!
How to Get Rid of Under Eye Bags: Conclusion
Under eye bags can be caused by a wide range of factors, including diet, genetics, substance use, sleeping habits, medical conditions, and ageing. These factors can cause both short- and long-term effects on the skin, and specifically on puffiness and swelling around the eyes.
There are a variety of remedies to address under eye bags, and science & research backs up each of them. These include cooling and caffeination of the affected area or the use of antihistamines, if eye bags are due to an allergic reaction.
For a more permanent and continuous solution, it is important to modify certain habits and parts of our lifestyle, including adequate sun protection for the skin, improved sleeping habits, a balanced and nutritious diet, and making skin care a regular part of your daily routine.