If you’re wondering why you have puffy eyes or how you can make under-eye bags disappear, the good news is having bags under your eyes doesn't usually impact vision or health. But if you want to reduce the puffiness around your eyes, there are temporary and long-lasting solutions.
Bags under eyes — mild swelling or puffiness under the eyes — are common as you age. With aging, the tissues around your eyes, including some of the muscles supporting your eyelids, weaken. Normal fat that helps support the eyes can then move into the lower eyelids, causing the lids to appear puffy. Fluid also may accumulate in the space below your eyes, adding to the swelling.
Having puffiness under your eyes is usually a cosmetic concern and rarely a sign of a serious underlying medical condition. At-home remedies can help improve the appearance of bags under eyes, however, for persistent or bothersome under-eye puffiness, eyelid surgery may be an option.
The causes of bags under the eyes
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.
Why do under-eye bags form when you get older?
The most common cause of under-eye bags or puffiness is natural aging. Older skin becomes too lax and tends to fall or wrinkle, which also leads to the muscles and tissues around the eyes weakening and contributing to the baggy look. This weakening allows the fat surrounding the eye to bulge out, creating that bubble-like appearance.
At home treatments to get rid of baggy eyes
There are different approaches to reducing under-eye puffiness, depending on the cause. Natural, at-home treatments can temporarily shrink lower lids that are sometimes swollen from fluid pooling in the undereye area. But, home remedies and over-the-counter products can only do so much. In other words, to effectively get rid of under-eye bags that are prominent and permanent, medical treatment is oftentimes necessary.
If you occasionally wake up with puffy lids, these quick fix at-home treatments and lifestyle changes may help. They work to reduce swelling until it naturally subsides over the course of the day.
- Cold compresses - Cooling the area lessens inflammation and swelling by reducing blood flow. You can place anything cold, such as an ice pack, frozen bag of vegetables, chilled cucumber slices or refrigerated spoons, over closed eyes for a few minutes.
- Hemorrhoid creams - Some people pat over-the-counter creams designed for hemorrhoid treatment under their eyes. Product ingredients such as phenylephrine narrow blood vessels to reduce swelling. But use these products with caution, as they may cause irritation in this sensitive area. Also, it’s important to keep this medication from getting in your eyes.
- Caffeine - Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it constricts blood vessels. Many cosmetics companies sell eye creams with caffeine to reduce under-eye puffiness. You can also try resting chilled tea bags, preferably caffeinated black tea, on closed eyes.
- Reduce fluids before bedtime - Any fluid retention before you sleep can lead to puffy eyes, as well as a need to go to the bathroom. By reducing fluids before bedtime, your eyes can rest peacefully.
- Decrease the amount of salt in your diet - Too much salt leads to water retention, not to mention aggravating your thyroid and possibly causing weight gain.
- Don't smoke - Smoking can aggravate the problem of bags under your eyes.
- Get enough sleep - For most adults, seven to nine hours is a good amount of sleep, for the body to feel rested.
- Sleep with your head slightly raised - It may help to add an extra pillow or prop up the head of your mattress. Or elevate the entire head of the bed a few inches. This helps prevent fluid from accumulating around your eyes as you sleep. Dark circles caused by fluid retention in your lower eyelids usually go away when you get up.
- Reduce allergy symptoms - Avoid allergens when possible.Try over-the-counter allergy medications, and talk to your doctor about prevention strategies if you develop under-eye reactions due to hair dyes, soaps, cosmetics or other allergens.
There are medical options to take, if your baggy eyes aren’t improving or you wish to have them permanently disappear. Before you resort to any surgical procedures though, have a conversation with your doctor to ensure that you’re on the right path with any lifestyle changes and natural home remedies first. From there, it’s up to you to decide the next step.
The eye area is a very delicate part of the face. Working with different types of natural at-home remedies, plus changing your diet to reflect overall wellness, can be the first step towards reducing bags under your eyes. Remember that complications can arise if ingredients in solutions are used improperly.