17 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Those Pesky Bags Under Your Eyes ASAP

May 3, 2021

 

Under-eye bags can be a huge annoyance—who wants to look more tired than they are?!—and are a common focus in skincare commercials touting eye creams that promise to reduce dark circles and reduce puffiness. The good news is that you don’t have to go out and purchase lotion and potions to get rid of bags under your eyes. In some cases, you can grab things you already have at home. We talked to the experts to find out what causes bags under your eyes and what you can do about it right now.

 

What causes bags under your eyes?

“Bags are caused by either fat herniating through the very thin lower eyelid muscle,” notes Dr. Ted Lain, board-certified dermatologist and Chief Medical Officer at Sanova Dermatology, “or from lymphatic swelling, or both.” The good news is that bags under your eyes are often just cosmetic and aren’t a sign of a serious underlying condition. According to Dr. Lucy Chen, board-certified Miami dermatologist of Riverchase Dermatology, they aren’t a cause for concern.

Dr. Chen notes common causes of bags under the eyes include:

  • Dehydration,
  • Consumption of too much salt,
  • Stress,
  • Lack of sleep
  • Smoking
  • Allergies
  • Aging

Sometimes, under-eye bags can even just be caused by genetics, according to Dr. Shuting Hu, cosmetic scientist and founder of Acaderma. In fact, studies have been conducted that confirm and help pinpoint exact genes that contribute to sagging eyelids. The good news is that no matter the cause, there are both at-home and medicinal treatment options for under-eye bags.

 

Should you see a specialist for bags under your eyes?

You can see a specialist to help pinpoint the cause of bags under your eyes; however, because they often are not concerning, there isn’t usually a need to see a specialist. As with anything, there are always exceptions, however, so if you’re concerned, it’s best to err on the side of caution.

“For the most part, under-eye bags are a cosmetic concern and not a medical concern,” confirms Washington D.C.-based celebrity dermatologist Dr. Tina
Alster, MD, FAAD, creator and co-founder of The A Method® Skincare. “In some instances, vision can be affected due to excessive eyelid drooping and should be evaluated by a specialist. Persistent pain, burning, and itching of the eyes or eyelid skin should also be investigated and treated.”

 

What ingredients should you look for in eye creams for under-eye bags?

If you choose to use an eye cream that can address under-eye bags specifically, there are a number of ingredients to look for, according to Dr. Hu:

  • Vitamin C, to brighten skin, boost collagen and de-puff under-eye bags
  • Retinoids, an anti-aging ingredient to regenerate cell growth
  • Peptides, which support collagen production
  • Ceramides, to hydrate the skin and improve elasticity

 

How to get rid of bags under your eyes

Wear sunscreen every day

“Your skin is extremely delicate and prone to sun damage,” notes Dr. Hu. “I recommend wearing sunscreen or a UV-barrier for an added layer of protection from the sun’s harsh UV rays.”

Stay hydrated

“Hydration is key to minimizing swelling around the eyes,” reveals Dr. Chen. “When you are not consuming enough water, your body reacts by retaining water. Fluid retention causes inflammation under the eyes. Try and drink 8 eight oz glasses of water throughout the day, and listen to your body; it will tell you when it is thirsty.”

Get adequate rest

According to Dr. Hu, lack of sleep can be a cause for bags under the eyes; rest can sometimes help reduce the appearance of these bags.

Use a cold compress

“Either in the mornings or right before bed, applying something cold will help the blood vessels to constrict quickly for some temporary relief and this will also help with bringing down any swelling,” explains Dr. Hu.

Place green tea bags under the eyes

“The tea is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties and the caffeine constricts the blood flow that is causing the puffiness,” notes Dr. Chen. “You can soak the tea bags and then refrigerate for 10-20 minutes. Then place the tea bags on your eyes for about 10-25 minutes.”

Drinking turmeric tea

“Or [you can try] applying turmeric under the eyes can minimize bags and dark circles,” reveals Dr. Chen. “Turmeric is a natural antioxidant that contains antimicrobial properties that brighten dark circles and fight inflammation.”

Stop smoking

Dr. Chen notes that smoking can be a cause of under-eye bags. The American Academy of Ophthalmology explains smoking contributes to collagen loss, leading to thinner skin under the eyes that can make bags more visible.

Seek treatment for allergies

Dr. Hu notes that allergies are a cause of under-eye bags, and seeking treatment for allergies and/or taking over-the-counter allergy medications may help reduce puffiness.

Sleep with your head elevated

“Elevating your head at night will prevent fluids from pooling under your eyes when you sleep,” shares Dr. Alster.

Limit your fluid intake as it gets closer to bedtime

Dr. Alster notes this will also help prevent fluid-build up when you are lying down for bed.

Eat collagen-rich foods

“Vitamin C is a powerful vitamin for your skin’s health,” explains Dr. Hu. “Having a diet that includes foods high in Vitamin C and amino acids will boost your collagen production which will result in healthier, plumper skin.”

Reduce your salt intake

According to Dr. Alster, this can help prevent swelling, even under your eyes.

Use a jade roller

“Jade rollers are another excellent tool you can use at home for under-eye bags,” shares Dr. Chen. “The rollers can calm and tighten the skin; tightening the skin creates a smooth appearance. They also massage the epidermis (outermost layer of the skin), which helps reduce puffiness from lymphatic fluid-build up.”

Use a topical treatment

“If [under-eye bags] are due to swelling, topicals that reduce inflammation and constrict vessels can help,” explains Dr. Lain. “Look for ingredients such as caffeine, aloe, green tea extract, manuka honey and Vitamin C.”

Use an under-eye concealer

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the use of cosmetic concealers to help hide under-eye bags and dark circles.

Contact a specialist

“If you ever find that your under-eye bag swelling is persistent, uncomfortable, or causing pain, you should see a specialist to check and see if there are any more serious, underlying causes,” adds Dr. Hu.

Surgery

Dr. Lain notes that if you see a specialist and your under-eye bags are caused by fat herniating through muscle, surgery may be a viable treatment option.

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