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How to Get Rid of Bags Under Your Eyes: The Complete List ----- Back

21.11.19 - How To

How to Get Rid of Bags Under Your Eyes: The Complete List

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Words by Antoinette Barnardo

Did you know that the average woman in the United States spends a whopping $15,000 in a lifetime on makeup? Or that a large percentage of that amount spent is on under-eye concealers? Given the statistics, that could easily be you. 

Under-eye bags, as characterised by dark circles and eye puffiness, are a common occurrence for most people, largely thanks to aging and a busy schedule. As much as we wish that the bags under our eyes can be magically converted into designer bags (hello Hermès), the sad truth is that these bags seem like they are here to stay. Or are they? 

What Causes the Bags Under Your Eyes?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, under-eye bags are predominantly caused by skin aging, whereupon the tissues surrounding the eye become weaker and lose their elasticity. This causes the subcutaneous fat that originally supported the eye structure to sink into the lower eyelid area which leads to puffiness. 

Fluid retention in the surrounding space may also cause under-eye swelling and make these puffy bags more prominent. Given that the skin around your eyes is thin and delicate, it provides a translucent skin tone that highlights the underlying blood vessels more clearly which leads to the appearance of dark circles. 

Besides aging, genetics are also another major culprit for the dark circles under your eyes. A 2015 study in the Official Publication of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology also credited internal factors like melanin deposits and deoxygenated blood as the causes behind dark circles. 

But you can't solely blame your eye bags on family history and biological factors alone. Temporary causes like a lack of sleep or allergies could be what's giving you those under-eye bags. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, excess alcohol intake, and a poor diet are also possible culprits for your puffy eyes. 

How to Get Rid of the Bags Under Your Eyes

Whether your eye bags are temporary or seem to have existed since day one, here's a list of 18 tried-and-tested methods that offer temporary or long-term relief. 

1. Put on a Cold Compress

For instant cooling relief, put a cold compress on your puffy bags for five minutes to bring down the swelling. The cold will constrict the blood vessels and lessen the appearance of under-eye bags. However, note that the result only lasts for a few hours. If you don't have a cold compress, just pop two teaspoons into your fridge to chill them before putting them over your eye bags. 

2. Use Tea Bags

If you're not a fan of the cold, try tea bags instead. Tea bags contain caffeine which is rich in antioxidants and constricts the blood vessels to reduce puffiness. The caffeine penetrates your skin barrier easily to de-puff your bags for at least a few hours. 

Once you’ve finished making your caffeinated tea, remove the tea bags from the cup and gently squeeze out any remaining liquid from the bags. Once the tea bags have sufficiently cooled, place one on the area under each eye for a few minutes. After that, gently wash your face with water to prevent tea stains from forming on your skin. 

3. Take an Antihistamine

If your under-eye bags are accompanied by watery eyes or itchiness, you could likely be suffering from allergies. Go to your doctor for a prescription for an antihistamine to relieve the symptoms. Also, try to identify the allergens and eliminate them from your daily routine. It could be something that you ate or used. If all else fails, consider going for an allergy testing. 

4. Get Plenty of Sleep

Lack of sleep might be the number one reason behind your dull, fatigued eyes and dark circles. Insufficient sleep is associated with lower human growth hormone (HGH) production, which leads to reduced muscle mass and sagging skin. To tighten the loose skin under your eyes and keep the puffiness at bay, the National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. 

5. Correct Your Sleeping Position

The right sleeping position is also key to warding off fluid retention that leads to eye puffiness. Sleep on your back and keep your head elevated on a firm pillow to prevent excess fluid from accumulating in the area under the lower eyelids. 

6. Cut Back on Fluids Before Bedtime

Another way to get rid of bags under your eyes is to cut back on drinking fluids at least one to two hours before bedtime. Drinking too much water just before you sleep could increase the possibility of fluid retention under your lower lids and give you puffy eyes come morning. It will also save you from waking up in the middle of the night due to an exceptionally full bladder. 

7. Stay Hydrated Throughout the Day

Instead of gorging on fluids just before you sleep, you should aim to take in fluids at regular intervals throughout the day. Aim for six to eight glasses of fluid a day. Make sure to imbibe in healthy drinks like water and milk, and stay away from sugar-laden drinks. Add some lemon slices and peppermint sprigs to your water for a refreshing twist. 

The National Health Service also advises that adults only consume 150 ml of unsweetened fruit juice, vegetable juice, or smoothies every day. This will count as one portion of the recommended five daily portions of fruits and vegetables, according to the Eatwell Guide. 

8. Drink Less Alcohol

A glass of red wine may seem well-deserved after a long day at work but excess alcohol can be dehydrating on your skin and lead to under-eye bags. Dr. Randy McLaughlin, OD, a professor of optometry at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center explains that alcohol could lower an anti-diuretic hormone in your body, contributing to eye puffiness. 

Consuming alcohol in moderation is the key to getting rid of under-eye bags in the long term. The Dietitians Association of Australia recommends no more than two alcoholic drinks per day, and to maintain at least two alcohol-free days per week

9. Reduce Your Sodium Intake

Salty foods are high in sodium and can cause your body to retain water. This leads to fluid retention under the eyes which translates to puffiness. According to the American Heart Association, the average American adult eats around 3,400 milligrams of salt every day — more than double the recommended 1,500 milligrams for healthy individuals. 

To cut back on your sodium intake, stay away from processed and packaged food. You can also swap salt for herbs and spices when cooking your meals. Try lemon juice, basil, ginger, pepper, lemongrass, or onions for a more flavorful yet healthier meal. 

10. Eat More Vitamin C

Vitamin C is needed for collagen production, essential in tightening the loose skin beneath your eyes. It's also known for inhibiting tyrosinase, a melanin-producing enzyme that causes skin pigmentation. Consuming vitamin C-rich foods are thus ideal in preventing or reducing the formation of dark circles in the long run. 

You can also use vitamin C supplements to increase the ascorbate content in your skin. YORA's “beauty-from-within” skin supplement contains carotenoids from lycopene and vitamin C. These two potent antioxidants work in tandem to help you get rid of the bags under your eyes.

11. Increase Your Iron Levels

Iron is needed to synthesise the oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in your red blood cells. An insufficient amount of iron could lead to lesser oxygenated blood supplied to the vessels in the eye area, thereby contributing to dark eye circles. If you suspect having iron-deficiency anemia, increase your iron intake by consuming iron-rich foods like red meat, leafy green vegetables, seafood, and beans. 

12. Quit Smoking

If there's ever a time to quit smoking, it’s now. Smoking has long been associated with many negative health effects, one of which is under-eye bags. According to dermatologist Jonette Keri, MD, of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, this is due to the chemicals in tobacco smoke, many of which destroy the collagen and elastin in the skin. This results in sagging skin and fine lines around the eyes

13. Apply Sunscreen Daily

UV-induced sun damage can cause a slew of skin issues such as pigmentation and premature skin aging. Applying a broad-spectrum physical sunscreen with SPF 30 and above will help in getting rid of the dark circles under your eyes over time. 

Some chemical sunscreens might not be appropriate for applying on your eyelids. Instead, choose an eye cream or a concealer that contains SPF to keep the eye area protected from UV rays. 

14. Be Gentle When Removing Makeup

Removing your eye makeup will inadvertently cause some tugging and pulling on your skin. Remember to be gentle since the skin around your eyes is the thinnest and most delicate on your face. 

Instead of vigorously rubbing your skin, opt for gentle, circular motions. You can also use a cleansing oil or balm instead of makeup wipes to remove your eye makeup with minimal friction and skin aggravation. 

15. Use a Topical Skincare Product

To combat the dark circles and puffiness under your eyes, go for topical skincare products that contain these skin-lightening and de-puffing ingredients: 

If you will like to give retinol a try, check out YORA's Defence Face Concentrate, a single-use ampoule infused with retinol to de-puff your dark under-eye bags for a more youthful complexion. 

16. Try Microneedling

Microneedling has gained traction in its popularity in skincare. This procedure involves the use of tiny needles that penetrate the skin to create small, controlled wounds that stimulate collagen production. The result is the removal of old cells and the formation of new cells in the affected area. Your under-eye bags will then be firmer and more youthful-looking. 

For microneedling, you can either go to a licensed practitioner or do it yourself with an approved Dermaroller® roller at home since derma rolling can be dangerous and even cause infections without proper sanitising. 

17. Apply a Chemical Peel 

Chemical peels are widely used for numerous skin concerns — evening out skin tone to reducing fine lines and wrinkles. When it comes to the bags under your eyes, using a chemical peel that contains 3.75% trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and 15% lactic acid has shown marked improvement in diminishing dark eye circles. 

Other acids that are commonly used in peels to great effect are salicylic acid, malic acid, and glycolic acid, all of which can tighten loose skin and treat pigmentation. 

18. Consider Lasers & Fillers

Another way to tighten the bags under your eyes permanently is to use lasers and fillers. Dr. Michelle Henry of the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York recommends fractional lasers like the Fraxel Repair to tighten the loose skin underneath the lower eyelid. A follow-up filler can be used to fill in the hollows created by the eye bags which would give the appearance of smoother, youthful-looking skin. 

Don't Give up Hope on Getting Rid of Your Under-Eye Bags 

The last thing you want is for your eyes to be eye-catching for your dark eye circles and bulging under-eye bags. 

As we've noted above, there is no single cause for the bags under your eyes, but rather a multitude of internal and external factors working together. For those whose under-eye bags are just a temporary occurrence due to a late night or allergies, applying a cold compress or taking an antihistamine will easily solve the problem. 

However, if your under-eye bags are always stubbornly present, take a look at your daily routine to identify the causes. Factors such as a poor sleep schedule or an unhealthy diet could be what's causing your semi-permanent puffy eyes. It's time to make a few lifestyle changes with regards to your sleeping habits, diet, and skincare routine for a more wholistic approach towards getting rid of your under-eye bags.

Words by Antoinette Barnardo

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