Do you suffer from under-eye bags or circles? Under-eye bags are a natural effect of aging, but they can also be caused by lack of sleep, allergies, and habits that promote water retention. Under-eye bags are a cosmetic concern that can make people appear tired or under the weather. Learn how to reduce the appearance of under-eye bags with quick remedies, long-term strategies and permanent cosmetic solutions.
Method 1 of 3: Quick fixes
Drink plenty of water. Under-eye bags are often caused by the retention of water due to high salt concentration in the area. You might wake up with bags after eating a salty dinner or crying; whether it’s from tears or food, salt can draw water to your face and cause it to collect under your eyes.
- Flush excess salt from your system by drinking water. Avoid salty foods for the rest of the day.
- Stay away from drinks that cause you to become dehydrated, like coffee and alcohol.
Soothe your eyes with something cold. You’ve probably heard that placing cucumbers over your eyes will help reduce bags, but it’s actually the cool temperature that soothes the area. Cucumbers happen to be the perfect shape, size and texture to treat under-eye bags, so go ahead and slice one up – just make sure it’s been chilling in the refrigerator beforehand.
- If you don’t have a cucumber, wet a few teabags and chill them in the freezer or refrigerator before placing them over your eyes. Use a soothing tea, like chamomile or peppermint, so you get the benefits of aromatherapy at the same time.
Put on some concealer. In the short term, concealing under-eye bags and circles with a little makeup is the quickest and most effective solution. The right makeup can greatly reduce the appearance of bags and keep you looking fresh all day. Follow these steps to apply concealing makeup:
- Choose a concealer that matches your skin tone. If your under-eye bags are dark, you could also go one shade lighter. Apply the concealer with your finger or a cotton ball. Make sure you dab it on lightly instead of rubbing it into your skin. The makeup will conceal your bags more effectively if it stays on the surface of your skin.
- Follow the concealer with a brush of powder to help it set and stay in place all day. Use a matte powder (not one with shimmer) and a blush brush to apply a little powder under your eyes.
Use teabags. The tannin in the teabag can sometimes help ease down under-eye bags.
- Boil water and dunk two teabags into the hot water.
- Bob it up and down until they are soaked through.
- Remove and allow to cool on a plate. If wished, cover face, nose, eyes, with paper towel or face washers.
- Lie down somewhere comfortable. Place one soaked teabag over each eye. Put your feet up, relax for a few minutes.
- After a little chilling out, remove the teabags. Hopefully, things will look a little less puffy when you check the mirror again.
Method 2 of 3: Long-term strategies
Treat your allergies. Under-eye bags are often the result of allergies that lead to inflammation in the face. Since the skin around your eyes is thinner than skin on the rest of your body, fluid tends to collect there and puff out the skin.
- Use an allergy medication to treat hay fever and other seasonal allergies. Try an over-the-counter medicine or get a prescription from your doctor.
- Avoid spending time near allergy sources, like flowers, dust or animals. Make sure your house is well-vacuumed and wash your linens frequently.
Change your sleeping position. People who sleep on their stomachs or sides have a greater chance of waking up with under-eye bags, since these positions allow fluid to collect under the eyes during the night. Side sleepers may actually notice that the eye on the side they sleep on has a larger bag than the eye on the other side.
- Try gradually sleeping on your back more often than your stomach or side. It’s not easy to change sleeping positions, so you may have a little difficulty getting used to it at first. You can try adding pillows to your sides to make it easier to sleep on your back.
- Use a second pillow under your head if you’re a back sleeper. With your head at a slightly downward angle, fluid won’t collect under your eyes at night.
Treat your face gently. Since facial skin, and especially under-eye skin, is thin and fragile, it’s easy to damage it and make it weaker, which leads to even bigger bags. Use the following methods to start treating your under-eye skin with more care:
- Don’t go to sleep wearing makeup. The chemicals in makeup can irritate your eyes at night. Washing your face before going to sleep is an important part of good facial hygiene.
- Wash and dry your face gently. Scrubbing your face clean and then rubbing it dry with a towel can weaken the skin around your eyes. Use a good eye makeup remover to gently wipe away makeup, then splash your face with water a few times and pat it dry with a soft towel.
- Moisturize your face every night. Making sure your face, and especially your eye area, gets enough moisture helps the skin retain elasticity and strength. Use a face moisturizing lotion or oil every night before bed.
- Use sunscreen every day. The sun’s rays can cause the thin skin around your eyes to become even more fragile. Make sure you protect your skin there every day, even during the winter.
Change your dietary habits. A salty dinner paired with a few cocktails is fine every once in a while, but if you make a daily habit of eating salt and drinking alcohol, it can have a long-term effect on your eye bags. Years of water retention in the facial area can lead to permanently stretched-out bags. To prevent this from happening to you, try making the following changes:
- Reduce the amount of salt you use in everyday cooking. Try cutting it in half or cutting it out entirely – you’d be surprised how flavorful food can be without the addition of a lot of salt. Try cutting back the salt you use in baked goods and avoiding salt altogether at dinnertime, since your body won’t have time to balance things out before you sleep.
- Drink less alcohol. Drinking alcohol causes water retention, so the less you drink, the less puffy your under-eye bags will look in the morning. On the nights when you do drink, follow each drink with an equal amount of water. Try to stop drinking early in the evening rather than having your last one just before bed.
Method 3 of 3: Cosmetic solutions
Get a filler. Bags or circles caused by aging won’t respond to lifestyle changes, but getting a hyaluronic filler can improve the appearance of the under-eye area. The filler is injected under the eyes to make the contours of the eye socket appear more youthful.
- This procedure can be dangerous if it’s not done by a professional. Do research before committing to getting a filler.
- Fillers usually cost several hundred dollars, and can lead to negative side effects like bruising and swelling.
Get surgery. As people age, fat deposits move down from the eyeballs and accumulate in the under-eye area, leading to bags. Blepharoplasty is the process of removing or changing the position of the fat that has accumulated, followed by a laser treatment to tighten the skin in the area.
- Blepharoplasty procedures usually cost between $2,000 and $5,000 dollars.
- The recovery period can last several weeks.