According to a study done by Clinique in 2006, half of all women note dark circles and bags under the eyes as major beauty concerns. These two skin issues may have connected causes or may be due to separate underlying issues but when looking at undereye dark circles and puffiness, men and women, and even children, are all affected.
The causes of bags under the eyes are often different in younger people than in those approaching middle-age or older so knowing the factors underlying that under-eye puffiness and pigmentation is important in order to successfully fix the condition and restore naturally healthy skin.
Bags Under the Eyes – Causes
A major factor in eye puffiness is lack of sleep, which can be the reason for teenage undereye bags, and those seen in new parents or anyone going through a stressful situation. Other causes of bags under the eyes include lack of exercise, water retention from a high sodium diet, medication side-effects, genetic factors and sinus infections or allergies.
Kids and Adults with Undereye Bags
It is common to inherit a propensity for bags under the eyes and so those whose parents have pronounced puffiness may wish to take early action to reduce the appearance of this widespread skin complaint. Kids with bags under their eyes may be snacking on high-sodium junk foods or not drinking enough water, leading to fluid retention. Those with television sets in their rooms or a propensity for reading or playing late into the night may have bags under their eyes from tiredness or strained eyes and eye-rubbing.
Allergens and Bags Under the Eyes
Making a note of when eye puffiness is at its worst can help identify the cause and appropriate remedy. Seasonal undereye bags and dark circles can indicate an allergy to an airborne pollen and sufferers may find that natural antihistamines such as quercetin or bromelain help relieve the condition. Chronic allergies and infections in the sinuses can cause inflammation and stretching of the skin, leading to permanent puffiness; addressing the problem early is advantageous when considering bags under the eyes.
Puffy Eyes After Waking
Where early morning puffiness under the eyes is a problem, but the eyes appear normal by lunchtime or so, it is likely that water retention is the culprit. It can help to sleep with the head in a slightly elevated position to allow proper drainage of the sinuses and facial tissues overnight. The skin beneath the eyes is very thin and so any changes in moisture content can quickly be seen. Dehydration can also cause dark shadows under the eyes as the skin becomes less plump and firm and the eye socket more pronounced.
Salt, Crying and Other Causes of Bags Under the Eyes
Crying and eating a salty meal can have similar effects on the puffiness of the eyes as they both lead to an excess of salt in the tissues around the eyes and a drawing in of water to counteract that salty concentration. Add to this a night of drinking alcohol and going to sleep with makeup still on and the puffiness will be even further exacerbated. Late-night readers are not immune either as regular rubbing of the eyes can contribute to under-eye bags too, meaning that it is wise to have good light for reading and to go to bed when tired. Some of the most easily addressed common causes of under-eye bags include:
- Drinking alcohol to excess
- High sodium diet
- Working in dim light or with a flickering computer screen
- Eye strain from a low-powered eye wear prescription
- Side or stomach sleeping.
Invasive Treatments for Bags Under the Eyes
Bags under the eyes in older people may become a permanent feature as the substances that make the skin strong, supple and stretchy, collagen and elastin, are less efficiently replaced and produced. This causes a loss of structure in the connective tissues of the face and a resulting sagginess to the skin and its adipose (fat) tissue.
Aside from not smoking and helping to keep the skin well nourished and hydrated there is little that can be done once the skin’s elasticity begins to fail, which is why some people turn to cosmetic surgery, such as blepharoplasty, or facial fillers to restore some tautness or firmness to the skin. Unfortunately, in inexpert hands, these procedures can simply exacerbate the puffiness around the eyes.
Medical Conditions Causing Under-Eye Bags
Some cases of under-eye bags are signs of a serious condition so, where allergies and other factors have been ruled out, seeking medical guidance is wise for sudden onset of bags under the eyes. Thyroid and kidney problems can be the cause of under-eye bags and dark circles under the eyes may be a sign of vitamin deficiencies, such as vitamin K, which affects blood clotting.
Serious allergies to mascara or other cosmetics can also cause bags under the eyes so some experimentation and observation at home may reveal the real cause of under-eye puffiness and organic, natural makeup may prove preferable in the long-term.
Home Remedies for Bags Under the Eyes
Home remedies for eye puffiness include antihistamines and the use of a neti pot to irrigate the sinuses. This is particularly helpful when under-eye bags are caused by a cold, congestion or allergies.
Wearing sunscreen year round can also help protect the delicate skin beneath the eyes from sun damage that weakens and thins the skin prematurely. Moisturising every night, but not rubbing too hard, is also helpful to encourage collagen and elastin turnover and production. Getting sufficient vitamin A and/or beta-carotene in the diet, along with vitamins E and C, can help maintain good skin health and prevent fine lines, wrinkles and sagging that contribute to under-eye puffiness.
Quick Fixes for Under-Eye Bags
Simple fixes for puffy eyes include cooling the inflamed area by lying back with cold spoons on the eyes, or chilled tea bags or cucumber slices can all help lower puffiness. It is, however, best not to lay flat in order to help the drainage of fluid. Cucumber slices help to cool and moisturise the area and should be kept in place for fifteen minutes or so. The tannins in tea also help reduce swelling and hydrate the skin. Another popular remedy is aloe vera, a natural anti-inflammatory and soothing to the skin. Some people find that a haemorrhoid cream helps reduce puffiness but most dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons recommend a retinol (vitamin A) cream instead for bags under the eyes.