You might be able to slap on a face of makeup to hide last night’s jaunt, but you’ll be given away unless you figure out how to get rid of bags under your eyes.
As we age, the already thin skin in this area can become more transparent, causing the purple vessels beneath to increase in visibility. But there are ways to combat puffiness and cover dark circles, simply arm yourself with this beauty knowledge.
But what exactly causes dark eye bags?
Here are some of the more common reasons:
- Hollows under the eyes that develop as a normal part of the aging process.
- Shadows cast by puffy lower eyelids.
- Thinning of the skin as one ages, it makes the reddish-blue blood vessels under the eyes more obvious. Loss of muscle tone around the eyelids results in sagging and a darker appearance around the eyes.
- Deep set eyes and a prominent forehead creates a shadowing effect and the illusion of dark eye circles.
- Menstruation and pregnancy. Hormonal changes cause the facial skin to appear pale, which makes the darker pigments of the circulating blood in the veins under the eyes stand out.
- Dehydration, poor nutrition and sudden weight loss lead to sagging and thinning of the skin under the eyes.
- Fluid retention from too much dietary salt or medical conditions such as heart failure and liver or kidney disease.
- Even sleeping on your stomach causes fluid accumulation and puffiness under the lower eyelids! This results in temporary dark circles.
- Certain medicines, especially blood pressure medications, cause blood vessels to expand. The increased blood flow causes a visible tint below the very thin skin under the eyes.
- Allergies that cause itching, rubbing or scratching around the eyes – this causes the fragile blood vessels to dilate or bruise, leading to a dark appearance or “allergic shiners”.
- Colds and sinus infections, which increase the pressure on the veins below the eyes leading to a dark circle appearance.
- Pigmentation, especially in Asian and dark-skinned individuals.
- Sun exposure, which stimulates the skin to produce more melanin pigment.
- Hereditary (it runs in families).
- Heavy or improperly fitted spectacles can put added pressure on the veins and capillaries under the eyes, leading to bruising or dilatation of these blood vessels and a dark blue appearance.
- Fatigue and lack of sleep.
- Lifestyle factors – physical and emotional stress, smoking and alcohol.
Despite what you might think, it’s easy to get rid of this unwanted baggage—at least the kind that resides beneath your lower lids. Here are ways to improve your under eyes, no matter what the underlying cause.
Here are ways to improve your under eyes, no matter what the underlying cause:
While puffy eyes are often associated with a hard night (and that’s partly true!), there’s one major cause that’s totally beyond your control—genetics. And if you’re prone to swollen under eyes thanks to DNA, says dermatologist Amy Brodsky, there’s more bad news: “Superficial fat pads tend to separate as we age and cause the puffiness to be even more visible.” Bum genes aren’t a fixable thing, explains Dr. Bowe, but your actions are: sleep deprivation, allergies, the common cold, and excessive salt or alcohol consumption are triggers for fluid retention, and you can largely control your response to all of these things.
Use Eye Drops
If the aforementioned manageable causes are the problem, deflation is a less complicated end game (well, self-control is required). “Bags under your eye can mean the skin around your eyes is retaining fluids,” explains Bowe. While you don’t have to let it ruin your social life, imbibing less booze, low sodium foods, and adopting regular sleep patterns can certainly have a noticeable impact on swollen eyes. And if allergies are the problem, try taking OTC antihistamines or allergy eye drops to reduce itchy eyes and the need to rub them, which exacerbates the condition.
Try Some Eye Cream
If the situation isn’t too dire, losing the bags may simply require using the right eye cream. “Anti-inflammatory ingredients such as caffeine help constrict your blood vessels and improve circulation,” says Dr. Bowe. She also likes formulas with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, vitamin C and shea butter. Try a retinol-powered option, which “tightens the skin while at the same times restores the youthful features under the eye by stimulating collagen,” notes Dr. Brodsky.
Invest in the best eye cream for your skin type. Look for ones that contains retinoid, which will increase collagen production to plump up the delicate skin under your eyes, while providing it with protection and fading pigmentation, which is what causes dark circles. Under-eye concealers are the best way to combat dark circles and disguise any signs of late nights (or very early mornings).
Here are 4 Simple Things You Can Do at Home:
- Hot water increases inflammation and exacerbates dark circles, so wash your face with lukewarm or cool water.
- Take an antihistamine to halt any inflaming reaction you might have to your environment.
- Apply a cold compress to the area to constrict the blood vessels in that area. Used tea bags from the freezer work a treat.
- Drink plenty of water. Bags under eyes are often caused by a buildup of salt content in the area. Drinking water flushes this excess salt from your system.