Eye bags can make you appear older and more tired than you actually are. They also give the impression of a stressed and unhealthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, under-eye puffiness can draw attention away from your eyes, one of your most engaging features, and we all know how it can diminish confidence in your appearance, be it in a personal, intimate or professional situation.
Because of its multifactorial causes and the fact that it’s a very sensitive area prone to irritation of the eyes, many products don’t address the reasons for which we have eye bags. In this article, we will do a deep dive into the science behind periorbital puffiness (A.K.A. eye bags), understanding its causes, and we will talk about natural remedies to get rid of eye bags that you can try.
What are Eye Bags and why do we get them?
Eye bags, medically known as periorbital puffiness, are mild swelling or puffiness in the tissues around the eyes. The skin in this area is thinner than in other parts of our body, which makes it more sensitive and prone to react to internal and external factors. So, what are the most common causes of eye bags?
- Age-Related Puffiness: As we age, the tissues, muscles, and skin around our eyes weaken, leading to sagging skin and puffiness. This can also cause fat normally confined to the area around the eye to move into the lower eyelids, resulting in a puffy appearance.
- Fluid Retention: Various factors can lead to fluid retention in the eye area. This can be due to changes in the weather, hormonal shifts, lack of sleep, or even eating very salty can cause the eyes to appear puffy. Also, some medical conditions, such as thyroid disease, kidney problems, or sinus infections, can lead to fluid retention, causing eye bags.
- Allergic Reactions: Puffiness around the eyes can be a symptom of an allergic reaction. This is often accompanied by itching and redness.
- Sleep-Related Puffiness: Lack of sleep or excessive sleep can lead to swelling around the eyes.
- Lifestyle Factors: Habits such as smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol, and an unhealthy diet can contribute to puffiness and bags under the eyes.
- Fluid & Electrolyte Disturbances: Puffy eyelids can be an early warning sign of dehydration.
- Hereditary Factors: Some people might have a genetic predisposition to develop puffiness or dark circles under their eyes.
The Importance of a Skincare Routine
Many scientifical studies affirm the benefits of a well-structured skincare routine. Its benefits include improving superficial & deep hydration, skin roughness, mean pore area, melanin heterogeneity, and crow’s feet wrinkle depth with a significant increase in skin brightness.
The effectiveness of such skincare routines is further supported by research on a cellular level, showing improved skin cell regeneration and increased collagen production, which are necessary for maintaining the skin’s health and natural glow, and therefor, helps in contrasting the under-eye bags phenomenon.
Guide to a correct skincare routine
The path to healthy skin does not have to be complicated. These simple steps can greatly improve the look & feel of your skin:
- Cleansing: The first step in any skincare routine is cleaning the skin from daily pollutants. Use a gentle, natural cleanser adapted to your skin type to remove makeup, dirt, and excess oil from the skin.
- Toning: After cleansing, you can apply a toner. I personally love floral, rose-based toner that restores the skin’s pH balance and prepares it for the following skincare products.
- Gentle Exfoliating: Exfoliating your skin to remove dead skin cells is recommended. Its frequency depends on your skin type and sensitivity.
- Serums: Apply a serum that targets your specific skin concerns. For instance, a Vitamin C serum can brighten the skin and combat signs of aging, while hyaluronic acid helps to hydrate and plump the skin.
- Eye Cream: After your serum, you should use an eye cream to hydrate and protect the delicate skin around your eyes, often the first area to show signs of aging.
- Moisturizer: Moisturizing is a must in any skincare routine. It hydrates the skin, seals in the products you’ve applied before, and can help protect the skin’s barrier.
- Sunscreen: During the day, sunscreen should always be the final step of your skincare routine. It protects your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays that can cause premature aging.
Speaking to a skincare professional is always a good idea, especially if you have any particular skin conditions. Natural and organic products can greatly help restore your skin’s natural balance while minimizing unwanted side effects.
Home Remedies & D.I.Y. Treatments for Eye Bags
Simple and natural remedies can be very effective for minimizing under-eye bags. From cold cucumbers to facial massage techniques (e.g., Gua Sha), many at-home remedies can be a lifesaver when you know how to use them. The International Journal of Progressive Sciences and Technologies published a list of effective home remedies that provide quick relief for puffy eyes that includes:
- Cold compresses: Applying cold compresses to the under-eye area helps reduce swelling and constricts blood vessels, minimizing the appearance of eye bags.
- Rose water: Rose water has anti-inflammatory properties, which can soothe and calm the delicate skin around the eyes, reducing puffiness.
- Green Tea: Green tea contains antioxidants and tannins that can help tighten the skin and reduce fluid retention, diminishing the appearance of eye bags.
- Eye creams & serums: Specifically formulated eye creams or serums often contain ingredients like caffeine or retinol that can promote skin firmness and reduce puffiness.
- Reducing alcohol consumption: Alcohol can lead to dehydration, causing the body to retain more water, which can contribute to puffy eyes. Cutting down on alcohol can help reduce eye bags.
- Getting plenty of sleep: Sufficient sleep allows the body to repair itself, including the skin, reducing the chances of waking up with noticeable eye bags.
- Reducing salt: High sodium intake can lead to water retention, exacerbating under-eye puffiness. Lowering salt intake helps minimize fluid accumulation.
- Witch hazel: Witch hazel has astringent properties that can tighten the skin and reduce swelling, making it beneficial for reducing eye bags.
Chilled green tea, chamomile bags, and frozen cucumber slices help reduce the swelling, while proper eye creams and serum target skin hydration at cellular levels. Remember that the area around our eyes is delicate. Do not apply anything that could irritate your eyes.
Skincare Products For The Eye Area
With so many people suffering from puffy eye bags (me included, as a very busy mom), the skincare market offers various products targeting under-eye bags. You can find from eye creams and serums to gels and patches. The thing is that there’s no such thing as a one click solution for eye bags.
In fact, when choosing a product, it’s necessary to consider what is causing your eye bags, whether aging, lack of sleep, or something else, to ensure the product addresses your specific needs.
A little help to find good products for bags under the eyes can be found in this Botanical Products for Brighter, More Youthful Eyes
Natural Ingredients For Under-Eye Bags
Skincare products with natural ingredients like retinol, caffeine, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C can significantly help reduce under-eye puffiness.
- Retinol promotes skin renewal and collagen production
- Caffeine is known for its potent antioxidant properties and ability to constrict blood vessels
- Hyaluronic acid hydrates and plumps the skin
- Vitamin C helps brighten the complexion and even out the skin tone.
For the sake of transparency and completeness, although I personally discourage any approach that isn’t natural unless strictly needed, you could consider dermatological procedures if you have tried everything you could think of and couldn’t reduce the bags under your eyes.
Some of these treatments include:
- Laser resurfacing improves skin texture and tightness by burning the epidermis with a laser, forcing a regrowth of the skin. The recovery time is between two and three weeks.
- Chemical peels that target pigmentation and surface wrinkles by applying a chemical solution to remove the top layers.
- Dermal fillers which restore lost volume under the eyes by injecting an implant in the area. The body slowly absorbs the implant and requires repeat treatments to maintain the result.
Even with the advances in recent years, going through any procedure carries a degree of risk and cost that natural alternatives do not have. Any dermatological treatment must always be done by a professional, considering that some side effects can last for weeks.
You can take some preventive measures to minimize the appearance of under-eye bags:
- Staying well-hydrated,
- reducing salt intake,
- getting enough sleep, and
- avoiding allergens.
Daily use of organic and good-quality eye cream can also help maintain the skin’s elasticity and hydration in the under-eye area. Regular exercise can also improve overall circulation, reducing the chances of fluid accumulation in the under-eye area. Sun protection and a proper skincare routine are vital in preventing under-eye bags. A well-structured skincare routine can provide targeted treatment to prevent periorbital puffiness.
Can eye bags be a sign of a more serious medical condition?
Can lack of sleep alone cause permanent eye bags?
Can excessive use of eye creams or serums worsen eye bags?
Using really natural eye creams or serums in moderation is unlikely to worsen eye bags. However, excessive use of certain products or ingredients might cause skin irritation or sensitivity, which could indirectly lead to increased puffiness. It's best to follow the recommended usage guidelines and discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur.
Are there any specific dietary changes that can help prevent eye bags?
A diet low in sodium can help reduce water retention, which can contribute to under-eye puffiness. Additionally, incorporating foods rich in antioxidants and nutrients, such as fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, can support skin health and reduce inflammation.
Can the use of contraceptive pills cause eye bags?
There is no direct scientific evidence linking the use of contraceptive pills to the development of eye bags (periorbital puffiness).