Bags under your eyes are usually a cosmetic concern, rather than a medical problem. Symptoms of bags under eyes may include swelling, loose skin, and dark circles in the affected area.
Older adults may be more prone to developing bags under their eyes. As you age, the muscles and tissues near your eyes weaken, which can cause sagging. Fluid may build up in the area below your eyes, as well, which can also cause swelling.
Bags under your eyes may also be caused by:
- Fluid gathering in your under-eye area
- Heredity, especially if bags under eyes may run in your family
- Poor sleep habits
When bags under eyes are puffy, the cause could be water retention due to eating meals with high levels of salt. Inflammation or congestion due to an allergic reaction may also be the reason for very visible bags under the eyes.
Remedies and Treatments for Bags Under Eyes
Most home remedies for bags under eyes are focused on lessening their puffy or swollen appearance.
Putting caffeinated tea bags under your eyes might help your under-eye bags. Caffeine decreases blood flow to the skin, helping your blood vessels tighten. The vasoconstriction or tightening decreases puffiness and darkening of the skin. However, one study found that it was the cooling effect of the tea bags, rather than the caffeine, that helped reduce eye puffiness.
To use caffeinate tea to help make bags under eyes go away, first brew the tea — and then chill the tea bags. Once they’re cold, place the tea bags under your eyes for 15 to 30 minutes. Green or black tea is best, as they have anti-inflammatory qualities that may also reduce swelling.
Similarly, a cold compress works like tea bags to constrict your blood vessels, helping to lessen the appearance of baggy eyes. Before placing the compress under the eye, make sure the compress is not too cold or wrap it in a towel. Place the compress under your eyes for only a few minutes.
Lastly, retinoids — substances containing vitamin A — can help decrease dark circles and sagging skin. Retinoids increase collagen, a protein that works to keep your skin tight and avoid wrinkles. Retinoids also decrease melanin production. Melanin is natural pigmentation which may increase dark spots on your skin.
Over-the-counter retinoids can be found in cream and gel form. Talk to your doctor for more information. Do not use retinol if you’re pregnant.
There are several steps you can take to help avoid bags under your eyes.
Eating collagen-rich foods can help prevent sagging near the eyes. Foods high in collagen include beef, chicken, fish, beans, eggs, and other dairy products.
Make sure you get enough sleep. Doctors recommend that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Sleeping with your head raised may also help stop fluid from building up under your eyes, which will help avoid swelling.
In addition, avoid high levels of salt in your diet. The American Heart Association recommends that adults eat no more than 1,500 milligrams of salt per day. Also, make sure you are drinking plenty of water.
Finally, your puffy under-eye bags might be caused by allergies. Talk to your doctor about allergy medication.
When to See a Doctor
Bags under eyes are usually harmless. If the swelling is severe, painful, itchy, or lasts a long time, see your doctor. A health care professional will want to make sure that the swelling is not due to a medical problem like severe infection or an unknown allergy.
More invasive remedies for under-eye bags are available. These include fillers, chemical peels, and possibly eyelid surgery. Consult your doctor when considering these options.