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A women rubbing underneath her eyes with both hands.

Do You Have Bags Under Your Eyes? Here’s How to Treat Them

What Causes Bags Under Your Eyes?

On occasion, you might look in the minor in the morning to find bags under your eyes. Having puffiness under the eye or eye bags is very common. Although eye bags usually do not cause any medical issues or interfere with vision, they can make you look tired and possibly older. Learning more about what causes bags under your eyes can help you learn ways to treat and prevent them.

Symptoms of Eye Bags

Under-eye bags are usually an accumulation of fluid. When the cause is fluid settling under the eye, symptoms typically come and go. In other cases, an accumulation of fat under the eye may cause an eye bag. If a fat pad is causing the under eyes to look puffy, it may be a consistent problem. 

In some instances, an eye bag is neither an accumulation of fat or fluid. Instead, it is a change in the skin, which causes it to sag, creating the “bag.” 

Symptoms of eye bags may include the following: 

  • Swelling under the eye
  • Dark circles 
  • Sagging or loose skin 

What Causes Eye Bags?

Several things can lead to puffiness or eye bags. Consider the following causes: 

Allergies

You produce a chemical called histamine when you have an allergic reaction. Histamine causes an inflammatory response that leads to typical allergy symptoms. Histamine can also cause the small blood vessels under the eyes to leak fluid, which leads to bags under the eyes.  

Sleep Position

When you sleep, fluid may settle in certain areas, including the tissues under the eyes. You may be more likely to wake up with bags under your eyes if you sleep on your stomach. 

Aging

As we age, the skin under the eyes can lose some of its elasticity. The muscles under the eyes that hold up the skin may also weaken. Collagen also decreases, which contributes to sagging skin. The combination of the above can make the skin under the eye sag and create a bubble-like bulge or eye bag.

Too Much Salt

Eating foods that are high in salt may cause you to retain more water. That increased fluid retention may accumulate under the eyes. 

Heredity

Similar to many traits, you may be more likely to develop eye bags if it runs in your family. For example, if your dad has eye bags, it may increase your chances. 

Treatment Options

In most cases, bags under the eyes do not cause any problems that require treatment. But for cosmetic purposes, many of us want to decrease puffiness. The best treatment may depend on what causes the bags under your eyes. 

Mild bags under the eyes are often treatable with home remedies. Cosmetic procedures are also an option. Consider the following treatments: 

Cold Compress

Cold reduces inflammation and decreases blood flow to the area, which may decrease puffiness. Apply a cold washcloth for about 10 minutes in the morning. Various types of cool gel pads are also available for under the eyes. 

Caffeine Eye Cream

There is no shortage of eye creams on the market that claim to decrease under-eye bags. An eye cream will not replace lost volume, but it may temporarily tighten skin and make it appear less puffy. Consider using an eye cream that contains caffeine, which constricts blood vessels. 

Allergy Medication

If allergies are causing under-eye bags, use an antihistamine to combat symptoms and undereye puffiness.  

Filler

In some cases, a loss of volume under the eye creates a hollow area. The skin under the hollow area may appear puffy, which creates the look of an eye bag. Filler, which usually contains hyaluronic acid, is placed where the cheek meets the under-eye. The filler creates a smooth transition under the eyes, which reduces the look of bags. 

Blepharoplasty

If eye bags are due to fat pads, surgery may be an option. Blepharoplasty is a surgical procedure that involves removing the excess skin under the eye. This tightens the area and decreases the eye bag. 

How to Prevent Them 

You may not be able to control all risk factors for eye bags, such as aging and genetics. But there are some things you can do to prevent bags under your eyes, such as the following:

  • Limit salt: Decreasing salt may help reduce fluid retention and puffiness under the eyes. 
  • Sleep with your head slightly elevated: Elevating your head when you sleep may prevent fluid from pooling under the eyes. Try sleeping with a few pillows under your head. 
  • Avoid allergens: Try to identify your allergens. Reducing exposure to allergens may decrease allergy symptoms, including under-eye puffiness and bags.  
  • Skip the alcohol: Drinking too much alcohol can lead to dehydration. When your body does not get enough fluids or becomes dehydrated, it hangs on to all the water it can. This can lead to fluid retention and under-eye bags. 

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