Do you seem to frequently experience under-eye bags and dark circles under your eyes, but have not yet quite figured out how to get rid of them?
While there are many options out there, you need to first identify the cause of the issue before picking a solution, and then, once you do, you will need to put a few prevention steps into place.
What Are Under-Eye Bags?
To begin with, you need to first understand exactly what under-eye bags are…
It all basically comes down to fluid retention, which is when excess water gets stored in the skin tissue beneath your eyes.
However, while this may be the case, there are actually a number of different factors that can cause this fluid retention to occur…
Lack of Sleep
It is common knowledge that a lack of sleep can lead to bags underneath the eyes, but do you know why this is?
While you are asleep, your circulatory system flushes out excess fluids, meaning that, if you do not get enough sleep, it is not able to adequately do this.
This then causes the excess fluid to gather in the tissue underneath the eyes, creating bags.
In addition to causing under-eye bags, a lack of sleep can also lead to dark circles beneath the eyes.
Sleep deprivation causes your eyes to dilate, which creates a darker tint in the area. Since the skin around your eyes is quite thin, this can often show up as dark circles.
So, how much sleep do you need to prevent all of this from happening?
While aging may be inevitable, this is something that so many people dread, because it causes a number of changes within the body, one of which is bags underneath the eyes.
How does this happen?
Well, everyone’s faces contain fat, and these are held in place by muscles and ligaments. However, as the body ages, these muscles and ligaments begin to weaken, meaning that the pockets of fat that used to be held in place are now able to slip out from the membrane that is meant to keep them together.
This misplacement of fat is what leads to under-eye bags, as the fat ends up gathering underneath the eyes.
However, there are other possible factors behind this too…
Scientists have recently begun to theorize that the amount of fat that is stored beneath the eyes actually increases with age, which naturally causes bags to then form.
What about dark circles?
Age has an effect on these too, and this is down to the declining collagen levels that your body will experience as it grows older.
Collagen is one of the building blocks of your skin’s structure, meaning that a loss of this will soon lead to a loss of elasticity and firmness, as well as reduced skin thickness.
Since the skin under your eyes is already quite thin, extra thinning in this area means that the blood vessels that lie beneath are now much more visible, and show up as dark circles underneath the eyes.
A High Sodium Diet
While you may think that your diet is relatively balanced, the majority of processed foods today contain high amounts of sodium. Even foods that are meant to be somewhat healthy can contain surprisingly high levels of sodium.
An example of this is a half-cup serving of standard cottage cheese, which actually contains almost 20% of your recommended daily intake of sodium.
Wondering why this matters?
A high-sodium diet will cause your body to retain water in places that it should not, with one of these places being underneath your eyes. The reason for this is because salt is dehydrating to the body, and this triggers the body to hold on to whatever water it already contains, to avoid further dehydration.
So, how much salt should you be consuming on a daily basis?
Dietary guidelines state that the average adult should consume no more than 2300 mg of sodium in one day, which is equivalent to about one teaspoon, although this figure drops down to 1500 mg if you are older than 50, or if you suffer from diabetes or high blood pressure.
Currently, only about 15% of the population meets these recommendations, with everyone else exceeding it, so this could very well be the reason behind your under-eye bags.
Shampoo, Conditioner and Cleanser Residue
After you have washed your hair, or cleansed your face, it is extremely important that you rinse away any residue that your products have left behind.
Failing to do so can lead to eyelid dermatitis, which is basically inflammation that eventually causes under-eye bags.
How does this happen?
The residue from your products ends up getting trapped in the folds of your eyelids, not only causing irritation and inflammation, but also accelerating the aging process.
However, as important as it may be to rinse away all of this residue, there is one thing that you should not forget…
The skin on your face, especially around your eyes, is so delicate, so you need to take quite a bit of care when cleaning your face. Puling at your skin too harshly can damage it, and lead to a whole host of other issues.
Smoking can lead to a number of different health problems, some of which are directly related to the skin.
To begin with, smoking breaks down your body’s collagen production, while destroying healthy skin cells, which means that the aging process is accelerated and wrinkles and fine lines will begin to appear much quicker.
In order to prevent subsequent dehydration, the body begins to retain water, which leads to the formation of bags underneath the eyes.
As mentioned above, a lack of sleep can also cause eye bags, and smoking has been linked to sleep deprivation.
Well, while a smoker is sleeping, their body experiences nicotine withdrawal, which results in a poorer night’s sleep, exacerbating the eye bags.
Allergies are another common cause of bags underneath the eyes, as well as swelling and general puffiness in this area.
Each time your body suffers an allergic reaction, it releases histamines, which are chemicals that cause the eyes to swell up.
The allergens that you have come into contact with can also speed up the rate at which fluid is retained underneath the eyes, causing the skin here to bulge out even more.
The histamines that are released can also cause dark circles, as they cause inflammation in the blood vessels under the eyes, meaning that they become much more visible.
Rapid Weight Loss
While a slow and steady weight loss rate should not lead to too many changes within your skin, rapid weight loss can definitely have quite an effect.
When your body loses weight quickly, this causes a loss of volume in the cheeks, which means that there is no longer a smooth transition from underneath the eye to your cheek.
This makes the under-eye area appear much more bulged out, causing the appearance of bags.
With all of the above-mentioned causes of eye bags, there are steps that can be taken when it comes to prevention.
However, there is one cause that, unfortunately, you cannot do much about…
This is genetics, as eye bags, as well as dark circles, can often be hereditary.
How can you tell?
Take a look at your parents, and even your grandparents, digging out old photos if they are no longer around. If they also experienced eye bags or dark circles throughout their lives, then it is likely to be in your DNA, which is something that you cannot change.
However, no matter what the cause of your eye bags may be, there are still several steps that you can take to treat them…
Frozen Tea Bags
Placing frozen tea bags, cucumber slices or even a frozen spoon, over the eyes is a common way to treat eye bags, as well as dark circles.
But, does this actually work?
The answer is yes, as they induce vasoconstriction, which means that the blood vessels underneath your eyes are reduced in size, minimizing any darkness or puffiness.
With eye bags primarily being caused by water retention, increasing the amount of water that you drink may seem counter-intuitive, but it can actually significantly help.
Your body retains water when it is trying to prevent itself from becoming dehydrated. In order to stop it from doing this, you need to keep your body well-hydrated throughout the day, as this will then regulate the way in which it is able to flush out excess fluids.
How much water should you be drinking?
There is no single solid answer for this, as it varies from individual to individual. However, these are some rough guidelines that you can follow:
- Men – 3.7 litres of fluids a day, equivalent to 15.5 cups
- Women – 2.7 litres of fluids a day, equivalent to 11.5 cups
But, don’t forget…
Your fluid intake does not need to come from water alone. Eating plenty of moisture-rich fruits and vegetables, as well as drinking antioxidant-filled herbal teas, can also contribute to your water intake, and will benefit your skin in many other ways too.
As mentioned above, sleep deprivation can be one of the causes of under-eye bags, but the way in which you sleep can also have an effect.
Try adding an extra pillow or two to your bed, so that you sleep with your head slightly raised. You could also try propping up the top end of your mattress.
How does this help?
Elevating your head helps to prevent any excess fluids from accumulating around your eyes while you sleep.
When it comes to sleep deprivation, there are now several sleep apps that you can download to help you with this. These will track your sleeping patterns and provide you with tips on how you can improve your quality of sleep.
Also known as eyelid surgery, blepharoplasty can significantly clear away bags underneath the eyes, and although it may be more invasive than home remedies, it is commonly carried out as an outpatient procedure.
Here’s an example of the results of blepharoplasty:
Here is how it works:
- The surgeon will make an incision just below your eye lashes, in your eye’s natural crease, or inside your lower eyelid
- Excess fat, muscle and sagging skin will then be redistributed evenly around your face
- The skin will then be rejoined using dissolving stitches along your eyelid’s natural crease
While this may seem like an easy option to clear away eye bags, it does come with a few side effects, from dry eyes to infections, so make sure that you speak to your doctor in-depth about the procedure before making your decision.
Preventing Under-Eye Bags From Forming
As you can see from reading through the most common causes of eye bags, many of these are actually quite preventable.
Here are a few steps that you can take to keep eye bags from forming:
- Ensure that you are getting sufficient sleep
- Stay away from dehydrating foods, such as salt, white sugar and alcohol, as these encourage fluid retention
- Consider medication if you suffer from frequent allergies
- Keep eye creams and other products in the fridge, so that the coolness will soothe any puffiness
- Invest in anti-aging products that can help to firm and thicken the skin around the eyes
- Take steps to quit smoking
Under-Eye bags can be extremely frustrating to deal with, but, unless you are able to pin-point the exact cause of yours, you will not be able to find the most effective solution. This makes it worth spending a bit of time keeping track of when your eye bags form, as a pattern will soon emerge, helping you to treat the issue at its root cause.