Under eye bags can make us look tired, swollen, and aged. They are a common problem, especially as we age, but there is some help.
Fluid vs. Fat
- Fat: As we age, fat herniates, or bulges, in the under eye area. This is the under eye bag that never goes away and tends to occur with age. Sun damage and years of using harsh chemicals, like eye makeup remover, will cause the skin under your eye skin to become loose and the underlying collagen to weaken.
- Fluid: Fluid has a tendency to collect around your eyes. Lack of sleep, allergies, or illness will allow that fluid to collect under the eyes and it will usually start decreasing as we are upright throughout the day. This type of under eye bag is not always present and is worse after certain triggers like excessive alcohol, crying, or allergies.
For fat pads, there is really only one treatment, blepharoplasty. This is usually performed by a plastic or ocular surgeon where they remove the excess fat that has herniated.
For fluid, there are more options. First, you should understand that there is no way you will get complete, immediate, and permanent results. I don’t care what the skin care companies say, those products can only do so much. But still, there are some simple steps to help diminish and prevent those bags.
- Sleep with your head slightly elevated. This allows gravity to take effect and the fluid will drain out of your face.
- Decongestants and antihistamines for allergies. Personally, my allergies require an intranasal steroid. I take it every night to help with allergies and my underage bags. If my allergies are really bad and I wake up with puffy eyes, I also take an antihistamine, like Allegra or Claritin.
- Under eye creams that target puffiness. Used alone, they don’t do too much. But combine with other methods I have listed and you can make some real progress. I have tried them all and I am not that impressed with many. Currently I am using It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Cream. Make sure you don’t apply eye cream in a way that could worsen your bags!
- Refrigerate your eye cream. The coolness will help get the fluid out and constrict those small vessels around your eyes.
- Wear an eye-cooling mask that you keep in your fridge. I apply my eye cream in the morning and then immediately put on my batman mask for about 15 minutes. This is a better version of keeping a cool compress on your eyes. I initially tried keeping my mask in the freezer but it made it too cold for comfort.
Some other things to keep in mind:
- Wear SPF and sunglasses! Your eye area is very thin and sensitive and very prone to damage. Sun-exposure is only going to age your eyes faster.
- Tobacco and alcohol will increase your eye bags so quit smoking and don’t drink to excess.
- Get plenty of sleep. Being tired causes the bags and dark circles to become more prominent.
- Be very careful with eye products. Do not wipe off makeup with strong chemicals and be kind when wiping that are.
- Avoid hemorrhoid cream. Ok yes, it will give you instant results. But the ingredient that does so, benzocaine, is drying. It is effective because it causes your vessels to constrict, but so does the cold compress. You are doing more long-term damage and will likely end up with fat herniation there later in life.