Bags under the eyes are commonly caused by genetics or age, but they can also be caused by irritation, lack of sleep, too much salt, allergies, or illness. (Learn More)
There are numerous home remedies to ease bags under your eyes, and medical researchers are starting to investigate the scientific reasons many of these work. (Learn More)
If you have bags under your eyes because of age or genetics, cosmetic treatment or surgery can remove some of the problems. (Learn More) If the bags under your eyes appear quickly and get worse soon, there may be an underlying condition. Work with your doctor to determine the underlying cause. (Learn More)
Where Did the Bags Under Your Eyes Come From?
You may be developing bags under your eyes as you get older, or you may have had this issue for much of your life. Everyone has a different texture and elasticity to the skin around their eyes, and some people are more susceptible to these undereye bags.
It can be frustrating to try to hide this problem. Makeup, moisturizers, and creams only do so much. You want to get rid of these undereye bags for at least several days, if not permanently.
It is totally normal to have bags under your eyes, especially as you get older. Your skin naturally begins to lose some of its elasticity, and the tissue will weaken and sag. As that skin becomes thinner, it may also become more translucent, making it darker in color as the blood vessels are slightly exposed.
You can also develop bags under your eyes because you did not sleep well, you have allergies or another illness, you ate too much salty food, or you inherited the problem.
If bags appear because of genetics or aging, home remedies may briefly help their appearance, but they will not go away. When you develop bags under your eyes for a temporary reason like sleep loss or illness, there are some good home remedies that can ease the problem.
Home Remedies to Ease Bags Under Your Eyes
There are several home remedies that can treat bags under your eyes. These can be helpful, depending on the cause of the bags.
- Cool compress: A washcloth that has been wet under cold water, an ice compress, or a specifically designed cold compress can be applied to your closed eyes, emphasizing the area underneath. Keep the compress there for one to two minutes. Then, remove it to let your skin rest.
Cold compresses reduce swelling. If the cause of the bags under your eyes is inflammation from irritation, like lack of sleep or high stress, these compresses can help.
- A good skincare routine: If you have bags under your eyes much of the time, you may already wear makeup to conceal them. Be sure to wash your makeup off with a gentle, perfume-free soap at night. Sleeping in makeup can make the particles rub against your skin and irritate the area, which increases how prominent the bags under your eyes are.
- Cucumber: You have seen cucumber slices over a person’s eyes in photos or videos to indicate that the person is at a spa. Cucumber has some advantages for alleviating bags under your eyes.
Cucumber has high water content and can be kept cold, so it works to hydrate your skin and reduce swelling. Vitamin C in cucumber may also be absorbed through your skin and reduce puffiness. Finally, cucumber contains silica, which is a component of healthy, high-elasticity skin.
- Tea bags: Applying wet caffeinated tea bags can reduce the bags under your eyes. Caffeine has antioxidant properties and stimulates blood circulation, which can reduce puffiness around your eyes.
- Vitamin-rich eye treatments: A study examined the effectiveness of specifically designed eye treatments. The researchers created a pad for the eye containing about 3 percent caffeine and 1 percent vitamin K. After 11 subjects applied these pads to one eye for four weeks, researchers noticed a reduction in bags under the eyes.
Another study found that herbal moisturizers had a similar effect. Researchers examined the effectiveness of 20 commercially available herbal moisturizers in 40 volunteers. They found that, over three weeks, the treated eyes consistently had smaller bags underneath compared to the untreated eyes.
- Head elevation: When you sleep, keep your head slightly elevated on a higher pillow, as long as it is safe and comfortable for your body. If you retain fluid in your lower eyelids or underneath your eyes, this can help the fluid drain.
- A healthy diet: Eat less processed food, less fast food, and fewer salty snacks. Generally, try to reduce the sodium you consume. Since salt causes your body to inflame and retain fluids, lowering how much salt you take in can help your body feel less puffy or bloated overall.
- Sufficient sleep: Everyone loses sleep once in a while, but if you regularly lose sleep or struggle to keep a consistent bedtime, do your best to use sleep hygiene. If needed, work with your doctor.
You may have chronic insomnia, drink too much caffeine, or fail to go to bed consistently. Adjusting your evening routine so you have a soothing drink like chamomile tea, remove lights from your room, and go to bed at the same time every night can help you suffer fewer bouts of insomnia so you get high-quality sleep.
- Allergy treatment: If you are allergic to something avoidable, like pet hair or grass, do what you can to avoid it. Taking medication to ease allergy symptoms can also help. Over-the-counter antihistamines are effective for managing mild to moderate allergies. If you suffer bad symptoms that limit your ability to move through the world, work with your doctor for a prescription.
Since your allergies cause a strong histamine reaction, and your body swells in response, treating your allergies will reduce swelling, including under your eyes.
Other Treatments for Bags Under Your Eyes
For those whose undereye bags are due to age or genetics, more serious treatments can help to alleviate their appearance for months or years. Some common approaches include:
- Cosmetic procedures. Common cosmetic procedures include chemical peels, laser resurfacing, and fillers. These tighten the skin, remove damaged layers, and improve the tone.
However, they will not permanently remove these bags. They will just reduce their puffiness for several months. You’ll need to continue to receive these treatments on a regular basis to reap their benefits.
- Surgery. If you truly want to be rid of the bags under your eyes, you can ask your ophthalmologist about blepharoplasty. This is a surgery designed to repair the puffiness or bagginess of your under-eyelids.
The surgeon creates an incision that removes excess fat, which is a genetic cause of bags under the eyes. Some excess skin may be removed as well if part of the cause is age. If you have puffy upper eyelids, blepharoplasty can also remove some of the excess fat or skin there.
Medical Reasons for Bags Under Your Eyes
Many people have bags under their eyes, and these are likely to become more prominent as they get older. Perhaps you choose to manage these with home remedies, which can be soothing. Perhaps you manage them with cosmetic treatments or surgery, which are generally safe and often effective for months.
If you do not have bags under your eyes normally, but they appear and quickly get worse, talk to your doctor. This could indicate an underlying health condition that needs different treatment. You could have an infection in or around your eyes, for example, which requires antibiotics rather than eye creams. If you have an inflammatory autoimmune condition, you may need treatment with corticosteroids. Your doctor will be able to assess the best treatment for your condition.
Overall, home remedies for bags under the eyes can be effective if your undereye bags are caused by a temporary condition, like lack of sleep, allergies, or salt intake. If your undereye bags are due to a genetic issue or age, cosmetic procedures or surgery will give you the best results.
Bags Under the Eyes. (November 2018). American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).
What Causes Bags and Dark Circles Under Eyes? (July 2018). Cigna.
What Causes Dark Circles Under the Eyes? (August 2019). Medical News Today.
Phytochemical and Therapeutic Potential of Cucumber. (January 2013). Fitoterapia.
Evaluation of the Clinical Efficacy and Safety of an Eye Counter Pad Containing Caffeine and Vitamin K in Emulsified Emu Oil Base. (January 2015). Advanced Biomedical Research.
Assessment of Viscoelasticity and Hydration Effect of Herbal Moisturizers Using Bioengineering Techniques. (October 2010). Pharmacognosy Magazine.