Eye bags—i.e. those saggy pouches underneath your lower eyelid—are often mentioned in people’s top 10 concerns. We always notice issues around the eyes first, like dark circles or crow’s feet, because we’ve evolved to make eye contact—both with others and with ourselves in the mirror. So what can you do about under-eye bags? Read on to find out and scroll down for answers to all the FAQs about eye bags.
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FAQ ABOUT Eye Bags
What are eye bags?
When we talk about ‘eye bags’ we mean puffiness and swelling around the eyes. Because the skin around your eyes is so thin and comparatively weak, the swelling is not only particularly visible but it also tends to hang in little pouches underneath the eyes.
What causes eye bags?
Eye bags can generally be attributed to one of three things:
- Ageing — As you get older and start losing the tug of war with gravity, the fat pads in your face descend. Combined with the loss of collagen and elastin in the skin, this results in sagging. We have little fat pads underneath our eyes, too, and these can descend into the pocket of skin that makes up the lower part of the bottom eyelid. As these pouches fill up, they sag down and come to rest on the bottom part of the eye socket (the bit called the infraorbital margin if you’re curious), gathering up into little bags.
- Fluid retention — which can just happen on its own, but can be made worse by using heavy creams in the eye area, crying, eating too much salt, sleep deprivation, too much sleep, diet, too much alcohol and smoking.
- Allergies and other diseases, which encourage you to rub your eyes, which irritates the skin and puffs it up into bags.
Do men get under-eye bags?
Yes. Eye bags are completely non-discriminatory, so there’s no dodging the draft with a Y-chromosome, I’m afraid.
Does lack of sleep cause bags under the eyes?
As you’re probably aware, a whole host of restorative and regenerative processes take place throughout your body while you sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t have time to finish doing everything on its maintenance list, resulting in symptoms with which we’re all too familiar, such as dark circles under the eyes, pallid colour and general sluggishness. One of the things the body does while you sleep is to regulate hydration and water retention levels. However, without a good 7–9 hours of sleep, you’ll end up with unregulated hydration and water retention levels, which can result in fluid pooling around the body, including under the eyes.
How do I cover under-eye bags?
It depends how bad your under-eye bags are, but the only way to cover them is with a lightweight concealer. This will disguise any shadows and discolouration in the eye bags and may make them look a bit less obvious, but it won’t get rid of them.
What is the best natural treatment for under-eye bags?
If your eye bags are the puffy varieties that are caused by fluid retention, there are a couple of things you can try. One is doing a light massage in the eye area—using the tips of your ring fingers so you don’t put too much pressure on this delicate area—to encourage blood circulation and lymphatic drainage. Follow these steps:
- Cleanse your face, apply a light eye gel or lotion, and sweep your fingers in light semi-circles around the eyes. Start at the inner corner of the eyebrow, go around the arch of the brow, then come back underneath the eyes ending up by your nose. Do half a dozen of these.
- Then use light tapping motions of your fingers beneath the eyes, working from the nose outwards. Lymph channels are really close to the surface of the skin so you don’t need to press hard, it works best if the movements are really light.
- Next, use the pads of your fingers to press really lightly over the bags, as if flushing them of liquid.
- Then use light sweeping motions with your finger pads beneath the eye, as if gently drawing excess fluid to the sides of your face.
The other thing that’s well worth trying is applying something cold. Splashing your face with cold water may help, but even more effective is to chill a pair of metal teaspoons in the fridge, then, holding the backs of the bowl of the spoon lightly against your eye bags, roll the spoons gently from the inside to the outside of the bags.
Some people like to use a jade roller on puffy eye bags, to lightly flatten them. I prefer a battery-operated device with a vibrating metal T-bar head which seems to help a bit. I apply a serum then work the device gently across the eye bags for a few minutes, to encourage puffiness to disperse.
Using skincare that supports the skin in the eye area without irritating it is important. Make sure that the product you are using around your eyes does not contain fragrance, as this is the ingredient that most commonly irritates the skin, and any irritation around the eye can quickly lead to puffiness and eye bags.
What is the best non-surgical tweakment for under-eye bags?
This really depends on what kind of under-eye bags you have. Some practitioners can work wonders with under-eye fillers to reduce the appearance of baggy eyes but if you have a problem with fluid retention in the eye area, this isn’t the right treatment for you, as adding hyaluronic acid gel, which retains water, to the area will only make the problem worse. If you have eye bags of loose skin which hangs in what doctors describe as ‘festoons’, filler can’t help much either. So it is really important to find a good practitioner who can assess your particular eye bags and discuss what treatment might work best for you.
How can I remove under-eye bags permanently?
Well, the thing that really gets rid of under-eye bags is a lower blepharoplasty, but what you’re talking about there is a surgical eye lift. That will remove any excess skin in the area, and smooth away eye bags by, if necessary, re-draping the fat pads under the eyes that are causing the bagginess. So it’s the most certain way of dealing with the issue and will give a very clear improvement but obviously it involves surgery, which is invasive and a good deal more expensive than non-surgical treatments, and requires two weeks’ recovery time afterwards.
What gets rid of under-eye bags fast?
Nothing gets rid of eye bags fast unless your eye bags are the result of a bit of temporary puffiness, say, from drinking too much alcohol the night before, in which case trying some of the home remedies I’ve described above may do the trick. There are some cosmetic products that reduce the appearance of eye bags by forming a film across the skin, which shrinks as it dries, and so can hold the skin in for a number of hours. The only one I have tried left my skin so sore when I took the product off that it gave me worse eye bags the next morning than I had started with the previous day, so I would advise caution if you are tempted to give these a go.
How can I prevent under-eye bags?
Living a healthy lifestyle – which includes getting enough sleep, eating plenty of vegetables, drinking lots of water, taking a reasonable amount of exercise — can help. So can using sunscreen every day, to reduce the speed at which the skin in the eye area becomes damaged and starts to sag. But if your genes have decided to give you eye bags, they will win, however much you try to stop them.
There are several serums designed for the eye area that contain retinol, which helps strengthen the skin. While this is a good approach, do start slowly with any retinol-based product as it’s strong stuff that the skin needs some time to get used to.
What foods cause bags under the eyes?
If you are allergic to any foods, then eating these may cause under-eye bags. Apart from this, alcohol is something that brings on puffy eye bags, the following morning, in many people. Monosodium glutamate (MSG), the flavour-enhancing additive, is another common culprit. For some people, high-salt foods prompt eye bags, too.
What dermatologist treatments are there for under-eye bags?
A dermatologist is likely to offer similar non-surgical tweakments to those mentioned above. They may also work on pinpointing any allergies that could be causing eye bags, and provide you with prescription medications to alleviate these.
Alice answers your question. Want to ask Alice a question? Pop it in here and check back in a few days for the answer.
Hello, I am 48 and really starting to look old, especially when I look at photos. What do you recommend as the most effective way to look fresher and better without Botox or filler? Is it HIFU or profound or another treatment? Or would I really need...
Hiya, TTG editor Georgia here. Dr Strawford will be best placed to answer all these questions for you once he's assessed your face and talked to you about your exact concerns. He is an expert practitioner with a great deal of experience. The tweakments you mention – HIFU, Profound (RF microneedling), toxin, and filler – all do different things that work towards making you look fresher and younger, but not in the same ways. Toxin for example won’t do anything about sagging skin but HIFU will, Profound will stimulate collagen production to tighten and plump the skin, but won’t replace lost volume in the ways filler will. So it all...
I'm having Forma at a clinic, what can I do to carry on the treatment at home? My main concern is eye bags and hooded eyes. I'm 42 not ready to go down the surgery route. Thank you 🙂
Hiya, TTG editor Georgia here. As Forma is a radiofrequency treatment that works deeper under the skin, there’s nothing you can do to – or need to do – at home, apart from following your aftercare advice. Just let it do its job and consider a maintenance treatment every year or so after your initial course.
I’m looking for solutions for under-eye wrinkles. I’m 61.
Start by using a really good eye cream which will help smooth the appearance of the wrinkles, then I'd suggest reading up on the various tweakments that can help with under-eye wrinkles, like laser and radiofrequency. Take a look at this recent Tweak of the Week video, too. You can see how much radiofrequency microneedling improved Linda Lusardi's under-eye area. Next, find a fab practitioner in your area and have a consultation with them to see what treatments they can suggest that you would be comfortable trying....
Toxin for some reason doesn’t work on me. I recently had soft fillers around the eyes and that made minimal difference. Is there any other treatment you would recommend? My practitioner can’t understand why it doesn’t work because I still have...
Hiya, editor Georgia here. It could be that you are resistant to the drug (botulinum toxin), but this is really quite rare. Manufacturer clinical trials showed that no more than 1.5% of patients develop 'neutralising antibodies', and the figures are something like 1 in 10,000 that it doesn’t work for. Usually, if the treatment doesn’t work, it can be because of the dosage (not everyone’s the same, and some people need a higher dose) or the dilution of the product. You could try another practitioner if yours perhaps isn’t quite so experienced. Toxin and fillers around the eyes will usually do different things (sometimes both are an...
I got wrinkle-relaxing injections at Christmas for crow's feet but I have now developed under-eye bags at the corners of my lower lids. Is there anything I can do? I don't want to leave the house, I'm so depressed.
I'm really sorry to hear this, it sounds like you have been given an inappropriate treatment and too big a dose of it, too. There's not much you can do except wait for the effects of the treatment to wear off. It may be that the toxin is interfering with the way the lymph system around your eyes is working, so look up online how to do a gentle lymph-drainage massage around your eyes and see if that helps to de-puff the bags.
I’m 70 and want to surgically get rid of my eye bags. Could you please tell me who you would recommend to do this? Many thanks, Joan
Hi Joan. If you find the 'search' bit on the website and put in 'oculoplastic' (or follow this link, it will come up with the eye surgeons who are listed on our practitioner register (they all offer non-surgical treatments, too).
Can you recommend a doctor in Scotland for a blepharoplasty procedure please?
The Tweakments Guide is all about non-surgical procedures. It might be worth having a consultation with one of the practitioners in your area to discuss whether there are non-surgical options that would help you, and if not, asking them for a referral to an oculoplastic surgeon whose work they recommend.
I'm 53 and have started to suffer under my eyes. The skin seems loose and is causing creases. What do you recommend or what ingredients I should aim for? Thanks
Sympathies, it's just what happens as we age, perfectly natural but not something that brings us joy. I'd start with a good quality eye cream to help hydrate and strengthen the skin, and take a look at the concerns on the site where you can look at all our specific advice for eye concerns.
Which tweakment do you recommend for under-eye wrinkles?
First, a really good eye cream to hydrate and strengthen the skin, plus a sunscreen during the day to stop those wrinkles getting worse. Then maybe a type of radiofrequency microneedling, or a heat treatment like Tixel, that can be used close to the eyes to rejuvenate the skin, or an injectable treatment like PRP to regenerate the under-eye skin and smooth out the wrinkles. Find a great practitioner in your area, book a consultation and see what they can suggest that might help you....
My eyes have changed and I really don’t know which way to go – it’s under the eye and it’s iffy and looks like a double bag. I hate it and the way I look now :(
I'm sorry to hear how you feel about the way you look. Our faces do just change as they age, and adjusting to this is a real challenge, though it's something we all need to try to do. (That may sound odd coming from someone like me, doing this job and having every tweakment that's available, but I'm under no illusions about the fact that the ageing process carries on, whatever we do/ try along the way). Having said that, cosmetic surgery may be the best answer for lower eye bags. Perhaps book in for a consultation with one of the oculoplastic surgeons listed on our practitioner finder, who also offer non-surgical treatments – that way,...
Do you know of an eye surgeon in Scotland that could treat my hooded eyelids? If malar bags could be addressed too, that would be even better.
Hiya, TTG editor Georgia here answering on Alice's behalf. I'd advise first having a consultation with one of the many great non-surgical practitioners in Scotland before deciding to definitely go down the surgical route. If you look on our practitioner page, you can put in your postcode and find out who is nearby that Alice and I trust to advise you well. If you would in fact be better off with surgery (which is often the case with hooded lids and eye bags), they will be able to refer you onwards to a surgeon.
Hello, I’m based in Scotland and am really bothered by my eye bags. Are there any excellent practitioners that you would recommend going to see in Edinburgh? I’m not sure if I need to go down surgical or tweakments route. Thank you
Hi, there are some great tweakment practitioners in Scotland who are listed on my register of people I'd trust with my face - if you look on the practitioner page, you can put in your postcode and find out who is nearby. If you would be better off with surgery (which is often the case with eye bags), they will be able to refer you onwards to a surgeon.
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