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How to Get Rid of Under-Eye Bags Fast? (Professional Guide)

FAST FACTS

  • Several factors can cause eyes to look puffy and swollen. Most of them are related to lifestyle choices and anatomical features, but also aging and some medical conditions can be involved.
  • Eye bags caused by lifestyle factors are easier to tackle, so getting rid of them just by following some at-home treatments is possible.

Not all eye bags develop equally, meaning that they can’t be treated all in the same manner. In this article, we will explore some of the causes of under-eye bags and how to remove fast those that can be treated at home.

What causes under-eye bags?

The eyelid skin is the thinnest in the face [1], the reason why even slight changes in its structure can be very noticeable. Eye bags can appear for numerous reasons, which can be classified as follows:

1. Eye anatomy: anatomical features may be responsible for some eye bags, and this can be due to genetics . The facial bone and ligament structures can contribute to making the under-eye fat pads more prominent and visible [1], creating the appearance of a “bag” under the eye.

2. Fluid build-up: in some cases, the lower eyelid tissues may increase their tendency to retain fluid, becoming more swollen and puffier which is often worse after a salty meal or in the morning due to a lack of sleep and tiredness , but also due to allergies and some medical conditions [1][2].

3. Aging: with age, the tissue holding the under-eye fat loosens and eye bags become more prominent. The loss of collagen can make the skin and underlying muscles lose their firmness, and fat pads move forward, leading to skin sagging [2]. UV light can further contribute to the skin photoaging process.

4. Dehydration: alcohol intake for instance is known to dehydrate the skin, which causes the eyelid to thin even more and the subjacent structures (such as the eye muscle, fat, and the vascular network) to be more evident, enhancing the appearance of dark circles .

Moreover, any discolored skin or shadows under the eyes may cause the eye bags to look even more prominent [2].

How to get rid of under-eye bags fast?

First and foremost, if the bags under your eyes are always present or getting worse with time, chances are that anatomy (due to genetics or aging structural changes), or even a medical condition are involved. If that’s the case, we advise you to reach out to a doctor to better understand your specific case, and the proper approach to follow for their improvement.

Now, if those eye bags appear due to fluid retention provoked by stress, fatigue, lack of sleep, or after eating a salty meal the previous night, here you will find some ways to help depuff those eyes.

Let’s explore.

1. APPLY A COLD COMPRESS

The American Academy of Ophthalmology [3] advises the use of cold compress as an easy and quick way to treat puffy eyes at home.

The cold causes the blood vessels to shrink so the amount of fluid retained in the area decreases, reducing the swelling. For this, you just need to apply a cold gel eye mask or wet a clean washcloth with cold water and apply it around the eyes for a few minutes, while sitting upright.

You can also vary this technique a bit and try these different options, always involving cold therapy:

  • Apply cold spoons:

This easy way to depuff eye bags is also recommended by specialists. You just need to place two metal spoons in cold water or directly in the fridge for a few minutes and apply them carefully to the under-eye area.

  • Use a facial roller:

Place a facial roller in the fridge for a few minutes, then massage the area starting at the inner corner of the eye and working outward along the eyebrow to stimulate blood flow and fluid drainage.

  • Try some cold eye patches.

If you are an eye patch user, you can even put some in the fridge and chill them to combine the cold therapy with their cosmetic effects.

Caution! Never place the mentioned objects in the freezer. Applying frozen objects or even ice in direct contact with the skin can burn and damage it severely.

2. TRY COLD TEA BAGS (CAFFEINATED)

A DIY trick you can try is applying cold tea bags to depuff your eyes. Green and black tea contain caffeine, which topically may act as a vasoconstrictor, shrinking the blood vessels and reducing the swelling in the eye area [1]. They also contain antioxidants such as polyphenols that may exert anti-inflammatory effects [4].

Although there is no scientific evidence to prove that the application of tea bags delivers to the skin the active substances necessary to achieve these biological effects, it is worth a try, since when applied cold they can have the same anti-inflammatory effects as a cold compress.

To do this simply place two tea bags in hot water for 5 minutes, then leave them in the fridge for 20-30 minutes, squeeze them to remove excess liquid, and apply them with your eyes closed for 15-30 minutes. Then remove them and wash your face with cold water.

3. APPLY DEPUFFING EYE PRODUCTS

To obtain the “depuffing” benefits of caffeine you can use eye products rich in this active ingredient. Topically applied, caffeine may stimulate blood circulation around the eyes and accelerate the flow of blood, which makes the eyelid skin appear fresh and revitalized [4].

You can benefit from applying eye serums, patches, creams, and gels with caffeine in them.

One example is The Ordinary Caffeine 5% + EGCG Depuffing Eye Serum.

4. USE A SKIN-TIGHTENING EYE CREAM

One way to instantly improve the appearance of some eye bags (even some caused by aging) is by applying eye creams that can instantly “tighten up” the skin. They won’t remove your eye bags, but they can help to optically improve their appearance for an instant (and temporary) fix.

How does it work? Thanks to mineral ingredients that act as optical diffusers (such as silica derivatives) that can fill the depressions in the skin architecture of the eye bags, reflecting and diffusing light away from the skin, resulting in an optically smooth surface. [1].

One example is the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Bags Daytime Treatment for Eye Bags, Puffiness, and Crepey Skin.

The pros? In just a few minutes, after letting it dry, the skin may look smoother and with fewer eye bags. They may even work in some moderate to severe eye bags.

The cons? Some of these eye creams can leave a white cast or cause eye irritation or contact dermatitis, so be aware if you have eye sensitivity. Also, it may not work for all types of eye bags.

5. HAVE GOOD QUALITY SLEEP

Beauty sleep is real, and one of its many benefits is to help in the reduction of dark circles and eye bags. While we sleep, our bodies enter a restorative process to maintain the skin healthy, plump, and firm. The increased blood flow rate at night, as well as the anti-inflammatory effects of melatonin [6], are factors that can help depuff the eyes.

Lack of sleep has been shown to decrease skin hydration, firmness, and elasticity [7], negative changes that are more evident in the eyelids due to thinner skin.

What’s recommended? Having good quality sleep for 7-9 hours each night is key to reducing and preventing eye bags. Elevate your head while sleeping to further improve circulation and prevent the accumulation of fluids in the eye area.

How To Prevent Eye Bags?

It’s said that prevention is better than cure. Based on the different causes mentioned, here are some useful tips that can help you prevent baggy eyes:

  • Decrease your salty and processed food intake : salt is known to retain fluid, particularly around your eyes. Include healthy cooking habits in your routine.
  • Decrease alcohol intake , to avoid dehydrating your skin.
  • Treat your allergies to avoid fluid build-up and itchiness around the eyes. Consult your doctor to get the best treatment according to your case.
  • Wear sunscreen daily and sunglasses to protect your skin from the negative effects of UV light (collagen degradation, firmness loss, pigmentation, etc.).
  • Apply eye products with moisturizing, antiaging, and/or lightening actives , to keep the hydration and firmness of the eyelids and a brighter complexion. Some of these ingredients include popular vitamin ingredients (retinol, vitamin C, and niacinamide), bakuchiol , ceramides, squalane, and peptides.
  • Keeping yourself hydrated by drinking enough water during the day is important.

THE TAKEAWAY

Generally, under-eye bags are easy to treat at home when they appear due to temporary swelling of the eyelids caused by lack of sleep, fatigue, or salty meals, for instance. However, when eye bags are due to anatomical factors related to genetics or aging (such as prominent or herniated fat bags), some other medical procedures (such as surgery) may be the only way to get rid of them.

REFERENCES

[1] Vrcek, I., Ozgur, O., & Nakra, T. (2016). Infraorbital dark circles: A review of the pathogenesis, evaluation, and treatment. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, 9 (2), 65. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4924417/

[2] Nilforoushzadeh, M. A., Heidari-Kharaji, M., Fakhim, T., Nobari, N. N., Torkamaniha, E., Hanifnia, A. R., & Behrangi, E. (2022). Endolift laser an effective method for the lower eye bag treatment: a case series study. Lasers in Medical Science, 37 (8), 3123–3128. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10103-022-03571-7

[3] Bags Under the Eyes. (2021, August 25). American Academy of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/bags-under-eyes

[4] Chatterjee, P., Chandra, S., Dey, P., & Bhattacharya, S. (2012). Evaluation of anti-inflammatory effects of green tea and black tea: A comparative in vitro study. Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research, 3 (2), 136. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3401676/

[5] Ahmadraji, F., & Shatalebi, M. A. (2015). Evaluation of the clinical efficacy and safety of an eye counter pad containing caffeine and vitamin K in emulsified Emu oil base. Advanced Biomedical Research, 4 (1), 10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4300604/

[6] Rusanova, I., Martinez-Ruiz, L., Florido, J., Rodríguez-Santana, C., Guerra-Librero, A., Acuña-Castroviejo, D., & Escames, G. (2019). Protective Effects of Melatonin on the Skin: Future Perspectives. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 20 (19), 4948. https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/20/19/4948

[7] Shao, L., Jiang, S., Li, Y., Shi, Y., Wang, M. P., Liu, T., Yang, S., & Ma, L. (2022). Regular Late Bedtime Significantly Affects the Skin’s Physiological Characteristics and Skin Bacterial Microbiome. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, Volume 15, 1051–1063. https://www.dovepress.com/regular-late-bedtime-significantly-affects-the-skin-physiological-char-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-CCID

Gabriela Bermudez, MSc
Hello, I am a pharmacist and cosmetic chemist with broad experience in the cosmetic industry, passionate about the science applied to all your beauty products. My purpose is to share knowledge that can add value to your daily life, covering different aspects of cosmetics, ingredients, trends, and more. I have worked in Research and Development laboratories supporting the formulation and production of skincare, haircare, and makeup products, as well as participated in research projects focused on natural extracts and bioactive ingredients for potential use in cosmetics.
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