Are under-eye bags and dark circles making you look tired or older than you are? You’re not alone. Under-eye flaws become increasingly common as we age.
Sometimes the causes are out of our control.
They might be something you inherited. Dark circles are genetic, and pigmentation irregularities that cause under-eye discoloration are particularly common among patients with ethnic skin.
Or they might be the result of allergies or nasal congestion, which can dilate and darken the veins that drain from your eyes to your nose.
The aging process can cause bags and dark circles, too.
As we age, the tissues around the eyes, including some of the muscles supporting the eyelids, weaken and the fat that normally helps support the eyes can migrate into the lower eyelids, causing them to appear puffy. Fluid also can accumulate in the space below the eyes, adding to a swollen appearance.
Thinning skin around the eyes can make the reddish-blue blood vessels that lie below more obvious. And collagen loss in that area exposes the orbital bone, creating a hollow trough that appears as a dark circle.
Other times, however, the causes are completely preventable.
A salty dinner or a night of crying can lead to under-eye puffiness. Everyday habits, such as rubbing your eyes, smoking and excessive drinking, also can contribute to under-eye bags. And too much sun exposure can prompts the body to produce more melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color, causing or worsening dark circles.
10 steps for banishing the bags and brightening your eyes.
You can’t always eliminate these imperfections, but you can minimize them, depending on their cause. Here are some tips:
- Stay hydrated. The area under the eye is extremely susceptible to dehydration. Drinking enough water can do wonders for under-eye skin.
- Cut back on alcohol, caffeine and salt. Alcohol and caffeine cause dehydration, making dark circles more obvious. Salt can cause you to retain excess body fluid, causing puffy skin and under-eye bags.
- Get enough sleep. Although lack of sleep doesn’t usually cause under-eye circles, it does make you paler and more hollow-eyed, so shadows and circles are more obvious.
- Use a cold compress. To temporarily reduce dilated under-eye blood vessels that cause puffiness, try a cold compress, two chilled teaspoons or a bag of frozen peas.
- Elevate your head. To prevent puffiness that develops when fluid pools in your lower eyelids, elevate your head with two or more pillows.
- Use high quality products. To keep under-eye skin hydrated, apply a good hydrating eye cream morning and night. A good concealer under your makeup can help camouflage dark circles and topical bleaching cream may help lighten the under-eye skin.
- Restore volume. If dark circles are the result of volume loss, a dermal filler, such as Juvederm or Restylane can improve the area. Fillers lift the skin and prevent light from accumulating in the hollows with no very little downtime.
- Reduce wrinkles. To soften crow’s feet around the eyes, Botox works best by relaxing the muscles that create the wrinkles. It can also be used to lift the brows and refresh the eye area.
- Improve skin tone. To improve skin tone around the eyes, try laser resurfacing. While this can be an effective treatment, it does involve significant downtime.
- Evaluate surgery. If you have excess skin or fat deposits under the eye, you may need lower eyelid surgery, called a blepharoplasty, to remove it. To see if you’re a good candidate, talk to your health care provider.