If under-eye bags leave you looking like you’ve been out-out on the prosecco (when you were actually in bed by nine), you might want to read this…
Not-so-fun fact: The skin under your eyes is ten times thinner than any other skin on your body, which makes it more prone to swelling (caused by gathering excess fluids), and discolouration (the network of blood vessels visible through transparent skin). This is why the area is prone to puffiness and dark circles, aka eye bags.
So what actually causes bags under the eyes? Well, many factors can play a part, such as allergies, stress, fatigue, genetics and good old ageing. “As you age, your skin thins and your face loses fat,” explains Dr Daniel Ezra, Specialist ophthalmic and oculoplastic consultant, “not to mention elastin and collagen, which give skin its support and fullness.”
It could also be that your folks passed on the gift of deep-set eyes (cheers, guys), something even an industrial-strength concealer won’t disguise. “Pigmentation problems can also run in families of colour due to extra melanin in the skin,” adds Ezra.
Ok, so the big question – is it possible to get rid of under-eye bags? The answer? Yes. But it takes time. Here’s what you need to know…
1. Tackle the puffiness
Riddle me this: if sleep is so important for well-rested eyes, then why is peeper puff worse in the morning? “A good night’s sleep will stop congestion from building up in the veins and making the under-eyes appear darker,” explains Dr Thivi Maruthappu, Consultant dermatologist for the Skin Health Alliance and Olay. But when we sleep, we lie flat and don’t blink, which allows fluids to gather and settle temporarily. Try raising your head up with an extra pillow to encourage drainage and apply your eye cream using gentle sweeping motions along the orbital bone (from the inside corner to the outside) to help speed up lymph drainage. Fluid retention can also be nixed by staying hydrated, avoiding too much salt and eating potassium-rich foods (banana split, anyone?)
2. Find the right eye cream
Can applying a topical product for a few weeks blitz under-eye bags like they were never there? In a word… no. But the best eye creams often contain ingredients that help to reduce inflammation, tighten skin and support the delicate under-eye area, housed in light formulations that won’t exacerbate puffiness. “Look for active ingredients such as peptides to stimulate collagen production,” advises Thivi, “it’s the skin’s natural cushion.”
Great for anti-ageing
Olay Collagen Peptide 24 Eye Cream
Great for brightening pigmentation
Murad Vita-C Eyes Dark Circle Corrector
Great for lymph drainage
Revolution Skincare Cooling Eye Roller Ball
Great for de-puffing
Q+A Caffeine Eye Serum 15ml
3. Research professional treatments
So you want noticeable results now? Tear trough filler is a non-surgical treatment that involves injecting hyaluronic acid into specific areas around the eyes to replace lost volume. “Not everyone is a good candidate,” explains Dr Ezra, who I chose to administer my treatment. “For example, people with excess skin beneath the eyes, genetic hyperpigmentation, or a medical condition that increases their risk of complications.” It’s not for the faint-hearted – even the strong-hearted might struggle with needles so close to the eye. There are flashes of pain as the needle is inserted, but it’s over pretty quickly, and after a few days of mild bruising, the results are pretty breathtaking. Dr Ezra charges £725 for the treatment – pricey, yes, but the results can last anything from nine months to a couple of years, and I’d be wary of anyone offering the treatment for much less (always check out their credentials at gmc-uk.org).