Having bags under your eyes is a common problem that affects everyone from time to time. However, it’s still not ideal to have puffy eyelids and dark circles. Express.co.uk chatted to Lenstore’s top Optometrist, Roshni Patel, to find out what’s causing your eye bags and how to reduce them.
Bags under our eyes are rarely a result of a serious medical condition and typically a cosmetic concern.
Mild swelling or puffiness under the eyes is normally linked to lack of sleep, thanks to fluid accumulation under the eye.
While the most recognisable and familiar cause of eye bags is lack of sleep, this annoying problem can result from a wide variety of causes.
For example, it’s also very common as part of ageing.
As we grow older, the tissues around the eyes weaken. With that weakening, normal fat that usually helps support the eyes falls into the lower eyelids, resulting in a puffier look, and fluid may accumulate in the new space, which adds to the appearance of puffiness.
Other reasons why you might have bags under your eyes include fluid retention after eating a salty meal, allergies, smoking, sun exposure, eczema or a hereditary condition.
If your eye bags are caused by an underlying condition, it’s most likely to be thyroid or kidney problems or adrenal deficiency.
Some medications, particularly stimulants or long-term use of painkillers that cause adrenal fatigue, can also result in bags under the eyes.
If you are concerned about bags under your eyes, for example, if they’re painful or uncomfortable and if they persist for an unusual amount of time, consult your optometrist.
Eye bags usually either result from temporary factors or will pass on their own.
Or, they are a symptom of ageing and may be unavoidable to some extent.
However, there are some ways you can tackle common causes behind eye bags to reduce their appearance.
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Reduce your alcohol intake
Cutting back on alcohol is a sensible idea if you’re trying to beat eye bags.
Mr Patel said: “Dehydration can lead to dark circles under your eyes and bags, so cutting out or reducing your intake of alcohol which contributes to dehydration may help relieve this appearance.”
Dehydration can be a significant factor in experiencing under-eye bags.
Mr Patel said: “It’s important we are keeping our water levels replenished each day, with experts recommending drinking around 13 cups of fluids a day for men and 9 for women.”
It is easier said than done, but reducing your stress levels could bring down puffy eyelids.
Mr Patel explained: “Stress can lead to worse sleep and therefore puffy eyes.
“Dealing with it with options like exercise and lifestyle decisions can help protect your mental health, and reduce the toll on your body.”
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Take your makeup off
After a long day, it can be tempting to go to bed with your makeup on.
However, this is a recipe for dark circles and puffy eyes.
Mr Patel said: “It’s important to wash your face and remove all makeup before going to sleep.
“Leaving eye makeup on overnight can irritate your eyes and as a result can increase your chances of infection which can make your eyes become red and puffy.”
Using a cold caffeinated compress could also help to soothe red and inflamed eyes.
Mr Patel said: “Caffeine and cold can both help to lessen the appearance of bags under the eyes.
“A cool green tea bag applied under the eyes may reduce puffiness.”
Cucumber slices or running a cold jade roller or gua sha over the area may have a similar effect.
Use retinol cream
Retinal is a cream that’s been used to tackle acne, ageing, psoriasis and even certain cancers, and is an ingredient that is related to vitamin A.
Mr Patel said: “Retinal can help tackle eye bags as when applied to the skin it can improve collagen deficiency.
“It is typically applied as a cream-gel or liquid form and is applied once a day.”
Be sensible about contacts
Unless they’re painful, there should be no issue wearing contact lenses while you have bags under your eyes.
Don’t struggle with your vision for a cosmetic problem that isn’t causing you any pain, but be wary.
Mr Patel warned: “If you experience discomfort putting your lenses in, however, or if they don’t sit comfortably while in your eyes, you should remove them as soon as possible.”