Suffering From Dark Circles and Baggy Eyes? Here’s How to Fix Them
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With additions by Barret Wertz
Unlike getting rid of a pimple, saying goodbye to under-eye bags or circles is a little bit trickier. There’s no magic spot treatment — trust us, we’ve looked — that makes them disappear overnight. The only way to get your youthful eye area back is to get to the root of the problem and find out why they decided to show up in the first place.
If you’ve noticed under-eye bags making an appearance, first know this: it’s not all your fault. Diet and sleep both play a role as well, but there are also some reasons that you can’t control. According to the Mayo Clinic, changes in weather — particularly humid days — can cause fluid retention, making the bags more prominent. That puffiness can also come from aging as the collagen and elastin around your eyes start to break down, allergies and genetics. (Thanks, mom and dad.)
Despite the causes that are out of your hands, there are many other ways to take charge of the bags under your eyes to lessen their appearance — no cosmetic procedures involved.
Limit the Salt in Your Diet
All those nights sitting on the couch eating junk food could be taking a toll on much more than your wallet. Loading up on sodium might taste good, but unfortunately it doesn’t do any good for your eye area. “Eating salty foods causes the body to retain water, contributing to under-eye puffiness,” says Joel Schlessinger, Nebraska-based dermatologist and RealSelf contributor. “Cutting back on salty foods can help improve the appearance of under-eye bags.”
When you’re craving something salty, just make some healthier swaps. Instead of eating a bag of chips, go for cut-up cucumber with a sprinkle of sea salt. And instead of buying processed foods or ordering takeout — which are both notoriously known for having high sodium levels — try some new recipes at home instead.
Get More Sleep
Late nights add up quickly when it comes to under-eye bags. According to Schlessinger, a lack of sleep can make them more prominent, making it even more important to catch some zzzs: “Getting a solid eight hours of sleep every night can help diminish the appearance of under-eye puffiness in the long run,” he says.
Do you tend to wake up with puffy eyes? Schlessinger recommends sleeping with your head slightly raised by adding an extra pillow, which he says helps prevent fluid from pooling around your eyes while you sleep.
File this under: Duh. Eye bags aside, according to the American Cancer Society, men have a one in 14 chance of developing lung cancer in their lifetime. But as obvious as the need to quit may be, it’s hard. Very hard. In addition to increasing your risk of various smoking-related cancers, smoking has also been shown to contribute to disturbances in sleep due to the nicotine withdrawals that occur throughout the night.
There’s never been a better time to drop the bad habit, but if you need help kicking the butts, use resources such as Quit.com, SmokeFree.gov and the CDC website to get started. That’s what they’re there for.
Drink More Water
This one sounds like a no-brainer, but if you’re spending every night out on the town drinking until the wee hours, you might forget how much that can affect your eyes come morning so it might be time to cool it. Because being hydrated is key to keeping your under-eye area free from puffiness, alcohol is one of the worst things you can drink.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, alcohol pulls water from your body, promoting dehydration — and bringing about bags under your eyes. Have a glass of beer, but up your water intake to make up for it.
What about caffeine? Sorry, coffee lovers — you’re not going to like this. As hard as it is to say this, caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea and soda could be contributing to your under-eye issues — but only if you’re drinking it in excess. The whole "caffeine makes you dehydrated" myth has been debunked, but if you drink more than four cups a day, you might experience a diuretic effect, which could mess with your hydration levels.
Add to that, if you’re hyped up on caffeine later in the day, it could mess with your sleep. So have your cup of Joe and enjoy every sip — just limit your intake, especially before bedtime. Or, maybe just stick to decaf (good luck with that).
So now, all about what you should be drinking all day. In addition to keeping you healthy and hydrated, water also helps keep your skin clear and under-eye bags at bay. Drinking plenty of water will help better the appearance of the area, says Schlessinger, so get to sipping: Grab a sturdy water bottle that you can take everywhere with you — from work to the gym — and keep filling it up all day long.
Best Under Eye Creams
Oars + Alps Wake Up Eye Stick
This is a vegan, paraben-, sulfate- and phthalate-free stick that packs a powerful punch. The little metal rollerball distributes a high caffeine content to stimulate blood circulation under eyes to depuff. Persian silk tree bark extract helps reduce fine lines and dark circles both instantly as well as over time.
Best Under Eye Mask
Sisley Eye Contour Mask
Using potent active ingredients such as ginkgo biloba, arnica, horse chestnut and linden blossom, this dense eye mask gel works within 10 minutes to hydrate the skin around the eyes — including the eyelids — and reduce signs of puffiness and fatigue. Keep this bad boy in your fridge for emergencies, like mornings that follow very late nights.
Best Under Eye Treatment
Orveda Biotic-Full Eye Duo
Drastic eyes call for drastic measures. This highly-concentrated treatment duo contains 24 actives between them both and the treatment designed for the under eye even has the slightest tint to help counteract stubborn darkness. Bio-fermented kombucha black tea provides a comprehensive rejuvenation on skin tone, marine enzyme helps the healing of the skin’s natural moisture barrier and two forms of hyaluronic acid nourish and hydrate.
Best Under Eye Concealer
Menaji Camo Concealer
Sometimes a simple cream or even an extensive treatment just isn’t enough. Sometimes you have to call in the cavalry — in this case, the camo cavalry. Available in six shades, this concealer is perfect for — but not limited to — the undereye area. Dab a bit on in the morning after a late night or a long flight and you will look well-rested in seconds.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Bags Under Eyes
Lipton Green Tea Bags
If DIY is your method du jour, bringing tired puffy eyes might be easier than you think. SInce caffeine is a natural stimulate but orally as well as topically, adding a high-caffeine content tea bag is as DIY as it gets. Make sure the tea bag is wet — bonus points if it’s been in the fridge for a while — and lay over your eyes for about 15 minutes. If you’re thrifty and want to make tea with these bags, we recommend doing so prior to placing on those peepers.
If none of these are working, then it might be time to accept that you need to make a visit to the dermatologist. There are many treatments offered these days that are quick, easy and painless, but they’re probably going to cost you. According to RealSelf, under eye fillers to beef up the hollows can cost an average of $1,025 and surgical options for the eye area start around $4,675 and go up from there.
If you start with what we have outlined here, we can guarantee you’ll never get dark circles and under eye bags, but we can guarantee you’re doing a dam fine job fighting them naturally.
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