Bags under eyes: Causes & How to get rid of them

You wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and stare in horror at what you see: bags under your eyes. You look exhausted and run down. Your eyes are puffy and inflamed. How did this happen, and more importantly, can you get rid of it? You grab for your makeup, thinking there must be a better way.

This nightmare doesn’t have to be a problem because there are better ways. This is a known problem in beauty circles, and there is a treatment for bags under eyes.

Where do bags under eyes come from?

You are probably wondering what causes bags under the eyes. There are many reasons people develop them. There is a genetic component, so if your close family has this problem then there’s a good chance you will too.

Bags under the eyes can also come from allergies. If the bags are due to allergies, appropriate medication should help the problem. There are other medical conditions which can lead to bags, such as thyroid problems and herniated fat pads both add to a swollen appearance.

Sleep changes can lead to getting bags under your eyes. They are much more likely to develop if you don’t get enough sleep. In addition, drinking too little water can lead to under eye bags looking worse. Dehydration can make the skin under your eyes thinner and appear darker, resulting in a tired look.

Too much salt in your diet is another potential cause of bags. It causes you to retain water, leading to puffiness under the eyes.

bags under eyes
Bags under eyes — mild swelling or puffiness under the eyes — are common as you age. Image/Shutterstock

Can bags under eyes go away?

Fortunately, there are many ways to soften bags under the eyes, and many of them involve simple lifestyle changes. There are also some bags under the eyes home remedies. If you have the patience, you can try some of the tricks we’ll let you in on and possibly improve the appearance of your eyes quickly.

How do you get rid of bags under your eyes?

There are some lifestyle things you can do to either lessen the chance of getting eye bags or help cover them up. Here are 12 natural ways to soften under eye bags:

  1. Reduce the amount of salt in your diet – Salt leads to water retention, which can create bags under your eyes. Try to stop adding extra salt to your meals. The amount we get naturally from foods is enough to meet our daily requirements.
  2. If you have allergies, use medication – Nasal spray antihistamines if you have allergies to something in the air that you can’t avoid. This may do a lot to remove those bags from under your eyes, and it may even make you feel better.
  3. Use makeup to mask the bags under your eyes – If the bags under the eyes cause you to feel uncomfortable or insecure, you can try makeup to cover them up. Reactions to ingredients in make-up can worsen bags. This is especially true if your bags are associated with dark circles. Consequently, some concealer should do a lot towards erasing those bags.
  4. Use a cool cloth and press it under your eyes – Applying a cold compress to your eyes can shrink the blood vessels, reducing the bags. Try a cold cloth, or even a bag of ice as long as it’s wrapped in a cloth. Anything really cold should do the trick.
  5. Use an extra pillow to prop up your head – Sleeping with an extra pillow ensures that fluids don’t build up in your head area. This is one factor that could lead to bags. Propping up your head ensures proper drainage.
  6. Take off your makeup – This includes all of your eye makeup too. Not removing your makeup before bed is one of the culprits that can lead to eye bags. It can also clog your pores and cause acne and other skin problems.
  7. Try not to smoke – Smoking can make eye bags much worse. If you’re a smoker and you’re having trouble with this issue, you may want to consider quitting.
  8. Use sunblock when you’re outside – The effect of the UV rays on the skin of the eyes can be devastating because it’s so thin and delicate. Remember to wear sunblock if you’re going to be out and do put it around your eyes. The sun can exacerbate eye bags, if associated with solar aging.
  9. Use chilled tea bags – This is a long-used remedy for bags under the eyes. Make tea, and then put the bags in the fridge for half and hour. Squeeze them out and then lay one under each eye. Sit still for about 20 minutes, allowing the caffeine from the tea to seep into your eyes. It will cause vasoconstriction in the region, decreasing eye bags. As such, this is a great option for treating under eye bags.
  10. Consume Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a strong antioxidants, which can repair skin damage. It is also used in the production of collagen. This makes your sensitive skin firmer and more elastic and helps hydrate it. Therefore, it may help reduce eye bags and it may have anti-aging benefits like lessening wrinkles on the forehead and under eye wrinkles.
  11. Drink a lot of water – Being dehydrated is one of the causes of dark bags under the eyes. Thus, make sure you drink a lot of water during the day to prevent this from happening.
  12. Wrinkle cream for Eyes – Using an eye cream for bags under the eyes is a good idea, and there are plenty of excellent products on the market such as Boots No. 7 Serum, La Mer Cream, Instantly Ageless, and Image Skin Care. These products contain ingredients like Argireline, Vitamin E, Peptides, Glycolic Acid, Retinol, Hyaluronic Acid, Silicones and are rich in anti-inflammatory agents which may help reduce puffiness, dark circles under the eyes and other skin care conditions.

List of Other Brands You May Want To Consider

SEE ALSOAdvanced Dermatology and Meaningful Beauty

People Also Ask

Q: Can bags under the eyes become permanent?

A: Yes, most cases need a surgical correction.

Q: Can bags under the eyes be genetic?

A: Yes, in fact being prone to having bags under your eyes is often a genetic condition. Certain families simply develop bags more easily. However, being genetically prone to something isn’t the only factor in whether you will get it. The way you live your life can be key factor.

Q: Can bags under eyes be surgically removed?

A: Yes, there is a surgical treatment for bags under the eyes. The surgeon lifts up the skin to remove excess fat pads, so it doesn’t sag. Often people who have bags for genetic reasons get surgery for under-eye bags.

Q: Are bags under eyes unattractive?

A: Bags aren’t really unattractive; they just make you look tired and a little run down. They don’t mar your appearance in any major way. However, many people do not like the way they look and want to get rid of them.

Q: Are bags under eyes normal?

A: Bags are quite normal in the sense that they are very common, and everyone gets them sometimes. They’re pretty much a universal problem, coming from universal causes like lack of sleep and allergies.

Q: Does sleeping early get rid of eye bags?

A: Sometimes, infrequent and erratic sleep patterns inhibit the body from repairing itself, which can make your eyes appear puffy and swollen. Seven to eight hours of sleep every night can reduce the appearance of under-eye bags.

Q: How many days does it take to get rid of eye bags?

A: If bags are treated surgically, most people find that swelling and bruising decrease significantly in about 10 to 14 days, but may take up to 3 months to the point that they feel comfortable going out in public again. Always call your eye doctor if you have any unusual symptoms or pain that may indicate post-surgery problems.


Bags under eyes are a problem familiar to a large percentage of people. They appear as puffy skin under the eye that visible. They can make you look exhausted and worn out, which is not a look most people appreciate.

There are many different reasons for developing bags under the eyes, from allergies to crying to poor sleep. Luckily, there are lifestyle changes you can make which may help alleviate the look of bags under the eyes.

Some of these include drinking water, using a cold compress, quitting smoking, and taking off your makeup before bed. In addition, there are also techniques like cold compresses and tea bags under the eyes that you can try. Finally, surgery is also a long-term option for correcting eye bags.

On the whole, if you have eye bags, this is not a problem you have to worry about for a long. There are many ways to eliminate the issue and go back to your fresher-looking self.

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Tiffiny Cohen, MMS, PA-C

By Tiffiny Cohen, MMS, PA-C

Tiffiny Cohen, PA-C is a physician assistant in North Atlanta. She has worked in
Dermatology and Aesthetic Medicine for the past decade.