One of the most frequent skin complaints I hear from patients is how to get rid of the bags under their eyes. Puffy eyes, or under eye bags, can make you look old and tired. Even though certain aspects of aging skin can promote them, they’re not, as some people think, inevitable “baggage” of getting older. You may want to read more about why you get eye bags and what you can do to get rid of them.
What Causes Puffy Under Eye Bags?
Even though puffy eye bags are not really a dermatology/skin issue, they can be a complication of certain conditions of the skin as well as other medical conditions. And, they certainly do affect how the skin around your eyes, and the rest of your face, looks.
The cause of eye bags really doesn’t originate in the skin itself. There are several systemic (inner body) causes like:
- Too high salt intake that results in retaining water
- Allergies, specifically dust mite and mold, that make sinuses around your eyes swell
- Sinus infections, colds, retaining salty mucus in tissues around eyes/face
- Crying/retaining salty water
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Cigarette smoking
- Stress/not enough, or too much, sleep
- Decreased skin/muscle tone around the eye from age
- Loss of collagen in the skin with age
- Illnesses such as mononucleosis, Graves’ disease, low thyroid, kidney problems, trichinosis, Chagas disease, dermatitis or other inflammatory skin conditions.
Some Simple Ways To Get Rid of Eye Bags
Depending on the cause of your eye bags, there are several different things you can do to get rid of them and prevent them from recurring. Here are some helpful remedies:
1. Decrease salt intake. Eating a lot of salty foods, especially drinking alcohol with them, can result in big, darkish bags under each eye the next morning. Your body retains water to balance the extra salt in your system. It does this by storing water in reservoirs around your body – around your eyes, your face, fingers, and ankles. First, cut down on your salt and alcohol intake. Then, make sure you drink enough water to flush out extra salt in your system to prevent retention.
2. Decrease carbohydrates. Too many carbs can also retain water, especially processed carbs like packaged breads, pasta, potato and rice mixes, which can contain a lot of sodium. Limit your carbs to fresh, unsalted, servings.
3. Eat more foods containing Vitamin A, C, and E. These are antioxidants that help remove excess fluid buildup. Be sure you’re getting enough antioxidants through your foods as well as a good multivitamin. Vitamin C 1,000 mg daily also boosts collagen to tighten skin.
4. Remove allergens. Allergens are common eye bag causes. Your face is next to your pillow and bedcovers all night which may be full of dust mites. Allergies to them cause your eye tissues to swell from congested sinuses. Try flushing nose with a saline sinus solution. Taking an OTC decongestant like phenylephrine can help drain the excess fluids. Get allergy tested.
5. Eye exercises. Eye exercise helps tighten the muscles underlying the eyes that support the skin over it. A good one for eye strength is: 1. Place fingertips of both index fingers on your eyebrows to keep them from moving up. 2. Open your eyes wide. 3. Keeping eyes open wide, close your eyes half way to a squint. You should feel the skin, muscle pull up beneath your eye. Start with 25 times and work up to 100 a day. Helps push fluids out of lower eye tissues and strengthens muscles and skin around your eyes.
6. Vitamin A/E/Collagen ointment. Apply around your eye in a counterclockwise motion, starting at the inner eye and smoothing gently all around your eye.
7. Regulate sleep/Elevate head. Too little as well as too much sleep can create eye bags. Elevate your head a few inches so sinuses and facial tissues can drain downwards overnight.
8. Emergency measures. Hold cold brewed tea/coffee bags to the eye bag areas. Several commercial puffy eye products also contain caffeine which helps draw excess fluids out of eye tissues. Witch hazel-soaked pledgets also help deflate the swollen bags as it has some of the same tannins and flavonoids as tea/coffee does. Witch hazel is also an astringent and draws water out of tissues. Cold cucumber or raw potato slices also can help but you need about 15 minutes to lie still with these on. Using an over the counter “anti-itch” hydrocortisone cream 0.5-1% applied only to eye bag area can help decrease them. Be very careful, though, not to get the cream near your inner eye (next to your nose), or inside the eyelid.
Don’t let puffy eye bags make you look older and more tired than you are. Make use of the measures listed here to help you prevent eye bags as well as get rid of them when they occur.
Jay Brachfeld, M.D.
Natural Health News
Under Eye Bags, http://www.yogawiz.com/articles/497/alternative-therapy-and-diseases/under-eye-bags-home-remedies.html
How To Reduce Puffy Eyes Due to Sinuses, http://www.livestrong.com/article/83480-reduce-puffy-eyes-due-sinuses/
image credit: searchherbalremedy