POSTED: 6 Nov 2023

How to Get Rid of Under Eye Bags According to Doctors

Under eye bags are as common as they are misunderstood. They’re a major cosmetic concern and affect people of all ages, skin types and tones. There’s a vast number of treatments which all promise to get rid of under eye bags. However, getting rid of eye bags isn’t so simple or easy. Its also not impossible though. The best way to manage eye bags is to understand exactly what they are and what causes them. This is the only way to learn how to properly prevent and treat eye bags,

What Are They?

Under eye bags present as swelling or puffiness beneath the eyes. This usually starts off as small mild occasional swelling beneath the eyes. However, with time it can become permanent, extensive and severe. Eye bags are often mistaken as a sign of tiredness but they’re actually due to a complex interplay of different factors. Contrary to popular belief, under eye bags aren’t a symptom of fatigue or lack of sleep. Although these factors may worsen their appearance. They also differ from dark under eye circles which are separate condition that may occur simultaneously. Understanding what causes under eye bags is crucial for preventing them and finding the best treatments to help improve or get rid of them.

As we age, the tissues around our eyes, including some of the muscles supporting our eyelids, weaken. This causes eye bags in a couple of ways. Firstly, the fat that normally helps support the eyes ends up unsupported so it slips down into the under eye area. This fat prolapse causes that area to then appear puffy or swollen. In addition, fluid may collect in the space below your eyes due to the skin thinning and weakening. This also leads to swelling in the under eye area. All these skin changes are also influenced by genetics, lifestyle choices and the environment which play a role in the development and severity of eye bags.

What Causes Under Eye Bags?

There are a number of causes of the swelling or puffiness associated with under eye bags. As mentioned in the above section, aging is the primary factor and should be the main focus of treatments aimed at getting rid of under eye bags. It causes the tissues and muscles supporting our eyelids to weaken. This then leads to the prolapse of fat pads, which normally cushion the eyes. When this happens it creates a bulging appearance under the eyes. Fluid retention is another key cause of under eye bags and swelling. It is also related to skin ageing but made worse by factors like changes in weather, hormone levels and salt intake.

Genetics are also a huge contributor to the development and severity of eye bags. Some people are genetically more likley to having thicker or more visible fat pads under their eyes or have a higher risk of fluid retention in this area. This makes them more likely to develop visible under eye bags.

Lifestyle factors also play an indirect role in the development of eye bags. Lack of sleep, sun damage, high stress levels and smoking can speed up the aging process. This then affects the skin which then leads to under eye bags.

In addition, certain health conditions, can also in directly cause or worsen under eye bags. For example, thyroid problems and kidney disorders may cause fluid buildup or changes in the skin around the eyes. Allergies and dermatitis, especially when accompanied by rubbing of the eyes, can also cause or worsen puffiness or swelling in this area.

How To Prevent Eye Bags?

Like with most things in life, prevention is better than cure! There are a number of simple lifestyle causes that you can work on to help prevent or reduce the severity of eye bags. These include:

  • Prioritise Sleep: This will help your skin cells renew and repair thus reducing the impact of skin ageing. In addition, raising your head slightly while sleeping can also reduce fluid retention.
  • Maintain a Healthy Diet: Reduce your salt intake to minimise fluid retention and under eye puffiness. Also, include foods rich in nutrients, particularly proteins and Vitamin C and E. These can strengthen skin health and reduce skin ageing. Staying well hydrated will also help to prevent puffiness.
  • Skincare Routine: Keep a consistent protective anti-ageing skincare routine. Use products with active ingredients like caffeine, which can constrict blood vessels and reduce puffiness to improve the under eye area. In addition, ingredients like retinoids, peptides and vitamin C can promote collagen production and skin elasticity.
  • Sun Protection: Wear sunglasses when outside and apply sunscreen daily to protect the skin around the eyes from sun damage.
  • Allergen Exposure: If you suffer from allergies, reduce your exposure and consider using antihistamines. Avoid rubbing your eyes as this can irritate the skin and worsen swelling.
  • Quit Smoking & Limit Alcohol: This can speed up skin ageing thus contributing to the formation of under eye bags. Alcohol can lead to dehydration which can worsen the appearance of under eye bags.
  • Reduce Stress: Chronic stress can impact your skin as it increases release of certain hormones which can lead to water retention and skin damage.
  • Get a Health Check-up: Occasionally, under eye bags can sometimes be a sign of a serious health issue. Get a medical check to rule any underlying medical conditions.

Treatments for Under Eye Bags

Once you’ve identified the causes and risk factors of your under eye bags, the next step is to find the right treatments to prevent and get rid of them. Broadly these fall into skincare, non surgical and surgical treatments. The best options for you will depend on the causes and severity of your eye bags as well as your treatment goals.

Best Skincare Products for Eye Bags

Skincare should form the back bone of every single eye bag treatment plan. Even if you need professional treatments to help get rid of your under eye bags, you should always start by boosting the quality of your skin. This may be enough to treat your under eye bags or if not, it will enhance the results of professional treatments. There are a number of skincare products designed to prevent, reduce or get rid of under eye bags. These generally work by reducing puffiness and strengthening the skin in the under eye area. These are the key skin ingredients to look for:

  • Caffeine: Known for its vasoconstrictive properties, caffeine can tighten blood vessels and reduce the appearance of swelling and puffiness.
  • Retinoids: Retinol promotes collagen production and skin elasticity which helping to smooth and firm up the under eye area. For enhanced anti-ageing effects, consider prescription retinoids like Tretinoin.
  • Hyaluronic Acid: This powerful humectant attracts moisture which helps plump up the skin. Through this, hyaluronic acid can reduce the appearance of fine lines and bags.
  • Peptides: These can strengthen the skin and improve its texture. Over time, certain peptides can firm up the skin thereby reducing in the appearance of under eye bags.
  • Vitamin C: This is an antioxidant that aids in skin brightening and collagen production. It can help reduce skin ageing and strengthen under eye skin.
  • Vitamin E: Known for its moisturising and healing properties, Vitamin E supports skin health and can help reduce under eye puffiness.
  • Green Tea Extract: Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, this can reduce swelling and protect against environmental stressors.
  • Arnica: Often used in natural skincare, arnica can help reduce swelling and bruising. This may make it useful for those with under eye bags.

How to Use Under Eye Skincare

There are a variety of different skincare products designed for use in under eye area to help get rid of bags. However, the most important thing is not the formulation but the ingredients they contain. When considering a product look for that first and then consider the preparation based on your skin type and concern. Below are the main types of under eye ski products and when you should use them:

  • Creams and Gels: These products are usually the best way to apply active ingredients aimed at reducing puffiness and strengthening the skin. Lighter gels are preferable for daytime use as they sit well under makeup, while richer creams are ideal for overnight skin repair.
  • Serums: Under eye serums are usually more concentrated than creams and can penetrate the skin more deeply. They are ideal for targeting specific issues like puffiness and dark circles.
  • Patches and Masks: Eye patches and masks, often infused with serum like ingredients, offer intensive treatment. They are designed to provide immediate relief by reducing puffiness and hydrating the skin. They’re best for if you need a quick skin pick-me-up.

Non Surgical Professional Treatments for Eye Bags

If you’re unable to get rid of or significantly improve eye bags with skincare, then you may want to consider professional treatments. Non surgical treatments can’t get rid of under eye bags but they can reduce their appearance by indirectly improving the skin around them. These are the most common non surgical under eye bag treatments:

  • Dermal Fillers: Hyaluronic acid tear trough or cheek fillers can be injected under the eyes to smooth out hollows caused by volume loss. These can reduce the appearance of puffiness and shadows. Whilst tretament provides immediate results, it is only temporary. Fillers are alos not suitable for undere ye swelling and can make it worse as they attract attention.
  • Laser Resurfacing: This uses targeted beams of light to improve skin texture and firmness. Laser therapy can help reduce the appearance of bags by tightening and thickening the under eye skin.
  • Traditional & Radiofrequency Microneedling: These procedures stimulates collagen production to enhance skin thickness and elasticity under the eyes. This can reduce the appearance of under-eye bags by tightening and improving skin texture.
  • Cryotherapy: This treatment involves the application of extreme cold to the under eye area. It can reduce puffiness and swelling by constricting blood vessels and stimulating blood circulation.

How To Get Rid of Under Eye Bags With Surgery

Surgical treatments for under eye bags are offer more dramatic and long lasting results. They’re usually best for severe under eye bags or when skincare and non surgical treatments can not yield the desired outcomes.

Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) is the main surgical treatment for under eye bags. The procedure involves getting rid of and/or repositioning both excess fat and skin in the lower eyelid area. How much skin or fat is removed or adjusted depends on the severity of your eye bags, condition of your sin and tissues as well as shape of your overall face. As such this is by definition a very specialised and personalised treatment. There’s usually quite a but of swelling and surgery which may last for at least 2-3 weeks post procedure. If you’re considering surgery to get rid of under eye bags, make sure you have a detailed consultation with a qualified and experienced oculoplastic surgeon.

Treating under eye bags starts with understanding their causes and taking preventive measures. This will help you find the right approach to effectively target them. There are a number of excellent treatments including skincare, non surgical and surgical options. Regardless of which one you need, you will only get great results by managing the causes of eye bags and improving the quality of your skin. Good skincare will help most people at least reduce the appearance of under eye bags and refresh the skin in that area. For severe or persistent under eye bags, it may not be enough to completely het rid of them though. Remember to have realistic expectations and if you’re considering professional treatments to seek the advice of a healthcare professional with expertise in treating the under eye area.

At City Skin clinic, we are passionate about personalised skincare. Through our online clinic, our doctors offer safe and effective skin treatments including Tretinoin and Hydroquinone. We treat skin conditions like acnehyperpigmentationmelasma and skin ageing. To start your personalised skincare plan, book a virtual video consultation or use our online consultation form. The journey towards great skin starts here.

Authored by:

Dr Amel Ibrahim
Aesthetic Doctor & Medical Director
Founder City Skin Clinic
Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Associate Member of British Association of Body Sculpting GMC Registered - 7049611

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