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Difference Between Eye Bags, Puffy Eyes and Dark Eye Circles

Do you have these annoying bulges under your eyes? You may have them from time to time or you may feel as though you have had them for ages. Whatever the case, one thing is for sure – they can negatively impact your appearance.

But let us ask you something. Do you know what you actually have – puffy eyes, eyebags or under-eye circles? Since all conditions appear almost the same, people sometimes get confused about them. However, these are three different things. They are caused by different factors and require different treatments. Therefore, if you really want to get rid of them, you have to figure out what you have to deal with – under-eye circles, eye puffiness or eyebags?

In this article, we will explain what the difference is between those cosmetic issues. Additionally, we will examine the symptoms and causes of each condition. We hope that the information provided here can assist you in figuring out what exactly your problem is and how to handle it.

Eye bags

Stressed girl touching her eye bags and looking at mirrorBags under the eyes are pouches that you might have inherited from your parents, or they might have developed over time under certain circumstances. They typically manifest as small bulges of fat or fat pads on the lower eyelid. One of the distinguishing features of bags under the eyes is that they tend to be permanent. Thus, they will not only appear in the morning but also throughout the day. In general, home remedies like applying ice cubes or green tea bags are unlikely to affect eyebags.

What is the reason for their occurrence?

As we said, having them might just be a genetic trait. Another very common reason for developing bags beneath the eyes is ageing. Over time, the lower eyelid skin sags creating space that enables the formation of fat pads. UV rays, smoking, and alcohol are also major factors. Excessive sun exposure, as well as the use of alcohol and tobacco, almost always result in an older-looking face, prominent eye bags and dark circles. Lack of sleep may also negatively affect the surrounding skin and give you those tired-looking eyes.

What are the symptoms of eye bags?

Eyebags present as mild or severe swelling in the lower lid area. You may also notice that your skin is loose and sagging. Eye bags can appear like you have excess skin and fat underneath your eyes.

How to treat bags under the eyes?

In order to remove eyebags, cosmetic treatments are required. You may not be able to naturally eradicate them. Even though some cosmetics and home remedies may slow down the ageing process, they cannot reverse it. So if you have already developed eye bags you won’t remove them no matter how consistent you are. Rather than spending time and effort on different “magic products,” it would be better to invest in cosmetic procedures that have already been proven. However, be sure to consult a board-certified dermatologist first.

Here are the treatments that may help you solve your problem.

  • Laser resurfacing. This is a non-surgical procedure involving the introduction of heat to the skin to induce collagen production. If you have mild bulges in the under-eye area and want to achieve a more youthful appearance then this procedure might be suitable for you. The effects of the laser treatment usually last around a year. After that, you may need to repeat the procedure.
  • Radiofrequency treatment. In the same way as lasers, this treatment heats the skin and promotes collagen and elastin production. The difference here is that it works by using radiofrequency energy. Radiofrequency treatment can make the skin texture smooth and eye bags less prominent. This procedure will work well if you have mild to moderate eye bags. You may see results lasting between 6 months to a year, based on your skin type.
  • Ultrasound therapy (HIFU). This is a procedure that can be used to tighten and rejuvenate the skin around the eyes and minimize the appearance of eye bags. HIFU uses ultrasound energy to heat the skin and melt the fat pads. Additionally, such treatments stimulate collagen production which can help you improve skin laxity and reduce fine lines. If you have loose skin around your eyes and prominent bags under your eyes, you may benefit from ultrasound therapy. The duration of your results can range from six months to twelve months.
  • Plastic surgery. The eyelid surgery known as blepharoplasty might be the right treatment if you have severe swelling beneath your eyes that won’t go away with other non-surgical methods. In this straightforward procedure, you won’t need to stay in the hospital or on a longer recovery period. There are also no serious complications related to the surgery. One of the biggest benefits of this eye bag removal method is that it produces essentially permanent results.

Puffy eyes

Young woman applying under eye patches for puffy eyes
Everyone has experienced eye puffiness at least once in their lives. It may affect not only the under eye area but also the upper lids. The good news is that this is usually a temporary condition, unlike eyebags. Another aspect that makes them stand out from under-eye bags is that they can be successfully treated at home. Puffy eyes occur most often in the morning, especially if you ate too much salty food or drank too much alcohol the night before. However, they often resolve themselves since the accumulated fluid drains throughout the day.

Why do your eyes appear puffy?

There can be several that may cause temporary swelling including allergies, dehydration, or eating too much salty food, which can lead to fluid retention. Lack of sleep and excessive alcohol consumption may additionally worsen and increase puffiness.

What are the symptoms of puffy eyes?

Your lower eyelids may appear swollen and red. In addition, they may be itchy or even inflamed.

How to get rid of puffy eyes?

If you think that any allergen is causing your puffy eyes, you should try to avoid it. In most cases, seasonal allergies can be managed with the help of medication prescribed by a doctor.

Here are some other ways to deal with puffy or swollen eyes.

  • Be careful not to overeat salty foods such as sushi, nuts, canned beans, etc.
  • Be sure to drink enough water during the day. This will keep fluid moving through the veins.
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule. Good night sleep is essential for healthy skin.
  • Put cold compresses on the area. The cold temperature will shrink blood vessels and reduce inflammation and swelling.
  • Additionally, you may massage your lower eyelids with a cooled metal roller ball. It will promote blood flow and reduce puffiness.

Dark Eye Circles

dark eye circle removal before after

Dark circles are basically pigmented spots on the under-eye skin. As opposed to eye bags and puffiness where the lower eyelid is protruding, with dark circles, the skin may appear flat or hollow. People with fair skin and very little subcutaneous fat beneath their eyes are more likely to develop dark circles. However, individuals with a darker skin tone may also be at risk. They tend to produce extra pigment near their eyes which can lead to general darkening of the eyelid skin. Dark circles might be temporary or become a permanent condition. Generally, it depends on what causes them.

Why do you get dark eye circles?

Fatigue, lack of sleep, and dehydration very often result in dark circles. However, they are usually temporary. Other factors which contribute to permanent dark circles are ageing, genes, and how your facial features are shaped. As you get older, the skin below your eyes becomes thinner making the superficial blood vessels more prominent. Furthermore, the orbital septum around the eyes weakens as you age. This in turn leads to volume loss in the area causing a deep crease between the lower eyelid and upper cheek called a tear trough. The condition may get worse over time making dark circles and hollowness more obvious.

What are the symptoms of dark circles?

You may have loose skin, dark circles and visible fat loss in the under-eye area.

How to reduce dark eye circles?

The tips for reducing puffy eyes can also be used to reduce dark circles (in case they are temporary).

Eye cream containing retinol can also benefit the skin beneath the eyelids. Such products increase cell turnover making dark circles less prominent.

When the darkness persists for very long, you may need to get cosmetic procedures like laser resurfacing or HIFU therapy.

If your problem involves loss of volume within the tear trough area, then dermal fillers might be the best course of action. Using fillers under the eyes can provide volume restoration and help plump skin away from pooled blood.

To conclude

Bags, puffiness or darkness under the eyes are usually not related to any health diseases. People want to get rid of them because they look unsightly and affect the overall appearance of the face.

It is very important to understand which of those conditions you are struggling with and what triggers it. This will help you find the most lasting and effective treatment.