Sinus infection, commonly known as sinusitis, is a condition characterized by swelling and inflammation of the sinuses. It is normally caused by allergens or bacteria. When they enter the sinuses, they encourage mucus production, resulting in nasal congestion or a stuffy nose.
In most cases, sinus infections are quite unpleasant. Besides causing difficulty breathing through the sinus cavities, they may also lead to headaches, ear pressure, and swelling in the eye area. Having chronic sinusitis may make these symptoms even worse.
In this article, we will look at the relationship between sinus infection and under-eye bags. Furthermore, we will discuss how to improve the appearance of the skin on your lower eyelids when you suffer from sinusitis. So please continue reading!
Can sinus infection cause bags under eyes?
It is very common for a sinus infection to cause puffiness and bags under the eyes. In almost every case, such eye puffiness is accompanied by dark eye circles, which are commonly called allergic shiners.
When the sinuses are inflamed, people usually also have stuffy noses. Consequently, normal blood cannot enter the capillaries located behind the sinuses and under the eyes, which causes the blood vessels to swell. Additionally, it leads to dilation and darkening of the veins behind the eyes, resulting in dark circles. This constant swelling and shrinking of the sensitive eyelid skin can cause the formation of eye bags as well.
Shadowy pigments below the eyes, which are associated with nasal congestion, are called allergic shiners. The cause of their appearance can be both sinus infections and allergic reactions. Please note that, despite their similarity, sinusitis and allergies are two different conditions. The term allergy refers to a reaction of the immune system in response to a certain food, pollen or other substance, whereas sinusitis is inflammation of the sinus cavity which can be caused by allergies, bacteria or nasal polyps. What these two conditions have in common is that they lead to runny nose and nasal congestion hence dark circles and eye bags.
What are some other causes of allergic shiners and eye bags?
As their name suggests, allergic shiners occur because of allergic reactions. There can be many types of allergies, such as seasonal allergies, allergic rhinitis (nasal allergy), hay fever or allergies to certain foods, dust mites, mould, and pets. Each of them can lead to a stuffy nose, eye irritation, dark circles, and puffiness under the eyes. The common cold and flu may also contribute to nasal congestion and result in allergic shiners and bags under the eyes.
Eye bags, on the other hand, are commonly caused by ageing. Over time, the thin layer of fat that is normally around your eyes pushes forward, causing a bulge around your lower eyelid. This bulge may worsen under certain circumstances such as allergies, sinus problems, excessive salt intake, and lack of sleep. Every individual will experience puffiness to a different degree.
What are the symptoms of puffy eyes caused by sinus infections?
Here are some of the symptoms that may indicate that your puffy and swollen eyes are related to a sinus infection.
- Congestion of the nasal cavity
- Runny nose
- Nasal discharge that is thick and coloured
- Sinus pressure
- Sore throat or itchy throat
- Irritating, red eyes
- Swollen face and eyes
- High fever
Keep in mind that sinusitis and allergy symptoms are very similar, so they are easily confused with each other. When you experience any problems, you should see your doctor so that you can find out which condition you have and what treatment is best for you.
Often, sinusitis symptoms subside on their own after about two weeks. However, not all sinus infections are the same. If you have chronic sinusitis, for example, your symptoms may last for longer than three months. Moreover, the dark circles and bags around your eyes might get worse.
How to get rid of bags under the eyes from sinuses?
The first thing you need to do to get rid of eye bags from sinuses is to treat the underlying problem, namely the sinus infection. If you have acute sinusitis, your symptoms will usually go away on their own after a couple of weeks. Many home remedies can also help. Chronic sinusitis on the other hand requires medical attention. Your doctor can prescribe you medicine to help you manage the symptoms of the infection. If they don’t help, then you might be recommended to get sinus surgery.
When your sinusitis is gone, dark circles and eye bags are likely to disappear as well. However, the skin below the eyes is delicate, and frequent expanding and shrinking can harm it in the long run. Over time, eye bags may become more noticeable and may be difficult to remove by self-care alone. In such cases, eye bag removal surgery also known as blepharoplasty can help you permanently get rid of bags under the eyes.
Eye bag removal surgery for puffy eyes
Blepharoplasty or eye rejuvenation is one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed in Singapore. It can be performed on the upper eyelid to reduce sagging skin and droopiness, on the lower eyelid to reduce bags under the eyes or on both eyelids to enhance the overall appearance of the eyes.
The purpose of this procedure is to permanently eliminate puffiness from the lower eyelids by removing excess skin and fat. This creates a smoother and more youthful contour. In most cases, it is done under local anaesthesia. The recovery is quick and easy and takes less than two weeks.
Surgical removal of eye bags can be accomplished in two ways – from within the eyelids, which is known as scarless eye bag removal surgery, or by removing eye bags through external incisions below the lower lashes. Most patients prefer the scarless method since it does not leave visible scarring and the recovery is faster. Besides eliminating eye bags, blepharoplasty also improves the skin in the lower eyelid area and reduces wrinkles.
Medications for treating sinusitis-related eye bags
In order to alleviate your sinus infection symptoms, your doctor may recommend medication treatment. These may include:
- Antibiotics. They are normally prescribed when your sinus problem is caused by a bacterial infection.
- Decongestants. They will help you decrease the amount of mucus in the nasal cavities. You may find them in the form of nasal steroid sprays, liquids or pills.
- Antihistamines. If your sinus infection is caused by an allergy then allergy medications like antihistamines will help you relieve the symptoms.
- Saline nasal spray. This will help open up your nasal passages.
Acute sinusitis symptoms can be also managed with over the counter medication. They can help you loosen up the mucus clogging your sinuses.
Home remedies for dark circles and bags under the eyes
- Make use of a neti pot. You can use a nasal irrigation device (neti pot) with saline solution to clean up your nasal passages. When your sinuses are open it will shrink the swollen veins below the eyes hence reducing puffiness.
- Place cold compress beneath your eyes. The use of a cold compress under the eyes is a classic strategy for minimizing bags and dark circles under the eyes. The cold temperature has the ability to shrink the swollen blood vessels and reduce puffiness. You can either use cold tea bags, ice cubes or just a cold washcloth.
- Put a warm compress on your nose. By using warm compresses, you can reduce the pressure within your nasal cavities and make them open up.
- Increase your intake of water. Staying hydrated will thin the mucus in your sinuses, allowing them to drain more effectively. This helps relieve inflammation around your eyes and reduce swelling.
- Cut back on salt consumption. When you consume foods that contain a high amount of salt, your body will retain water. This will increase the puffiness around your eyes.
- Do not smoke. Cigarette smoke is not only irritating to your sinuses but also very harmful to your skin.
- Maintain a healthier lifestyle. It is essential that you get enough sleep, maintain a healthy diet and take proper care of your skin.
If your eye bags and dark circles are caused by an allergy then it is best to stay away from the substance that triggers it.
The bottom line
Sinusitis and allergies oftentimes are the underlying causes of eye bags and dark circles. The obstruction of your nasal cavities causes blood to have difficulty flowing into your capillaries under your eyes, leading to shadowy pigmentation and eye bags. Various circumstances, such as lack of sleep, dehydration, or excessive salt consumption, can further aggravate puffiness around the eyes.
Some home remedies and medicines may help you alleviate your sinusitis and allergy symptoms. Sometimes, puffiness and dark circles under the eyes may disappear as sinus infections heal or when you no longer have contact with an allergen. However, this constant dilating and shrinking of the skin underneath the eyes can damage the area and cause more prominent undereye bags.
If you notice that your eye bags continue to appear despite having healthy sinuses, then you may be interested in eye bag removal surgery. This procedure eliminates excess skin and fat from under the eye, creating a smoother, younger look.