woman applying under eye mask

What Gives You Bags Under Your Eyes?

Do you sometimes wake up with puffy eyes or unpleasant dark circles? Are you often told that you look tired? Bags under eyes can be quite an unpleasant condition that may completely change your appearance. And unfortunately, it is difficult to hide this defect even with tones of eye makeup.

Bags under eyes can appear in different situations and for many different reasons. Very often they are just part of the ageing process. According to the Mayo Clinic, eye bags are rarely a sign of any serious health disease. In most cases, these bulges are harmless but certainly, no one wants to have them.

Various methods promise to get rid of bags under your eyes – from green tea bags, cucumber slices and eye creams and other home remedies to different surgical and scarless removal medical procedures. But as with all conditions, before start treating them, it is essential to find the reason for their occurrence.

To help you understand what is behind those bags under your eyes, we have collected some of the most common causes for their appearance. Here you will also find possible ways to treat this condition.

What gives you eye bags?

Bags under eyes may appear for various reasons. The most common causes for this condition are ageing, fluid retention, lack of sleep, too much salt intake, smoking or alcohol consumption, dehydration, tiredness or just heredity.


DNA StructureGenetic causes are quite common. As you can have your mother’s curly hair or your father’s dark eyes, you may also inherit those bags under your eyes.

If the puffiness has been there since your teenage years and it gets worse over time then probably your problem is hereditary.


One of the major causes of bags under eyes is ageing. It is something that you can not stop but you can definitely help ease the process. Eye bags usually occur around age 28 in women because that’s the optimum peaking age for girls. And as you get older they usually get worse. Due to environmental pollution, preservatives and foods that you eat as well as technology radiation sometimes you can notice bags around your eyes as early as 25-26 years old. After 35 years old you may start noticing other signs of ageing. The skin around the eyes starts losing its elasticity causing sagging on the eyelids. The fat around the eyes will also begin to move and wrinkles and folds will start to form as well.

Fluid retention

The area beneath the eyes is predisposed to fluid accumulation making the eyelids to look swollen and puffy. This is because fat cells around your eyes are mainly made of water. Bags under eyes caused by fluid retention are typically noticeable in the morning. These are usually subject to lifestyle and environmental factors.

Lack of sleep

woman suffering from insomnia in bed

Stress and sleep play much more role that anyone thought. And lack of sleep certainly causes bags under the eyes and dark circles.

Many patients just ignore doctors’ advice and sleep much less than 8 hours. In fact, fatigue and sleeplessness are one of the main reasons for the expansion of blood vessels under the eyes and the formation of eye bags and dark circles. Sleep-deprived can also lead to wrinkles as well as worsen the overall appearance of the skin.

Sodium or salt intake

People often can not resist sushi. However, if you consume too much of this delicious meal this will undoubtedly affect not only your health but also your face and the area around your eyes. If you are somewhat heavy-handed with the salt shaker at dinner, then you are most likely to have increased bags under eyes the next morning. This is because of sodium salt fluid retention and it is especially observed if there is a defect in the fat pad exciting you have some genetic preponderance.


People don’t like to hear it but oftentimes alcohol combined with poor sleep lead to unpleasant eye bags. The occasional drink usually doesn’t do it but daily alcohol drinking does lead to under-eye bags and premature ageing.


Smoking induces the secretion of endopeptidases and enzymes that damage collagen in the skin if their production rises dramatically. Cigarette smoke also leads to weakening of the delicate tissue around the eyes resulting in puffy eye bags and dark circles. Besides, it affects your overall health.


When you do not drink enough water the skin under the eyes becomes dry, grey and dull because there is not enough fluid in the body. It is recommended to drink at least 2 litres of water a day.

Eye strain

The eyes are strained when reading, using electronic devices for several hours, watching TV and so on. This causes dilating of the blood vessels around the eyes and consequently to the presence of dark circles and eye bags.

Many times eye bags and darkness around the eyes are just temporary condition and they disappear after a couple of hours. You may have swollen eyes from crying, bloating or tiredness. The area might also be sore and reddened.

But if the bags under your eyes do not disappear even after a quality rest then you may want to see a specialist who will determine the right eye bag treatment for you.

What foods cause under-eye bags?

Oktoberfest food - sausage, beer and bretzel.Consuming too much sodium and salty food usually decrease blood flow, makes you bloated and susceptible to water retention. It respectively affects the skin around the eyes developing unpleasant puffiness and eye bags.

Here are some of the foods that contain a lot of sodium.

Canned foods

Canned foods including beans, diced tomatoes, different soups, chickpeas and so on normally have too much sodium and consumed often in large quantities they will definitely give you bags under the eyes.

Salty crackers and chips

Potato chips and other similar products contain a large amount of salt. In addition, this type of food has an addictive effect and it is difficult to be satisfied with a small portion of them. We often eat a whole package.

If you feel like eating something between the main meals, we recommend that you choose sunflower seeds, walnuts, fruits, vegetables or vegetable.

Refined sugar

Many of the products you will find on the market today contain large amounts of sugar or sweeteners. Like salt, if you often consume these ingredients, your body can not properly remove fluids, and this will lead to swelling in the eye area.

It is recommended to reduce your sugar consumption or just look for natural alternatives such as honey, maple syrup or cinnamon.

White flour

People with a diet that includes eating pizza, pasta, crackers or bread are most prone to fluid retention. Refined flour contains carbohydrates that accumulate in the body and do not allow the kidneys to function properly. These compounds increase the amount of water in the body by slowing down kidney function. Instead of white flour, choose wholemeal or reduce its consumption completely.

What diseases cause puffy eyes?

Under-eye bags may indicate that there some health problems other than age. Some of the diseases that may cause puffy eyes are allergy, hormonal changes, kidney problems, thyroid disease, etc.

Mayo Clinic suggests you see a doctor if you have severe swelling that is itchy, red, painful and doesn’t go away.


Your eyes can be swollen by allergens found in cosmetics, environment, contact lenses, foods and others. If the contact with the allergen is constant, then swelling will be observed for a long time. More often the allergic reaction is short-term and reclaims quickly after excluding contact with its root cause.

Other symptoms of allergy include:

  • itching or inflamed eyes;
  • watery eyes;
  • redness of the eyes;
  • sneezing and nasal congestion.

Allergic eye bags may disappear quickly, but they can also quickly returns after repeated contact with the allergen.

Kidney problems

The appearance of these eye bags is usually bruised looking. The other symptoms that patients may have include:

  • swollen tongue with a white layer on top;
  • you may also have ulcers;
  • weak legs;
  • you are thirsty all the time;
  • you have sore muscles.

These are some of the ways that your body tells you that you need to take better care of your kidneys.

Thyroid disease

woman having thyroid problemFor patients who have thyroid disease whether it is hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, the eye is involved approximately 50% of the time. Almost every patient have prominent eye bags.

This disease especially hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune process that can affect thyroid glands and many structures with the eye. The health problem is more common in women. Environmental factor such as smoking may contribute to it but there is also a variety of genetic factors related to thyroid problems.

Signs and symptoms can vary between individuals but commonly they include:

  • inflammation of the white parts of the eyes;
  • the eyes appear to be bulging out of the eye socket;
  • the eyes may feel irritated, uncomfortable and have a gritty feeling;
  • the eyes might be constantly watery or be dry;
  • vision changes may also occur.

This article does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any of the symptoms above make sure you consult a doctor who will answer all your question and give you the health information you need.

Why are the eyelids prone to swelling?

The physiological structure of the ocular tissue determines the tendency of this area to swelling:

  • large space for tissue retention and interstitial fluid formed by excess eyelid skin, as well as due to fragility of the subcutaneous tissue;
  • lack of subcutaneous adipose tissue;
  • a small amount of connective tissue – collagen and elastin fibres;
  • constant “work” of the eyelid skin in blinking and blinking;
  • pressure on the eyelids with periorbital adipose tissue;
  • tightly attaching the skin of the forehead, nose and cheeks to the tissues located below it – in case of accumulation of fluid in these areas, it will pass into the free space – the eyelids and the area under the eyes.

How do I get rid of the bags under my eyes?

If your eye bags are caused by lack of sleep, eye strain, water retention or unhealthy food home remedies and lifestyle changes may help reduce swelling and lessen your eye bags. If your protruded lower eyelids are because you get older or hereditary then you will need special cosmetic treatments or surgery to get rid of them. In case your eye bags refer to any health problem then you will have to consult a doctor who will provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Home remedies

  • Cold compress. It has always been considered one of the easiest ways to get rid of bags under the eyes. Cold compresses increase blood flow and help reduce swelling in the eye area.
  • Green tea bags. This is also an effective way to deal with puffy lower eyelids. Due to its antioxidant properties, green tea bags may help reduce swelling and tighten the skin surrounding the eyes.
  • Cucumber slices. Cucumber contains antioxidants that relieve irritation, have a cooling effect and reduce the swelling in the eye area.
  • Haemorrhoid creams. It sounds weird but many people claim that some haemorrhoid creams contain chemicals that constrict blood vessels. However, our advice is to be careful because experiments with the area around the eyes can be really dangerous.
  • Vitamin C. This vitamin is known for its beneficial properties for the health of the body. Besides, vitamin C is often used in cosmetics due to its lightening effect. It helps lessen both dark circles and bags under the eyes. It also helps to remove free radicals from the skin and stimulates collagen production.
  • Neti pot. People with allergies can reduce the appearance of bags under the eyes through the use of Neti pot. It is a device that rinses the sinuses. It is usually filled with a saline solution. Clearing the nasal cavity helps the blood vessels surrounding the eyes to shrink and become lighter.

Cosmetic treatments

woman having non surgical eye bag removal treatment with dermal fillersThere are some treatment methods that help get rid of bags and puffiness under the eyes. It is worth noting that they are really effective, but the effect of the procedures is not permanent and you have to repeat them.

  • Fillers. Dermal fillers usually contain hyaluronic acid, which has the amazing ability to moisturize the skin, making it look healthier, brighter and fresh. Hyaluronic acid fillers are best for correcting sagging under the eyes, filling the tear trough area and correcting bags under the eyes. The procedure includes injecting specially designed fillers in the under-eye area. Properly placed by a doctor, they give an extremely fresh and younger look to the whole face. The procedure takes around 20-30 minutes, there is no downtime and the chances of complications are minimal. The durability of hyaluronic fillers is on average one year.
  • Laser resurfacing. Lasers are devices that provide heat to stimulate skin cell regeneration. It resurfaces the skin and induces the body’s natural production of collagen. The laser energy helps to tighten up the skin and give a smoother and brighter appearance of dark eye circles and bags. Laser resurfacing is a quick and easy way to get rid of bags and dark circles beneath the eyes. It takes less than 45 minutes and usually there no risk involved. The results of this treatment may last between 1 and 2 years.
  • Chemical peels. This is a procedure that uses a chemical solution to improve the appearance of the skin. Chemical peels can treat wrinkles, pigmentation as well as eye bags. However, this procedure is more suitable for dark eye circles than puffiness. A chemical peel is an easy treatment as it takes less than 30 minutes. The results vary, depending on the skin type and the solution that is used. With a light peeling, the effect is moderate, and the procedure can be repeated every few weeks until the desired result is achieved. Moderate or deep peeling can cause swelling of the face but it usually gives a more obvious result. This type of peeling can be done every 6 to 12 months. Deep chemical peels promise great results. However, that may damage the skin and require a longer recovery.

Eye bag removal surgery

If you desire to get rid of your eye bags permanently than you may want to undergo plastic surgery. The procedure is known as eyelid surgery or lower blepharoplasty. Basically, it is an operation where the doctor makes specific changes to skin, fat or muscle to remove eye bags and improve the appearance of the lower eyelid.

There are two ways in which the surgery can be completed. The older technique that involves scar in the skin is called transcutaneous approach. The more modern way where the scar is hidden on the inside of the eyelid is called transconjunctival blepharoplasty. Both techniques are usually done under local anaesthesia so you are completely awake. After blepharoplasty, you may experience some swelling, bruising or mild discomfort. However, these complications will disappear in a few days. The recovery usually takes 10 to 14 days.

Final thoughts

Did you know that the skin around the eyes and 4-5 times thinner than the rest of the skin that covers the face? Furthermore, it is subject to constant aggression by wind, sun, cold, air conditioners, neon lights, cigarette smoke, computers, so it needs special care! Dermatologists recommend having a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle as well as using special creams and products suitable for your skin type. However, even if you do well on your own it is good to include some facial aesthetics treatments in your skincare.

Modern cosmetology offers a wide range of procedures that work wonders. Properly selected peeling, laser treatment as well as all kinds of cosmetic injections that moisturize the deep layers of the skin, fill wrinkles and treat eye bags can make you look years younger.

This article is for informational purposes only. To get professional care and advice consult a doctor. He/she must have a medical education and appropriate training. In this case, the therapy will be as safe and effective as possible. Don’t hesitate to use the contact form and get in touch with us with any questions.