The Most Effective Ways to Get Rid of Under Eye Bags

Under eye bags and puffy eyes: how to get rid of them

The Most Effective Ways to Get Rid of Under Eye Bags

Go into any store’s beauty section, and you’ll find a seemingly endless selection of eye creams that claim to get rid of under-eye puffiness and dark circles—AKA the stuff of so many early-morning nightmares.

And while great eye products can help (especially if they contain arnica, caffeine, or peptides), there are actually a ton of holistic hacks and self-care solutions that can make a serious difference in your under-eye situation. And to put even more of a sparkle in your eye—many of them are free.

1. Give almond oil a try

Dark circles can occur for a myriad of reasons, one of which is dry skin—a dehydrated under-eye area allows the blue and purple blood vessels to show through. If you’re in need of hydration to help with this, you’re in luck: The kitchen hero almond oil doubles as a dark circle demolisher.

“The primary constituents in almond oil that benefit the skin are the fatty acids linoleic and oleic acid,” Heather Wilson, esthetician and director of brand development at InstaNatural told Byrdie. This duo helps to hydrate, reduce inflammation, and support the barrier function of skin thanks to high levels of vitamins B and E as well as phytosterols.

2. Use an extra pillow—and sleep on your back

Sometimes under-eye circles are most noticeable when you wake up, and if that’s the case, grab an extra pillow—and rethink your sleeping position.

“If dark, puffy [bags under your eyes] seem to be the morning problem, consider sleeping on your back with an extra pillow so that fluid doesn’t pool overnight,” Rebecca Tung, MD, an Illinois-based dermatologist, told Allure. “Keeping your pillow protected from allergens with a protective encasement can also help when allergies are the culprit.” Top it off with a silk pillowcase for extra skin-saving benefits.

3. Sleep more in general

Under-eye bags tend to show up more when you’re lacking sleep, so be sure to get a proper amount of shut-eye.

And how much beauty sleep should you be getting, exactly? “The cheapest way to reduce the appearance of under-eye bags is to get on a regular sleep routine of seven to eight hours per day,” Annie Chiu, MD, a California-based dermatologist, told Allure. Just be sure not to spend all morning in bed—when it comes to sleep, there is too much of a good thing, according to experts.

4. Eat more celery, asparagus, collard greens, and bananas

The next time you buy groceries, Kimberly Snyder, Well+Good Council member and celeb nutritionist, suggests adding these  fruits and veggies to your shopping cart.

“They balance important electrolytes such as potassium—it controls fluid levels in the body to lessen the puffiness around your eyes, which exacerbates the dark circles—while adding healthy fiber and essential beauty nutrients that help alleviate this specific issue,” Snyder says. Make this summer asparagus soup and you’ll beat bloating below the neck, too.

5. Use tea bags

If you’re only using tea bags for a warm and cozy fall beverage, you’re missing out, says Snyder.

She recommends soaking tea bags in cooled almond milk or rose water, then placing them on your closed eyelids for a refreshing boost. “This will naturally help reduce inflammation around your eyes, relieving those aging signs of fatigue,” Snyder says. Green tea or chamomile are good ones to reach for.

6. Go easy on the salt

It’s tempting to shake a bunch of salt on your meals, but cutting back could help get rid of dark circles. According to Snyder, it’s best to only add a small amount of sea salt to your dish right before eating to avoid taking in too much sodium, which can contribute to dehydration.

7. Use adaptogens

Adaptogens don’t only help with stress, anxiety, and fatigue—they can also help get rid of dark circles.

“I recommend a tea made from ashwagandha to help to relieve the stress in the body that is often a root cause of those nasty dark circles,” Snyder says. (Stress often equals sleep deprivation, after all.) “The powerful adaptogenic herb, otherwise known as Indian ginseng, is so rejuvenating.”

8. Drink lots of water

Staying hydrated will make you feel and look great—you just have to remember to keep drinking all day long to reap the dark-circle–nixing benefits.

“Sip room-temperature water or hot teas throughout the day,” Snyder says. “Keeping your body hydrated is arguably the easiest thing you can do for your overall health and beauty—with the least amount of effort.”

9. Take probiotics

Popping probiotics every day can give your skin a boost—and that most certainly includes the under-eye area, too.

“A balanced gut microbiome helps to support the absorption of B vitamins, which are essential to beautiful, healthy skin all around,” Snyder says. Not sure what kind to choose? Here are the probiotics gut experts actually take.

10. Avoid alcohol—especially before bedtime

Sorry, frosé fans: Alcohol—especially when you drink a few hours before bedtime, can mess with your sleep, which, in turn, can lead to under-eye bags. Drink some soothing tea before you hit the sheets instead so you wake up feeling—and looking!—refreshed.

11. Up your vitamin C intake

Vitamin C works wonders when it comes to brightening the skin (eye area included), so focus on adding more into your diet through foods with high amounts of it, bell peppers, broccoli, berries, citrus, pineapple, and cauliflower.

12. Eat more iron

Getting enough iron in your diet can be a challenge, especially if you don’t eat meat. To make sure you’re not deficient—which can contribute to dark circles—prioritize plant foods with a high iron content, beans, spinach with a squeeze of lemon, apricots, and peas.

13. DIY lymphatic drainage massage around your eyes

Light massage around the eye area helps move trapped fluids that love to settle in this region of the face—ask any esthetician. Use a jade roller or your fingers and DIY it once a week or more.

Originally published November 7, 2017; updated July 14, 2018.

These natural concealers work wonders on dark circles. But first, here’s what could be causing the pigment—and what you can do about it.


6 Remedies for Under-Eye Bags

The Most Effective Ways to Get Rid of Under Eye Bags


By Beth Longware Duff; reviewed by Gary Heiting, OD

Are unsightly, bulging bags under your eyes getting you down?  Do you hate how tired and old those bags under your eyes make you look?

You’ll be glad to know that there are a number of steps you can take to minimize the appearance of eye bags.

First, let’s unpack some of the mysteries and myths surrounding under-eye bags.

What are bags under the eyes?

Bags under the eyes occur when weakened and sagging skin relaxes, forming a pouch. The fat pads located under the eyes slip down to fill the space.

Excess fluid in the body can also pool there, making the lower lids look even puffier and more swollen. Shadows and discolored skin under the eyes cause eye bags to look more prominent.

Unattractive, under-eye bags are primarily a cosmetic issue and usually are harmless. But sometimes they can be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

Most bags under the eyes are more noticeable in the morning, when fluid has had all night to settle in.

What causes bags under the eyes?

The most common cause of bags under the eyes is aging. As we get older, we experience a loss of fat padding and collagen, the major component of connective tissues in skin, muscles and other body parts.

Lower collagen levels cause the skin and underlying muscles all over the body to lose elasticity and tone. This sagging is especially noticeable around the eyes because the skin there is very thin.   

Other factors that contribute to the development of bags under the eyes include fluid retention, chronic medical conditions thyroid disease, infections, allergies, stress, eye fatigue, smoking, lack of sleep and inherited facial features.

If the swelling becomes severe, painful, itchy, red or persistent, see an eye doctor for a medical diagnosis.

BAGS UNDER YOUR EYES? ARE YOUR EYES SWELLING? Find an eye doctor near you.

Remedies for bags under eyes

Identifying the underlying cause of bags under the eyes is the first step in choosing a remedy.

For example, if eye bags are a result of aging or run in your family, a cosmetic solution plastic surgery may be the best option for getting rid of them.

Know up front that cosmetic eye surgery done solely to improve appearance will not be covered by medical insurance.

When bags under the eyes are the result of environmental or underlying health issues, there are some simple home remedies and lifestyle changes that may help to lessen their appearance. These include:

  • Get plenty of sleep (average 8 hours daily).
  • Sleep with your head elevated a few inches to keep fluid from pooling around your eyes.
  • Avoid fluids before bedtime and salt throughout the day.
  • Use a damp, cool washcloth as a compress on your eyes, preferably while sitting upright. Alternatively, cucumber slices or cold, damp tea bags can be used to help bring down swelling.
  • Keep your allergy symptoms under control by avoiding triggers and taking prescription or over-the-counter allergy medications.
  • Use cosmetic concealers to cover up dark under-eye shadows.

One popular home remedy for reducing bags under the eyes is the use of hemorrhoid creams. (Yes, really.)

Hemorrhoid creams contain phenylephrine, which constricts blood vessels and can temporarily tighten the skin under the eyes, making eye bags less noticeable. Be careful not to get the cream in your eyes as it could irritate them.

If you’re a smoker, make every effort to quit. Avoiding smoking not only is good for your general health and eyesight — it also will slow down collagen loss that thins the skin. And if you choose to have cosmetic surgery to remove bags under your eyes, you’ll heal quicker if you don't smoke.

There are also wrinkle treatments and skin therapies designed to tighten under-eye skin and reduce puffiness. The list includes chemical peels, laser resurfacing and injectable dermal fillers.

The benefits, side effects, and risks associated with these options or surgery should be discussed with your ophthalmologist, oculoplastic surgeon, or plastic surgeon.

Surgery for bags under the eyes

If you’ve tried some or all of the remedies listed above to eliminate the bags under your eyes and aren't satisfied with the results, you may want to consider a more permanent solution.

Cosmetic eyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, can smooth out and tighten the skin under the lower eyelids. Blepharoplasty also can be used to treat puffy or drooping eyelids.

Lower lid blepharoplasty for bags under the eyes is typically done as an outpatientprocedure under local anesthesia plus sedation. (In some cases, general anesthesia may be used.)

Prior to surgery, the surgeon will mark up the under-eye area to indicate where he or she will make the incisions. Typically, the incisions are made inside the lower eyelid or under the eyelashes.

Once the incisions are made, the surgeon removes the excess fat and extra skin before suturing the incisions closed with tiny dissolvable stitches. The desired result is smoother, “lifted” skin.

Surgery recovery for bags under the eyes

It's important to follow your surgeon’s post-surgical instructions to maximize healing. Cold compresses applied regularly for about 48 hours will help reduce swelling and discomfort. Prescription ointments and eye drops should be used as directed by your surgeon to promote healing and help prevent infection.

Expect some swelling, bruising, and dry eyes in the days immediately following surgery. If you go outside, protect your healing skin and eyes with darkly tinted sunglasses. Avoid strenuous physical exercise for at least a week following surgery.

Most people find that swelling and bruising decreases significantly in about 10 to 14 days to the point that they feel comfortable going out in public again. Always call your eye doctor if you have any unusual symptoms or pain that may indicate post-surgery problems.

All surgeries, no matter how minor, have risks attached. Potential risks associated with blepharoplasty include:

  • bleeding
  • bruising
  • soreness
  • infection
  • numbness to the touch
  • skin discoloration
  • cysts along the incision lines
  • poor healing, especially among smokers
  • drooping upper eyelid

Complete recovery from eyelid surgery takes six weeks or more. Report any symptoms or questions you may have to your surgeon at your follow-up visits.   

Find an eye doctor near you.

Beth Duff

Beth Duff is a health care writer, editor and reporter with more than 30 years of editorial experience spanning broadcast, print and electronic media.

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How to Get Rid of Bags and Dark Circles Under Your Eyes

The Most Effective Ways to Get Rid of Under Eye Bags

Anyone who works a job that has any kind of stress level knows that the constant “no sleep” situation is so real. You've probably Googled “how to get rid of bags under eyes” on more than one occasion, and you'd do almost anything (save cut off an arm) to get rid of them. And even after you've tried a million expensive treatments, they usually come back.

Truth is, your eye puffiness and darkness could be inherited. “The undereye area is one of the thinner areas and is easily neglected in basic skin care,” says Paul Jarrod Frank, a cosmetic dermatologist in New York City. “There is a strong genetic component to dark circles, which is people’s control.” Womp, womp.

Yes, much of the reason you have those circles is that of your parents' own thin skin (thanks, Mom). Sometimes you have them because of an increase in pigment in that area. But don't run to the doctor asking for a pricey laser or needle treatment. Below are ways to minimize the appearance of those circles that won't cost you an arm or a leg.

These affordable tips go way beyond putting cucumbers on your eyes.

How to Get Rid of Pesky Bags Under Your Eyes

1. If you have dark circles from thin skin, use a retinoid.

“With repeated use, retinol can stimulate the production of collagen, making the skin less thin and improving the dark circles.

They are easy to find at the drugstore,” says Rachel Nazarian, a dermatologist in New York City.

“Retinoids help rebuild dermal collagen and thereby contribute to vascular support in the area and the recovery of skin volume and firmness,” adds Patricia Ceballos, a dermatologist in New Rochelle, New York.

This RoC anti-aging eye cream is gentle enough for sensitive skin.

2. Sleep on your back and use an extra pillow.

“If dark, puffy [bags under your eyes] seem to be the morning problem, consider sleeping on your back with an extra pillow so that fluid doesn't pool overnight. Keeping your pillow protected from allergens (dust and dust mites) with a protective encasement can also help when allergies are the culprit,” says Rebecca Tung, a dermatologist in La Grange Park, Illinois.

Try this: Slip Silk Pillowcase, $79 (Shop Now)

3. If you have dark circles because of increased pigment, use lightening products and sunscreen.

“Sometimes dark circles are caused by increased pigment, either from rubbing or from sun damage,” says Nazarian. “The best treatment for this includes topical lightening agents such as vitamin C, kojic acid, and licorice extract.

These ingredients help decrease skin pigmentation over time, ultimately resulting in the lightening of the dark circles.” And you must wear sunscreen.

“Invest in a broad-spectrum physical sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide,” Tung says.

Try this: Glossier Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen, $34 (Shop Now)

4. Take an antihistamine.

“Most people have darkness under the eyes due to allergies and don't realize it. An antihistamine helps clear that up; I to take a Zyrtec at night,” says Kavita Mariwalla, a dermatologist in West Islip, New York.

“Prep H causes blood vessels on muscle walls to constrict. This will give a slightly longer-lasting effect than putting cucumbers on your eyes but may be irritating for some people. I would only use this for special events,” says Annie Chiu, a dermatologist in North Redondo Beach, California.

Try this: Preparation H Hemorrhoidal Ointment, $6 (Shop Now)

6. Be gentle with your makeup remover.

“Consider your under-eyes as sensitive skin even if you may not necessarily have sensitive skin.

 Undereye skin is among the thinnest on the body, so any trauma or irritation can cause skin inflammation,” says Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

“If you are using a towelette, try one that is fragrance-free, Neutrogena Fragrance-Free Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes, and take gentle strokes in a single direction rather than rubbing back and forth.”