While dark circles and redness can be covered up with concealer, bags under eyes are often a touch more troublesome. Not only are they difficult to deal with, they make you seem tired or upset: probably not how you want to look. While bags under the eyes can be caused by a variety of reasons, “knowing thy enemy” is the first step to destroying it. Here are a few of the causes of eye bags, as well as some suggestions for minimizing them.
Bags Under Eyes Causes
For many people, under eye bags are caused by allergies, poor diet, lack of sleep, and excess alcohol. Allergies cause us to rub our eyes when exposed to an allergen, which makes them itchy and watery; but rubbing your eyes can cause irritation to the sensitive skin under your eyes, making it inflamed and puffy as well as droopy and thin. When it comes to diet, eating too much salt and not enough water is just asking for fluid retention, which not only causes water weight, but also baggy eyes.
If you’re not drinking enough water, the same rule applies. Fluid retention is the chief cause of eye bags, and dehydration definitely makes it worse. Increasing your water intake is one of the only best ways to improve under eye bags, as dermatologists understand very little about how to treat them. Alcohol, like salt, makes us dehydrated, causes water retention, and, you guessed it—eye bags.
Of course, nothing causes eye bags so much as natural aging. If you’re predisposed to eye bags when you’re younger, chances are they will worsen with age. If you’ve never had eye bags in your life, you may find that changes as you pass 30. Making good lifestyle choices early on is a good way to hedge your bets when it comes to eye bags—proper hydration, a balanced diet, and prudent partying all go a long way towards preventing some of the common effects of aging.
And while bags may make you seem tired, sleep actually has very little to do with it. Getting adequate zzz’s is important—and sleep deprivation makes bags worse—but it’s unlikely to cure your eye bags full stop. The truth is, eye bags are the result of pernicious gravity. As we age, the septum surrounding the eyeball weakens, causing the layer of fat that normally makes you look fresh and healthy to sink forward and droop. As the muscles can’t hold the skin up as they once did, the skin itself loses collagen and with it the elasticity that keeps wrinkles and sagging at bay. While this change occurs, the fat underneath your eyes begins to “droop,” often traveling downwards, forming bags.
If none of these factors are causing your eye bags, it may be that you don’t have them at all—puffy eyes and dark circles can accentuate the hollows under our eyes, making it seem as though we have bags, when what we really have is something related, but quite different.
How To Get Rid of Bags
While there isn’t a cure-all for eye bags, there are many products on the market designed to do what the muscles around your eyes should do: lift the skin. Eye serums are the best way to do this. Lightweight, easy on the sensitive skin around the eyes, and packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and lifting ingredients, eye serums and certain creams can do wonders—if only temporarily—for your eyes.
When choosing a serum or cream to remove bags under eyes, look for three things in particular:
- ingredients that are hydrating
- anti-oxidants to guard against free radicals in the environment, and
- peptides, which encourage collagen production and cell turnover while actively firming and lifting the skin
Eye Cream Reviews
Philosophy’s When Hope Is Not Enough serum is free of synthetic dyes or fragrances, parabens, suflates, and other nasties, while containing soothing, rejuvenating antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E to prevent environmental damage, along with Pentapeptide-3, a peptide which improves elasticity, firmness, and gives skin a much-needed lift. One reviewer writes that “I love using a tiny bit under my eyes in the morning, the puffiness and circles nearly disappear!” while another swears by it: “I cannot say enough about this product! It does exactly what it promises.” (Boxersmom, Sephora)
Givenchy’s No Surgetics Plasti Sculpt Eye Lifting Gel promises to target puffy, tired-looking eyes, tone eyelids, firm and drain fluid from bags surrounding the eyes. Caffeine and micro-peptides do the legwork on this one, firming and depuffing eye bags after a few days of use; green tea derivatives also firm up the under eye skin. A reviewer on Sephora writes, “I wasn’t certain it would work very well because I have such a bad problem, but this product is fantastic! I have a bad problem with puffiness both under my eyes and upper eyelids and decided to try Givenchy eye lifted gel…It only took about 2 minutes until I saw a visible decrease in both the undereye AND lid puffiness!” (Perfumegourmand) Another user writes, “I was fighting my dark circles with good results, so I started to treat my under eye bags…That’s how I discovered Givenchy Sculpt Eye…I love it. You can feel and see the difference after a few days.”
Not everyone is as satisfied with the product. Tenngal writes that Givenchy Sculpt Eye produced “no visible results…I have fine lines around my eyes and I’m always on the lookout for a product that will lessen the appearance of those lines.” However, this particular product targets eye bags and dark circles, rather than fine lines, so you may want to use this and another product if you also suffer from fine lines.
Boscia’s Restorative Eye Treatment for Under Eye Bags targets eye bags specifically while protecting the eye area from future damage. Concentrated with complex peptides, this treatment combats under eye bags while simultaneously diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Sodium hyaluronate, a hyaluronic acid, provides intense hydration—it can hold up to 1,000 times more moisture that its weight. Antioxidants Vitamin E and Canadian willowherb extract protect skin from free radical in the environment, great if you live in a polluted or urban environment. While some users were disappointed with the results, such as Golfer1, who thought it was “too thick” and experience little results, another reviewer wrote ecstatically that “I’ve been using it for TWO DAYS and the circles and bags under my eyes are almost completely gone!” (Sephora)
What works for one person may be ineffective for another. Each person’s skin is different—some may react well to one product, while another may experience no changes at all. This is why testing products and obtaining samples is key to finding the best product for your skin. Cosmetics can be expensive, and investing in a cream or serum that doesn’t work for you may mean another one won’t be in your budget for a while. You can make sure you’re getting the best under eye cream for your eyes by researching and sampling until you do.
Watch your diet and alcohol intake, make sure you’re getting enough water and sleep, and test until you find the right product. If that doesn’t get rid of bags under eyes for you, it should certainly help to reduce them.
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