With a little planning and a few cosmetic techniques, you can face the day looking your best and feeling refreshed. First, it helps to understand the common causes of both dark circles and undereye bags.
Causes of Under Eye Area Dark Circles and Bags
Overall, bags under your eyes may be caused by a range of lifestyle and and environmental factors. While bags and dark circles often go together, they have different causes.
Why do circles and bags happen?
The skin in the under-eye area is thinner and more sensitive than the rest of your face. As we age, the skin around the eyes grows even thinner.
Circles under the eyes are the result of the thin, sensitive skin in that area. The dark blood vessels under the delicate eye area are more visible, often causing the appearance of shadows or circles under the eyes.
Bags under eyes and puffy lids are the result of mild swelling from fluid accumulation or retention. According to the Mayo Clinic, the weakening of muscles and skin around the eyes contributes to the appearance of bags as does the natural shifting of facial fat due to aging.
Dark circles and bags around the eyes happen at any age. But both become more common as we get older due to the natural aging process affecting the skin, fat, and muscles in the face. Most adults will face circles and bags at some point in their life.
Common causes of bags under eyes
The good news is that you may prevent both circles and bags depending on the cause. It helps to understand some of the common causes. They include:
- Lack of quality sleep is the most common cause of both dark shadows around the eyes and bags.
- Illness, allergic reaction, and other sources of inflammation and swelling contribute to both, especially bags under the eyes.
- Fluid retention due to consuming too much sodium or sugar contributes to swelling and puffiness.
- Smoking and other tobacco use contribute to dark circles and undereye bags.
- Aging and genetics are why some people have this problem more than others.
- Some medical conditions including thyroid eye disease, dermatomyositis, dermatitis, and renal disease contribute, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Can dark circles and bags be prevented?
Sometimes bags and dark shadows around the eyes are preventable. But in the case of genetics and some diseases, they can’t be prevented. However, you can still take steps toward minimizing their appearance.
In some cases, you may want to consult a board-certified dermatologist for guidance on the best lifestyle changes, products, and therapeutic treatments for your needs.
In some cases, you may need to seek treatment from your doctor if the cause is due to a medical condition or allergy that contributes to dark shadows and swelling in the under-eye area.
Aside from health conditions, there are many things you can do at home that can keep your eye area looking healthy.
Health Tips for Preventing Dark Circles and Under Eye Bags
Sleep is key
Often the best way of targeting eye area circles is to prevent them. Ensuring that you get enough quality, restful sleep is the best way to beat both bags and circles. Everyone looks and feels their best after a restful night.
Sleeping in complete darkness helps you fall asleep faster and also sleep more soundly. Restful sleep decreases your risk of both bags and dark circles.
Try these strategies to get a good night’s sleep
- Plan for 7-8 hours of sleep. Instead of staying up late streaming that binge-worthy series, go to bed on time most nights. If it takes you a long time to fall asleep, you may want to go to bed even earlier.
- Complete darkness provides the most optimal sleep environment. If light seeps into your bedroom through the windows, consider getting light-blocking shades for your window.
- A sleep mask or eye mask for dark circles is ideal for many people since you can easily block light and get restful sleep without investing in more extreme solutions. Light-blocking shades are helpful but not 100% effective. Plus they do not work for ambient light coming from digital displays, TV, and other indoor lights.
Get a sleep mask that blocks light
Blissy sleep masks not only block the light, but they soothe the skin. Made from silk, they feel nice against the skin and won’t tug or pull the skin. Using silk eye masks for dark circles and pillowcases may reduce puffiness and prevent wrinkles, fine lines, creases, and skin irritation.
Many people use moisturizers or skin treatments including vitamins c & e, retinol, eye cream, and other ingredients at night. Silk eye masks and pillowcases are non-absorbent, so they will not rub off your evening skin care treatments.
Some people find using an extra pillow to elevate the head during sleep promotes fluid draining and they wake up with less swelling and under eye circles.
Diet and under eye circles
Pay attention to your nutrition. Both sleeping and eating well can reduce dark circles and undereye bags. Sodium, tobacco, alcohol, and dietary sugar increase the likelihood of swelling, mild inflammation, and fluid retention. Consuming a healthy diet with limited processed sugars and salt promotes good sleep and also helps prevent inflammation and fluid retention.
Watching your diet, especially by limiting salty foods, can help de-puff the eye area. This is because salty foods cause fluid retention which can cause under eye puffiness.
Stay hydrated and maintain an active lifestyle. Getting enough exercise helps promote healthy blood flow, prevents inflammation, and stimulates collagen and elastin production. Dehydration can counterintuitively lead to unnecessary fluid retention which can cause under eye bags.
Wearing sunscreen to protect sensitive skin
During the day, be sure to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect from sun exposure. As we age, collagen production naturally slows. UVA and UVB rays from the sun break down collagen in the skin and cause premature aging.
The combination of restful sleep, an active lifestyle, hydration, and good nutrition improve every aspect of our health, life, and appearance!
Fixing Dark Circles and Bags Cosmetically
Although we can eat healthy foods and get enough sleep most nights, life happens. Once in a while, you may need to skimp on sleep due to a deadline, travel, special occasion, or illness. Here are a few strategies to help if you wake up with bags or dark circles.
Products for under eye bags
Using cosmetic products regularly like applying under eye patches or an eye mask for dark circles can help. Especially if they contain ingredients like green tea, ginkgo biloba, caffeine, vitamin e, vitamin c, or hyaluronic acid. These ingredients may help visually plump the skin around the eyes, decrease the swelling of the blood vessels, and promote the release of retained fluids.
Applying cold to the skin around the eyes helps reduce swelling and under eye puffiness. A cold temperature helps the blood vessels constrict. Try a cold compress, chilled teaspoon, cucumber juice or slices, or chilled tea bags. Place one on each eye while you lie down and relax for a few minutes.
Using makeup to conceal under eye circles
If you wear makeup, strategic use of concealer can hide dark circles or make them look less obvious. Depending on your skin type and complexion, use concealer with yellow, pink, or peach hues to counteract the blue or purple appearance of the dark shadows.
Apply gently without tugging or rubbing the skin. A cosmetic sponge or makeup brush is more gentle than using fingers. Apply on the lower eyelids and blend out with your sponge or brush.
Catch up on a solid night's sleep
Aim to sleep a little extra the following night so you wake refreshed. Blissy sleep masks are one of the most effective and affordable ways to pamper your skin while improving your sleep environment. By blocking light, you sleep better and longer. You'll wake up looking and feeling more refreshed.