Dark circles and under eye bags aren’t usually a medical concern, but that doesn’t make them any less frustrating. They are one of the most common signs of skin aging and can make your entire face look old.
There are multiple potential causes of under eye bags, making them a challenge to deal with to say the least. However, when it comes to under eye bags and aging, there are some common “culprits” involved. These “culprits” can be addressed, which means you don’t have to deal with bags forever!
The even better news is that you do not need harsh chemicals or invasive treatments to fade the appearance of bags, dark circles, etc. Nature has already provided effective solutions— you just need to know what to look for.
Main Causes of Under Eye Bags
We’ve probably all dealt with baggy, puffy eyes at some point in time. Simply not getting enough sleep can cause your eyes to look dark and swollen, although this usually goes away with a nap or a good night’s rest.
But what about under eye bags that seem like they are here to stay?
On rare occasions, constant swelling under your eyes could be a sign of a medical condition like mononucleosis, Graves’ disease, or even some type of eye infection. But more often than not, they are a sign of something else: aging.
As you get older, your skin ages along with you. This aging can be accelerated by many factors like sun damage, diet, and environmental pollutants, but it happens to us all eventually.
Essentially, the tissues around your eyes start to weaken as they age. This causes sagging and allows the fat normally found around your eyes to shift into the lower area, making it look puffy and swollen. Fluid can also gather in this under-eye area, which further contributes to puffiness.
Even though these effects are all lumped under the term “aging”, there are specific reasons they occur.
Most notably, two very important skin proteins known as collagen and elastin decline in your body with age. Normally, they work together to keep skin looking plump, thick, and firm. When they degrade, your skin starts to look more saggy, loose, and wrinkled— and bags begin to form.
Other Causes of Under Eye Bags
The loss of collagen and elastin combined with weakening tissues is the main cause of age-related under eye bags (plus dark circles, crow’s feet, fine lines, etc.).
However, there are some other factors that may be causing or contributing to bags under your eyes. Some of them are easier to address than skin aging, so be sure to consider whether any of the following may be affecting you:
- Chronic lack of sleep
- Too much sodium in the diet (causes fluid retention and puffiness)
- Over-consuming alcohol
- Genetics (under eye bags may run in your family)
Conventional Treatment for Under Eye Bags
Before getting into natural ways to address under eye bags, here’s a quick look at common conventional treatments— and their downsides.
First up are the nonsurgical options: fillers, chemical peels, and laser resurfacing.
A filler is a treatment that injects a material (usually hyaluronic acid) into your under-eye area. When done by a skilled practitioner, fillers can make under eye bags much less noticeable, but you’ll also be at risk for side effects like pain, bruising, pierced blood vessel, and eye complications. Plus, the results only last 6-12 months.
Chemical peels and laser resurfacing use different methods to remove the top layer of skin cells, resulting in skin that looks brighter and tighter.
Both of these treatments damage your skin and can cause redness, rawness, swelling, and sometimes bleeding, usually temporarily. For many people, laser resurfacing can be cost prohibitive, while chemical peels often contain toxins and may cause scarring.
A final more drastic option is to get a lower eyelid lift known as a blepharoplasty. This can have pretty significant results, but there is recovery time needed from surgery. Also, the cost isn’t usually covered by insurance.
If none of these treatments sound good to you, read on for natural options.
Short-Term Remedies for Under Eye Bags
Getting to the root causes of under eye bags is important if you want to diminish their appearance permanently. However, there are also some effective at-home remedies that will quickly lessen puffiness and swelling while you work on the deeper issues.
Highly effective long-term solutions are coming up next, but here are some shorter-term ones to get you started:
- Use Cold Compresses— Chilling the area under your eyes is a highly effective way to reduce puffiness immediately. Try using a small ice pack wrapped in a cloth or a washcloth dipped in cold water.
- Place Tea Bags on Your Eyes— Tea bags are a “secret weapon” against bags and puffiness. Both green and black tea have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the look of swollenness. They both also contain caffeine, which works as a vasoconstrictor to help with bags AND dark circles. Simply steep two tea bags (not decaf) for 3-5 minutes, chill in the fridge, and place over your eyes for 15-20 minutes.
- Clean Out Your Sinuses— Congestion and allergies can cause or worsen under eye bags. To make sure allergens aren’t a culprit, try flushing out your sinuses with a neti pot. If it seems to help, you can do this regularly.
- Apply a Chamomile Eye Bag— Chamomile has documented anti-inflammatory properties, much like tea does, and is an old remedy for eye swelling. As long as you aren’t allergic to it, you can steep chamomile tea bags, chill them, and apply to your closed eyes.
- Try the Old Cucumber Trick— Cucumbers over the eyes have become mainly a stereotype facial treatment, but don’t discount them! Studies have found that they contain antioxidants that calm inflammation and reduce puffiness, provide hydration, and even have anti-aging activity. Chill slices before laying them over your eyes for the maximum effect.
For more at-home treatments, read about other natural ways to get rid of bags under the eyes here.
And keep reading for longer-lasting solutions that harness the power of nature.
Long-Term, Natural Solutions for Under Eye Bags
To truly make the skin around your eyes look younger and brighter long-term, you have to combat the root causes of under eye bags. This does take time (remember, nature doesn’t do instant), but it’s the most long-lasting approach.
There are four key aspects to focus on to effectively diminish the appearance of under eye bags. Each is detailed below along with the best natural approach and skincare ingredients for the job.
Boost Collagen Levels
As you may recall, collagen is one of the most critical proteins for young-looking skin, including around your eyes. The fact that it degrades and production declines as you get older is one cause of bags, dark circles, and wrinkles.
In order to “turn back the clock”, it’s essential to boost dropping collagen levels.
Now, in spite of what you may have heard, merely applying collagen products to your skin will not be very effective. The truth of the matter is that collagen particles are too big for your skin to absorb, so using it in a skincare product is simply a waste of money.
What you can do is make use of ingredients that have been shown to boost collagen, and there’s no better example than vitamin C.
Vitamin C is found abundantly in certain fruits and vegetables. Research shows that it promotes collagen synthesis when used topically and when consumed and can also improve skin thickness. It even helps to calm inflammation, which is especially good for under-eye puffiness.
Amla (aka Indian gooseberry) is a great example of a high vitamin C fruit that you can eat and also apply via skincare products. Camu camu and mango seed butter are other natural ingredients rich in vitamin C.
For the best results, look for an eye cream with multiple vitamin C ingredients and add more of this nutrient to your diet.
Boost Elastin Levels
Alongside collagen loss, elastin degradation is one of the main causes of under eye bags and other signs of aging. You can think of it as the “anti-sag” protein that helps your skin keep its shape. Losing it leads to saggy, droopy-looking skin, which is a recipe for bags under your eyes.
Elastin levels can be more challenging to address than collagen levels. Up until a few years ago, there weren’t many natural ingredients known to boost elastin.
Fortunately, that all changed with the discovery of maple leaf extract.
Researchers from the University of Rhode Island studied extracts from red maple leaves to see if they had anti-aging benefits for skin. Their findings were pretty astonishing to say the least!
They discovered that there were specific compounds in the leaves known as glucitol-core-containing gallotannins (GCGs) that actually blocked the activity of elastase, the enzyme that degrades elastin. This gives maple leaf extract huge potential for protecting the highly valuable elastin in your skin and fending off under eye bags.
For the best results, use maple leaf extract alongside vitamin C ingredients to boost elastin and collagen at once.
Protect Your Skin with Antioxidants
We’ve just gone over how collagen and elastin loss are major causes of under eye bags. There are ways, as noted, to boost levels of both these skin proteins, but here’s something else to consider: What causes collagen and elastin to decline in the first place?
The simple answer to this question is aging, but that’s a little too general.
Yes, your body does naturally produce less collagen and elastin the older you get. However, there are other factors that have a huge impact on how quickly collagen and elastin degrade, and the biggest by far is free radical damage.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that can “attack” and damage proteins and lipids in your skin. They are a huge contributor to the degradation of both collagen and elastin, accelerating the aging process in the skin around your eyes.
There are many ways free radicals can be generated in your skin, but UV damage is the #1 culprit. Getting too much sunlight (and therefore UV rays) causes something known as photodamage that harms your skin at the deepest level.
The best way to combat free radicals and to protect your skin from photodamage is to regularly apply antioxidants. (You can eat antioxidant rich foods, too, for even more of a boost.)
Brighten Your Skin Naturally
If you are dealing with under eye bags, chances are good you also have dark or dull areas under your eyes as well. Part of this can come from the shadow that bags cast, but it’s also a result of your skin losing its natural glow over time.
Along with addressing the causes of under eye bags, using skin-brightening ingredients will really help the skin around your eyes to look youthful and fresh.
The good news is that many vitamin C and antioxidant ingredients double as brighteners. They both help to renew skin cells, which rejuvenates the outer layer of your skin and makes it look brighter.
The other type of ingredient to look for is quality moisturizers. You may not immediately associate moisturizers with brighter-looking skin, but dryness usually equals dullness as far as your complexion is concerned. And the skin under your eyes is particularly in need of hydration, since it doesn’t have any oil glands.
Look for natural plant-based moisturizers like mango seed butter, rosehip seed oil, and evening primrose oil. Not only do they contain hydrating fatty acids, they also have antioxidants and vitamins to further brighten skin.
Putting it All Together in One Eye Cream
If you are tired of dealing with under eye bags and don’t want to go the chemical treatment route, look into the Age-Defying Eye Cream from Purity Woods.
This carefully formulated eye cream brings together every aspect of addressing under eye bags, dark circles, crow’s feet, and more. It’s full of vitamin C ingredients like mango seed butter, elastin-boosting maple leaf extract, antioxidant-rich extracts like sumac berry, and superb moisturizers like rosehip seed oil.
The entire formula is USDA Certified Organic and sourced from the most effective botanical ingredients— no fillers, synthetic additives, toxins, or GMOs. It’s effective AND very gentle on the delicate skin around your eyes.
Learn more about the Age-Defying Eye Cream here, and treat the skin around your eyes with the care it needs.