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Why We Get Eye Bags...and What to Do About Them

Why We Get Eye Bags...and What to Do About Them

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Eye bags: you wake up, and there they are, making you look sleepy and not at all ready to take on the day. Everyone gets eye bags from time to time, and some people even battle them on a daily basis. If you’ve ever been frustrated by under-eye bags or dark circles, then you’re probably curious about why you get them—and what you can do to get rid of them when they pop up. While it’s not always possible to banish bags before you head out of the house to start the day, there are some strategies for making them less noticeable that could help you look more rested and alert. Let’s take a comprehensive look at what’s behind this common problem, and learn more about how to get rid of eye bags.

Causes of Under-eye Bags and Dark Circles

So what causes eye bags? There are a surprising number of reasons you can develop temporary or permanent puffiness and dark circles under the eyes. The skin in this area is very thin, soft, and delicate, and is prone to sagging, puffiness, and discoloration. Here are some of the many reasons you could be waking up with bags and dark circles under your eyes.

Insufficient or Poor-Quality Sleep

This is the classic cause of bags under the eyes, and it takes on special significance because under-eye bags make you look tired. When they’re caused by insufficient sleep, or any nights spent tossing and turning, big eye bags often serve as a reminder of the sleep you didn’t get.

Your Sleeping Position

Not only will the amount of sleep affect whether or not you get eye bags, your sleeping position could be part of the problem as well! The forces of gravity can pull fluid into the lower eyelids as you sleep if you prefer to sleep on your side or your stomach. If you can, give sleeping on your back a try—and prop yourself up with an extra pillow to avoid fluid collection under the eyes.

Leaving Makeup On

You shouldn’t leave makeup on while you sleep for a number of reasons, and puffy eyes are one of them. The makeup can irritate your eyes overnight, leading to puffiness and eye bags. Use a gentle cleanser that’s free of harsh chemicals in the morning before you apply your makeup, and right before bed to remove it. Sweet almond oil also makes a great makeup remover—it’s gentle and hypoallergenic.

Irritation from Skincare Products

If you’re using a lot of products that contain chemicals, your skin could be reacting to irritants in these products. Switching to all-natural skincare solutions will help keep your skin calm and irritant free. Take care to rinse off cleansers, shampoos, and conditioners to further prevent skin irritation!


Hormones dictate many changes in the body, and can cause under-eye bags, especially during pregnancy and menstruation. While it’s difficult to prevent puffy eyes from shifts in hormones, you can try using some natural remedies to banish eye bags when they appear.

Eating Salty Foods

We retain water when we eat too much salt, and that water often gets retained in undesirable places—like underneath the eyes. If you have a diet that is high in salt, or just once in a while indulge in an overly salty meal, you may wake up with puffy eyes caused by fluid retention.

Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Having a few drinks with friends is a lot of fun, but your body isn’t such a fan of this activity. Alcohol is very dehydrating to the body, which causes it to react and store fluid for future use. Much like eating too much sodium, the retained water from drinking too much alcohol often accumulates under the eyes, and causes puffiness the next day. If you do drink, be sure to stay hydrated with lots of water between drinks to help fight off eye bags and dehydration.


Smoking is incredibly toxic to your body, and you will start to notice changes in your skin from the chemicals and carcinogens contained in cigarettes. In addition to their aging effects, which contribute to the breakdown of collagen, dry skin, and wrinkles, cigarettes can weaken the skin under the eyes, leading to eye bags and dark circles. Quitting will help preserve your skin’s youth and beauty in addition to your overall health!


Puffy eyes are often caused by seasonal allergies—the irritation, rubbing, and watery eyes all play a role in developing eye bags. If you use over-the-counter or prescription medications, these usually contain antihistamines that will help control puffiness from allergies.

Skin Dermatitis

Skin irritation can play a major role in eye bags, since this irritation can cause puffiness, redness, and rubbing of the eye area. If you suffer from skin problems in the lower eyelid area, consider switching your skincare products or seeing a dermatologist, and try not to mess with the skin in this area—it will only make the irritation worse.


While stress doesn’t usually cause eye bags on its own, it can play a role in puffiness, whether it causes you to smoke or drink more, sleep less, or eat more salty foods. Stress can be immensely damaging to your overall health, so if you’re noticing that you have a chronic stress problem, it may be time to take a look at what you can cut back on to give yourself more breathing room and relaxation.


As we age, the skin and muscles under the eyes begin to weaken. When that happens, fat beneath the eyes can begin to bulge and protrude, causing big eye bags. While it’s not possible to stop the effects of aging, sticking to a healthy lifestyle and maintaining good skincare habits can help slow the process down.


Unfortunately, for some people, dark circles and puffy eye bags simply run in the family. While it is possible to make them less noticeable, genetics can play a significant role in why eye bags develop and how difficult they are to treat.

 Why We Get Eye Bags...and What to Do About Them  - Eye


Treating and Preventing Bags and Dark Circles

Now that we know just how many lifestyle choices and health problems can cause puffy eyes, it’s time to figure out how to get rid of eye bags! Here are some natural remedies you can try at home safely.

Drink Some Water

Staying hydrated is critical to preventing and treating puffiness under the eyes. Though it’s counterintuitive, drinking enough water will help prevent water retention under the eyes, since the body does not feel the need to store fluid for later use. Try drinking at least 2 liters of water a day, and drink some when you first wake up in the morning. Pay special attention to your water intake when you eat salty food or drink alcohol to help prevent fluid retention!

Use Eye Soothers

One of the classic treatments for puffy eyes actually does work—eye soothers can be great eye bags treatments. Slices of chilled cucumber or raw potato can significantly reduce puffiness, as can cold spoons or tea bags. Wet tea bags contain antioxidants and help reduce swelling and redness.

Try a Neti Pot

When you’re trying to figure out how to get rid of eye bags, your sinuses are probably the last thing on your mind. However, they could be causing pressure and swelling that can influence eye puffiness. A neti pot is a natural salt water remedy that is used to flush moisture and mucus from one nostril out the other. A neti pot could be especially helpful if your eye bags are related to allergies.

Look at Your Diet

Our diet often contributes to skin and health problems, and eye bags are no exception. Try reducing salt levels in your diet, eat more fruits and vegetables (especially hydrating varieties!) and reduce your alcohol intake. You may find that your skin looks smoother and clearer, and your eyes are less puffy.

Get Some Sleep

Since one of the leading causes of big eye bags is lack of sleep, consider going to bed early. While you might not be able to stop yourself from tossing and turning or getting up in the middle of the night, listen to your body. Try to get enough sleep, and if you need to, take a nap to help make up for your sleep deficit.

Cover it Up

When all else fails, non-comedogenic makeup can cover up the evidence of under-eye bags, and make you feel more confident about taking on your day. Obviously, this won’t fix the underlying causes of eye bags, but it can be helpful on days when natural remedies aren’t working, or you simply don’t have the time.

Commit to Natural Skincare

In order to avoid irritation to your skin, it’s a good idea to commit to a natural skincare regimen. Try cleansing and moisturizing twice a day using a gentle cleanser and either a skin serum or a cream moisturiser. You can add other steps, but these are the basics of any skincare routine!

Protect Your Skin From The Sun!

The sun can be very damaging to your skin, causing skin cancer and early aging. The UV rays from the sun contribute to collagen breakdown in the skin and sagging under the eyes. This is why it’s so important to wear sunscreen when you are going to be exposed to the sun’s rays—even for a little while!


Choose Natural Solutions

No matter how you proceed with eye bags treatments, it’s important to always try natural solutions. Eye bags are mostly a cosmetic problem, and while they can be annoying and frustrating, it’s not worth trying a dangerous or chemical-based treatment—Mother Nature has the answers. With all the different methods available for reducing eye puffiness, you’re sure to find something that works for you!

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