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How to Get Rid of Bags Under the Eyes: 13 Easy, Natural Ways

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How to get rid of bags under the eyes - Dr. Axe

Whether you are in your 20s or are a more mature adult, the last thing you want are bags under your eyes. While they typically are not cause for any alarm, dark circles around the eyes simply make you feel and look older — something no one wants.

More common as you age is under-eye puffiness — also referred to as bags under the eyes, puffy eyes and dark circles under the eyes. It’s usually not a problem that requires medical attention, but the question is, how to get rid of bags under eyes?

To answer that question, you first have to ask how do we get these unsightly bags in the first place? There are many causes, but generally skin tissues around the eyes and eyelids weaken and sag, causing fluid to accumulate beneath the eyes, which creates puffiness under the eyes and a swollen appearance.

Things like seasonal allergies, eczema, water retention and sleeping face down can aggravate the condition, with heredity playing a role as well. And let’s not forget some self-inflicted behaviors like smoking, drugs and alcohol.

Fortunately, by changing certain habits and taking certain lifestyle and dietary steps, you can get rid of those bags under the eyes for good. Let’s dig a little deeper.

How to Get Rid of Bags Under Eyes — 13 Ways

Bags under the eyes are a common development of age and a frequent complaint among patients who no longer feel as youthful as they once did. To describe what happens a bit more, normal fat that helps support the eye sometimes moves into the lower eyelid, which causes the lid to appear puffy. Additionally, fluid may accumulate in the area below your eyes, which adds to the swelling.

How to get rid of bags under your eyes? There are numerous natural things you can do, from eliminating some bad habits to at-home remedies, that can help reduce the appearance of bags under eyes.

1. Take Care of Your Allergies

You are probably well aware of when your allergies flame up, as allergy season and watery, puffy eyes are inevitable for many. Try natural remedies, such as essential oils for allergies, to help manage them and catch them before they start. Also, have a small vial of an allergy essential blend handy since for some allergies can sneak up when you least expect it.

2. Take It Easy on the Salt

Salt is most often linked to high blood pressure, but did you know that all that sodium can cause fluid retention and lead to puffiness under the eyes? If you use salt, use pure Himalayan sea salt, but only a little bit. Avoid high salty foods, like pizza and some soups. Opt for fresh vegetables, in particular celery, which can help curb your desire for salt!

3. Exercise Those Bags Away

Exercise is a natural way to reduce the signs of aging and can promote a youthful glow to the skin, but the area around your eyes will benefit from special facial exercises. Licensed aesthetician and author of The Yoga Facelift, Marie-Veronique Nadeau explains that yoga for the face involves slow exercises of the facial muscles to help tone and tighten them. (1) Using light pressure from your fingers as resistance, the exercises involve various facial expressions and pressure.

Let’s not forget “regular” yoga and how it can benefit you as well. The inverted poses, such as shoulder stands and back bends, can help increase circulation to the face, which carries away excess fluid and helps relieve swelling.

4. What Is Your Sleep Position?

Sleeping on your back can prevent gravity from causing fluid buildup around the eyes. Consider adding an extra pillow under your head as well, but make sure it is a pillow that is effective for good sleep — for if you can’t sleep, that can add to the problem of dark circles under the eyes.

5. Try a Neti Pot

Have you heard of a neti pot? This is an ancient remedy that you can do as part of your daily routine to help combat those puffy eyes. Originating in India in Ayurvedic medicine, a neti pot looks like a small teapot and can be found at most health food stores or online. It can help flush out all that extra moisture in your sinuses from seasonal allergies, colds or infections.

Simply pour salt water into one nostril and let it drain out the other. I usually just do this over the bathroom sink. It feels odd at first, but it is actually very cleansing and refreshing.

6. Remove Your Makeup Before Going to Bed

Leaving your eye makeup on can irritate your eyes, causing them to water and and get puffy. Make sure to gently remove your eye makeup before hitting the hay to help eliminate any added irritation around the eyes.

7. Limit or Eliminate Alcohol

Alcohol dehydrates your body and skin. This dehydration can cause the delicate area around your eyes to appear sunken and dark. Also, alcohol can cause bloodshot, tired eyes. Take it easy on the alcohol by having no more than one glass per day. I would suggest drinking lots of water instead. You will feel fresher, your eyes will be wide open and the skin around your eyes will glow because it’s more hydrated.

8. Put Down Those Cigarettes for Good!

Did you know that smoking cigarettes dries out and weakens the skin on your face as well as your whole body? It also causes premature aging around the eyes in particular. The chemicals found in cigarettes are toxic and can cause irritation around the eyes, which could result in dark circles or undereye bags in addition to a wrinkled, droopy appearance. If addiction has got you in its grips, you may want to try some natural approaches to quitting smoking.How to Get Rid of Bags Under Eyes - Dr.Axe

9. Try a Cold Compress … and Cucumbers

If your eyes are swollen and puffy, try a cold compress. Not only can this help reduce puffy eyes, it can be very relaxing which adds to a youthful appearance. You can achieve this by using chilled spoons on top of your eyes, slices of cucumbers, or even chilled, dampened tea bags with a drop of lavender essential oil added. The cool temperature is what makes this home remedy effective.

10. Watch Out for That Sunshine

Overdoing it in the sun can make the skin around your eyes sag and wrinkle as well as cause dehydration of the skin. A mineral-based or homemade sunscreen, a good pair of UV-protected sunglasses, and a hat can do wonders to help protect your face from those harmful rays, ultimately keeping the skin around the eyes from wrinkling and darkening due to the effects of the sun.

11. Have Your Cover Up Handy

While you can’t necessarily remove dark circles, you can often hide them by lightening the area with a concealer. There are some mineral-based options available, but you can also make your own right at home. You can choose options that match your skin tone and then simply apply it by lightly patting it onto the skin around the eyes. Do not rub it into the skin as this may cause further irritation. Also, do not use too much. You want a natural appearance to the skin. Too much can make dark circles, wrinkles and crepey skin more prominent.

12. Use an All-Natural Eye Cream

Since aging typically causes dehydration of the skin due to lack of collagen, moisturizing is essential. There are lots of creams available, but I recommend a homemade eye cream. You can try this at night, in the morning or both. (2)

You can also try my baggy eye solution in the evening right before bed. Containing rosehip oil, lavender and lemon essential oils, and aloe vera, it will help lower inflammation and regenerate your skin.

13. Get More Collagen into Your Diet

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It’s found in our muscles, bones, skin and tendons. It gives our skin strength and elasticity, and helps replace dead skin cells. Our body’s collagen production naturally begins to slow down as we age. You can thank this process for undereye bags.

Increasing collagen levels can help your skin look firmer, increase smoothness, and help your skin cells keep renewing and repairing normally. Try a chicken bone broth or collagen supplements, like collagen protein powder, to increase your collagen intake.

Related: Best Face Yoga Exercises and Their Anti-Aging Benefits

Symptoms and Causes of Bags Under the Eyes

Bags under eyes can include mild swelling, saggy or loose skin and/or dark circles. While you may not like the way these bags look, they are usually harmless and do not require medical attention; however, if you experience severe and persistent bags accompanied by redness, itching or pain, you may want to see your doctor. Also, if you notice redness, itching or pain on other parts of your body, such as your legs, you could be having an allergic reaction and need medical attention. Your doctor will want to rule out other possible causes that can contribute to the swelling, such as thyroid disease or an infection.

As you age, the tissue structures and muscles supporting your eyelids weaken with the loss of collagen. This weakening of the tissue can cause the skin to begin sagging. The fat that is normally found in the area around the eyes may move into the area below your eyes, accumulating fluid and making the under-eye area appear puffy or swollen. Some things that can make this happen are fluid retention due to changes in weather, hormone levels, eating salty foods, not getting enough sleep, allergies, dermatitis — especially if puffiness is accompanied by redness and itching — and heredity. (3)

Epidermal Growth Factor … Huh?

The Journal of The Society of Translational Oncology explains how cell multiplication is essential during all aspects of life to restrict growth to the few places where it is needed, such as wounds, bruising or any inflammation that needs to be healed. This can include bags under the eyes.

Epidermal growth factor (EGF) is part of a complex network of growth factors and receptors that together help to modulate the growth of cells. EGF is released by cells and then is picked up either by the cell itself, stimulating its own growth, or by neighboring cells, stimulating their ability to divide. In most cases, EGF is very beneficial.

Another study shared information regarding use of a topical serum containing epidermal growth factor (EGF) and its ability to minimize the appearance of under-eye bags. Sixteen subjects were tested and all but two subjects reported improvement at their final visit. Improvement was quantified as 76–100 percent by two subjects, 50–75 percent by three subjects and 25–49 percent by nine subjects. Eleven subjects claimed that the bags under their eyes were definitely milder at the end of the trial compared to the first visit. Seven subjects reported greater satisfaction with their overall facial appearance.

Ultimately, the study concluded that the results offer evidence that topical EGF can reduce the appearance of under-eye bags. It can also help eliminate fine lines. EGF can be found in some over-the-counter products such as EGF serum. Your dermatologist might recommend it as a conventional treatment. (4, 5, 6, 7)

The Risks of Natural vs. Unnatural Ways to ‘Cure’ Baggy Eyelids

The skin around the eyes is very delicate. Make sure to take special care when applying anything around or near your eyes. Most natural methods as described above shouldn’t cause any problems. But if the puffiness worsens or you notice any irritation, see your doctor.

Depending on the cause of your baggy eyelids, “unnatural” or conventional treatment methods might include over-the-counter or prescription creams or procedures such as Botox injections. Allergic reactions might occur, so contact your doctor if you experience any further discoloration or irritation. (8)

A plastic surgery procedure known as blepharoplasty is another conventional treatment option that might be suggested by your dermatologist if other methods don’t seem to help. But keep in mind that any surgery can be risky, and cosmetic surgery might not be covered by your health insurance. Discuss the risks and benefits and any concerns you might have with your dermatologist or plastic surgeon. (9)

Final Thoughts

  • There are many causes, but generally skin tissues around the eyes and eyelids weaken and sag, causing fluid to accumulate beneath the eyes, which creates puffiness under the eyes and a swollen appearance.
  • Seasonal allergies, eczema, water retention and sleeping face down can aggravate the condition, with heredity playing a role as well.
  • Smoking, drugs and alcohol can also age skin faster.
  • There are numerous natural things you can do, from eliminating some bad habits to at-home remedies, that can help reduce the appearance of bags under the eyes.
  • Conventional treatment options recommended by a dermatologist might include creams, Botox injections and cosmetic surgery.

Read Next: Sun Spots + 5 Natural Ways to Help Treat Sun-Damaged Skin

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25 Comments

  1. GenaT on

    Just saying, my mother, who passed away in 1999, had read somewhere to use Preparation H, yeah the hemorrhoid treatment, to treat her eye bags. She had not mentioned anything about it to me, but when I saw her one morning, her eyes were swollen almost shut. When she fessed up about what she had done, I wanted her to go to the doctor, as I felt she had had an allergic reaction, but I guess she was too embarrassed to admit to the doctor what she had done. I honestly don’t know what is in Preparation H, but it seems to be to be a bit reckless to try a hemorrhoid treatment near your eyes. Although I had been concerned, I could not help but laugh at the same time. Thank God, her reaction had been temporary.

    Reply
    • Cece on

      FYI….Her reaction was likely either an allergy/sensitivity to an ingredient in prep h – or maybe it was just too drying for her eyes, if skin gets very dry around the eyes swelling will occur but only if it’s incredibly dry. The reason Prep H was hyped to be used for eyes is because it constricts blood flow/reduces swelling on tissue….the medication doesn’t know if those tissues are on the face or it the butt :) Though not all variations of Prep H contain the same things any more…some prep h these days are just soothing and contain witch hazel, and etc, others used to contain a steroid. Fortunately I am not familiar with the product :) Though I wanted to explain why it got hyped up as useful for eye bags… old variations of prep h used to reduce the swelling of the human tissue…regardless of where those tissues are :)

      Reply
  2. Rose Brown on

    Truly a great and awesome powerful source of information. Thank the Lord for doctors like you who cares a lot about people either by information and products offered to buy for people who need and afford to pay. Fixed budget individuals seniors like me can benefit these amazing informational truths. May you mighty prosper in your work and business. In Him.

    Reply
  3. Shiyafudheen.abbas on

    Dear Sir,

    My name is shiyafudheen iam working in Doha Qatar as a Building service Designer my age is 43 my problem is under aye darkness 10 years iam facing this problem so many remedy & medicine iam using I didn’t get good result up to now if u don’t mind can u give to me good advice and good medicine how to remove under aye darkness

    regards
    shiyaf

    Reply
  4. Tari on

    Would love that make your own eye cream recipe you mention😁
    Also I use your collagen 5 blend and protein.
    Is there another way to combat scaly dry skin both my husband and I battle here in South Florida?
    Yes we stay very hydrated 🤔
    Thanks for all the help you offer.
    Tari

    Reply
  5. Emily Medina on

    just signed in kickstarterketo. Just bought your book keto diet Love IT! on day 5 doing ok, Have 20lbs + and alot of health issues most important hard to treat osteoarthritis, diabetes, HBP atherosclerosis inherited by Dad he died 51 I tried ate good nomeats no fats rand twice a day. But ill at 49 had to stop working stresswork life. BPS High chest pain. under control since 2009. Now its thearthritis. Here I am after your informercials so my biggestgoal is to rid the inflammation.I have been using the tumeric supplements. Thanks Love your Book what a admiring inspiration You and your mom.

    Reply
  6. Jocelyn on

    Im 12 about to be 13 in less than two weeks and my eye bags and dark circles are horrendus. I dont smile in any photos because it shows my horrible eye bags. It dosent help that im pale so my dark circles stand out. I tried special creams and even cold spoons and tea bags, nothing works. Is there anything that will help me not have black luggage under my eyes?

    Reply
    • Trina on

      Dear one, at 12-13 (of course now you are 15-16) there is something that you are not getting, or getting too much of the wrong thing in your gut. Start with natural methods of healing your gut and you will see a great improvement in the rest of your body. I used the Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates and Linda Schatz. Its on the net as an entire system step by step but you can also buy one of her/their books, very inexpensively at Amazon, and do it yourself.( I did it with edition 6 and the food suggestions. I didn’t have money to buy into any of her suggested products, so I know it can be done with just food.) Read the entire book as they suggest, then go back through and apply their instructions. Don’t let it overwhelm you. It’s a new way of life and VERY rewarding. The basis of it is everyday food eaten in a particular way. Starting out with eliminating the toxic foods from your diet but after strictly following the diet for the period of time suggested, you can then slowly add the foods back in and leave out the ones that have a negative affect on you. People will SEE the outward effect on you without you even telling them. I had and entire small church ask me what I was doing that made my face glow and look so healthy. Do it! You won’t be sorry. At your age I would guess that your body would respond rapidly. Let me know how it goes for you.

      Reply
    • Jennifer on

      I sell Doterra and if you were to ask me in person what my recommendation would be. I would say to try Helichrysum and Frankincense in fractionated coconut oil as a blend. That is what I would use. Text me if you need me to explain this any better. Find someone who sells Doterra of contact me and I would help you get started. I just bought a pre-made blend of these two (plus other ingredients) and I’m applying it daily to my eyes. The only other thing I would suggest is asking a Rodan and Fields representative for a kit that would work for your specific issue. I’ve seen miraculous things. Our cousin is always asking me to refer people who need help to her. I could get you in contact with her. Her name is Susan Peterson❤️

      Reply
  7. Molly on

    Started noticing some fine lines under my eyes. My personal trainer recommended the Somaluxe Moisturizer and the Lady Soma Renewal Serum. You only need a miniscule amount for each eye. The dark circles under my eyes got noticeably lighter and better in about 2 weeks of using both products daily.
    Have seen a couple of negative reviews from people who claim the Lady Soma Renewal Serum stings the eyes – I didnt get that – but I do feel it tingling. To me, this means it works! And if it does lightly sting some people, trust me its worth it!

    Reply
  8. Lisa Mair on

    I appreciate this article, but want to add one comment. I don’t understand why everyone is promoting bone broth these days. The collagen that it contains is made up of amino acids that are abundant in our food supply. So the intact collagen gets broken down into the amino acids that we already have a plethora of. So bone broth or collagen supplements don’t help us get more collagen into the skin, joints or anything. Would you please explain your reasoning?

    Reply
  9. Deborah on

    I have allergies, or the past 2 years I have started getting dark circles under my eyes, so I will be trying the skin care, Thank you very much.

    Reply
  10. denise on

    Or better yet, since bags and dark circles are a causes from ill functioning and slow filtering KIDNEYs…clean out the kidneys so they are flowing properly and filtering the lymph congestion out (via the kidneys) properly.

    Cleaning the inside is always the key! These other suggestions are a band aid.

    Juice, eat raw vegan, smoothies, detox the body, in this case, esp the kidneys, kidney herbs, etc …what goes in must come out…detox skin (the 3rd kidney) , dry brushing , sauna, lymph drainage….etc…

    Reply
    • Frustrated on

      Do you have any specific suggestions, other than a raw Vegan diet (I have been a vegetarian before; at this point I don’t eat much meat, I may have a rare filet twice a year when visiting my father, I do sometimes eat turkey, largely for the tryptophan if I’m being honest (any healthier suggestions for foods that produce a lot of tryptophan? It seems that when I look for “the most” anything foods, from highest in magnesium and potassium to most calming I get the same answers: kale, spinach, avocados, walnuts (this generally only comes up on the calming foods inquiry- any idea why?)almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds (and I’d eat a lot more of these nuts, and I’d eat all organic but let’s face it: I am disabled, my disability payment is within 50$ of my rent, I get 150$ a month in food stamps, so Whole Foods and even the organic section of my grocery store is not an option. I know I can grow my own veggies and I’ve done so but with varying levels of success, and how on earth am I to keep pests from destroying my plants or rabbits from eating anything like kale or spinach – I am single I live alone can’t afford nor am I able to build a greenhouse or electric fence; I can’t even afford to buy enough small plants to sustain me completely and I have no luck growing most things from seed- and I certainly cannot farm nuts or Avocados in rented property; I’m lucky I am able to garden at all. This is North Carolina, the Bible Belt. Even farmer’s markets, on the rare occasion that they accept food stamps, are quite expensive. We aren’t lucky enough to have food banks offering high quality organic responsibly farmed foods; most of the food banks are in low income areas, and I just learned that rather than donating dented cartons of food, bruised fruit, and things that in reality would be good for another several days to poor humans, they are given to farmers to feed to goats and pigs. I’m all for supporting local farmers, but come on. And that’s not even an official policy- most of it is thrown away- even bread, or given to well paid employees. We have a co op, deep roots market, but it’s prices are truly INSANE. And I mean INSANE. If I went in there and bought avocados, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews and spinach, I’d have spent over 50$. I’ve been meaning to get with the people running these places to see if they’d be interested in reserving even one day a month where they allow people like me, and people more unfortunate than me, to shop with prices comparable to say food lion, or buy things at cost. One would have to get under 200$ a month in food stamps, and be on a fixed income, or have no income, to qualify. People tend to think that poor people and minorities don’t care about organic healthy foods. That is absolutely not the case. Many just don’t bother even trying because they know they cannot afford it, and can get out of Food Lion with three times as many groceries as they could at Whole Foods, Deep Roots, Weaver Street Market, or even farmer’s markets. No wonder this segment of the population has the worst health- they either have no insurance, have never been in a situation where they could grow their own food or shop organically; I can’t dvwn afford Harris Teeter, much less Whole Foods. Ever seen a Whole Foods across from public housing in the poorest area of town? I certainly haven’t. And don’t even get me started on health care. The disabled should have MORE freedom in choosing the best doctor, but I called 32 doctors before I even found a general practitioner taking on Medicaid patients, and I have to see a Nurse Practitioner as there’s actually one doctor that oversees about three offices. You’d have to be literally dying to see him. Also, in my area, the same corporation, Cone Health, has bought all of the hospitals and offices, and there’s a system in place called EPIC/ Care Everywhere that sends your entire medical history to a doctor without your consent, so they’ve pretty made up their minds about you before you get there. The doctors don’t read intake forms, they don’t listen. They stare at a laptop. Does an orthopedist need to know ANYTHING about my psychiatric history? ABSOLUTELY NOT. What if I meet a doctor and we just really don’t get along? Do I want the next doctor reading that doctor’s notes? NO! I am 42, but had a drug issue in college, as many do. They see that and their minds are made up that I’m just looking for medication. I haven’t abused medication in years and years, and I deserve to be given help if I am in pain; I won’t even accept opiates but I deserve an alternative form of relief. Good luck. I know I’ve diverged greatly. I do apologize. But really, how are the poor supposed to get the same quality of food and medical care as the rich?

      Reply
      • Lisa on

        You don’t have to buy everything organic. Plus, think about other foods you can eat instead of the meats or other things you don’t really need, and use that money on that. As far as walnuts, pumpkin seeds etc go, they do actually last because you don’t need to eat heaps a day. Hope things get better for you, as I know where you are coming from.

      • Georgina on

        Born in the USA… Sorry to hear how bad things are regarding organic food for low income persons – and the rest of your plight. Very bad. Your government is known for not caring for the most vulnerable in their own country. That’s why they should keep out of other countries business and stop meddling. Sweep around your own front door USA governments , republican or democrat. Makes no difference. Nothing really changes in the USA for the poor,weak and vulnerable in your country. There are some places in California, so I’ve heard (from a Californian) that have never had running water or electricity!!! In 2019-20? 😯😔

  11. Donna Sheffield on

    I was wondering if you could recommend a quality rosehips oil. There are many brands to choose from and I was not happy with the first one I ordered. Thanks, Donna

    Reply
    • Kimberly Bowser on

      I use bulkapothecary.com. Their shipping can be a little expensive. So, buy as many items as you can in ONE order…stock up!

      Reply

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