Bags Under Eyes

What are bags under eyes?   What are circles under eyes?   Symptoms   Causes   Self help   Home remedies  

Bags under the eyes are often the result of temporary conditions and may be some combination of: lack of sleep, chronic stress, poor diet and/or fatigue which can result from illness or medications for example. People who suffer from allergies and sensitivities often have a bigger problem with bags under as well.


Bags under the eyes are seen as mild swelling in the skin below the eyes. How chronically the eye puffiness continues, really depends on the cause(s), and if these causes become resolved. Bagginess under the eyes may also be due to genetics, and in these cases, are difficult to resolve and may be more permanent. They may appear almost overnight, may develop over time, and may stay for as long as the underlying cause is unresolved.

What are Baggy Eyes?

It helps to decipher baggy eyes if we see the area around and below the eyes as hills and valleys.

Bags under eyes

There are three valleys below the eye: the tear trough (orbital rim hollow), the eyelid crease hollow, and the zygomatic hollow. The hills are called the orbicularis roll, the orbital fat bag, the fluid bag, and the malar mound. As fat and musculature change and shift with aging, their placement on these hills and valleys change the surface appearance.

The triangular malar mound’s appearance varies, depending on whether genetics, thyroid disorder, allergies, or aging affect it. The changeability of the different hills or bags varies. For example, the changes in the fat bag increase slowly over time, while changes in the fluid bag vary from day to day.


Changes due to the fat bag tend to develop gradually over time, though not always.

  • Aging. As we age, the muscles supporting the eyelids sag, fat in the lower eyelid moves downward, and gravity generally shifts everything downward over the hills and valleys below the eye.
  • Genetics. Inherited causes tend to be long-term and difficult to resolve, and they are often a permanent problem without a natural solution.

Changes due to the fluid bag tend to be of a shorter duration and/or a more rapid onset.

  • Fluid retention. Nutrition, poor diet, and especially foods that increase fluid retention such as salty foods.
  • Allergies. Seasonal and other allergies, including food allergies.
  • Sensitivities. Other environmental sensitivities.
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Stress.
  • Other causes include the following:

    Medications such as stimulants that affect sleep patterns, long-term use of pain killers that cause adrenal fatigue, and long-term use of antibiotics that affect proper digestion. Medications that may cause swelling under the eyes include ACE inhibitors, such as benazepril (Lotensin), captopril, enalapril (Vasotec), fosinopril, lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), moexipril, perindopril (Aceon), quinapril (Accupril), ramipril (Altace), and trandolapril (Mavik).

    Thyroid and/or kidney problems and disorders may occasionally, not often, cause baggy eyes. See dark circles under eyes.

    Adrenal deficiency may be a cause, such as excessive stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, and lack of sleep, or medications.

    Conventional Treatment

    Bags under eyes are usually a cosmetic concern and don't require specific treatment, though they may indicate underlying health concerns.

    Conventional treatments include:

    • Rest and relaxation.
    • Allergy medications for hay fever and other sensitivities.
    • Surgical interventions such as laser resurfacing, chemical peels, and fillers that may improve skin tone and tighten the skin.
    • Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) is an option to remove bags under eyes, which is usually an outpatient procedure. The risks of eyelid surgery include eye infection, and dry eyes (resulting in problems with vision, tear ducts, and eyelid repositioning).

    Home Remedies & Complementary Care

    Natural approaches have the best chance of working when the bagginess under the eyes is due to lifestyle considerations rather than genetics. This is because sometimes they are a symptom caused by poor diet, lack of sleep, chronic stress, and more. If the bagginess is due to these causes or other health issues such as allergies, hypothyroidism, and chronic fatigue syndrome, etc., natural approaches (along with your doctors’ suggestions) will help support energy and overall health. Supplements by themselves may help reduce the bagginess as well as support overall health, but lifestyle changes may also be needed to make the natural approach more effective and enduring.

    Sufficient sleep, good stress management, and a healthy diet are the simplest home remedies. As part of natural eye care, the healing aspects of flowers and plants are frequently used to treat minor problems, such as puffiness under the eyes.

      At Home

      • Diet. Drink plenty of pure water. Minimize sugar, salt and refined carbohydrates; juicing is a great way to get plant-based nutrients.
      • Don't rub your eyes. Massage around your eyes if you want to help move circulation and energy. Constant rubbing of your eyes can end up breaking small blood vessels around the eyes, possibly resulting in a tired look. Rubbing may also damage the cornea and increase the risk of infection.
      • Stop smoking. Besides causing circulatory problems, smoking can cause a thinning of skin due to interference with blood flow to the skin. The smoke rising from the cigarette can also aggravate the eyes. Smoking also depletes the body of essential nutrients such as vitamin C that is essential in repairing skin.
      • Sleeping position. If you sleep on your side or stomach, try sleeping on your back and even add an extra pillow under your head.
      • Use sunscreen daily. Use a natural sunscreen, especially made for the face, with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, but preferably 20. Use all day and every day to protect the skin under your eyes.
      • Allergies. If you suffer from hay fever or allergies, a neti pot may help reduce excess fluid buildup.
      • Makeup. Remove makeup before you go to bed
      • Moisturizer. You can slightly plump up your skin using a good moisturizer, that contains vitamin C, licorice or fennel, and stabilized oxygen. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects skin cells from damage and supports collagen production. Licorice and fennel remove inflammation, and stabilized oxygen is a form of hydrogen peroxide that promotes circulation.
      • Acupressure: This is a great circulation-boosting easy exercise that you can do yourself. Close your eyes and gently press your ring finger underneath one eye, moving from the inside corner to the outside corner. Do this 10 to 15 times. Then repeat on the other eye. You might also see our free eye exercises to help relax the muscles around your eyes.
      • Cold compress. Close your eyes and gently cover them with a cold washcloth for about five minutes, several times a day. This can improve circulation and slightly reduce the puffiness that some people experience.
      • Alternating hot and cold cloths alternate a hot (but comfortable) washcloth with a cold washcloth under your eyes for 10 minutes to increase circulation.

      Some Old-School Remedies

      • Cucumber water or thin slices of cucumber be applied to the skin around the eyes, especially if the skin is looking dry. Leaving the slices on the skin for at least fifteen minutes while relaxing will make your eyes look like new!
      • Tea bag treatment. Try applying a cold compress of rosemary tea to increase circulation, which helps reduce swelling around the eyes. Make tea by bringing a half-cup of fresh rosemary and a quart of water to a boil. Steep for 20 minutes, then strain and chill. Soak a washcloth in the tea, ring out extra liquid and place over eyes for 15 to 20 minutes, once a day, as needed.
      • Freeze some parsley in ice cubes. Use the parsley cubes instead of eye creams to diminish dark circles and puffiness. Parsley is packed with chlorophyll which helps fade darkness, while the ice cubes reduce the swelling.
      • Some potato / cucumber combinations are helpful.
        • Close your eyes and cover eyelids with slices of raw potato or cucumber for 15-20 minutes. Wash with warm water and apply a cream.
        • Grate a cucumber, squeeze to take out its juice and refrigerate. Make a mixture of lemon juice, lanolin cream and cucumber juice and apply around the eye for 10-15 minutes.
        • Dip some cotton in a 1:1 mixture of potato and cucumber juices. Put the cotton on your eyelids and keep for 20 minutes. Wash your eyes with cold water.
      • Lemon / tomato. Make a paste out of 1 tsp. tomato juice, 1/2 tsp. lemon juice, a pinch of turmeric powder, and 1 tsp. of flour. Apply around eyes. Leave on for 10 minutes before rinsing.
      • Turmeric / pineapple paste. Try a paste of turmeric with pineapple juice.
      • Mint. Apply crushed mint around the eye.
      • Almond oil. Massage with almond oil under and around eyes at bed time daily for 2 weeks and see the improvement. Almond is an excellent "skin food".
      • Vitamin E. Rub the area with a powdered Vitamin E capsule and wipe off with a mixture of honey and egg white.
      • Egg white. Astringent egg white tightens your pores and reduces puffy bagginess. Egg whites have lots of the B vitamins that promote good circulation and reduce inflammation. You'll want to make sure your eggs have been tested for Salmonella. Dab half a teaspoon of one raw egg white on the clean, dry skin around your eyes only - don't get it into your eyes. Leave it on for about 15 minutes until it dries and then rinse well with warm water. Finally, wash your hands with soap and water.

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