Top Reasons Why Your Eyes Might be Puffy + What to Do About it

We can’t change our genetics, but thankfully, we have a lot of available treatments for genetic under eye bags now. Surgically, many people resort to a procedure called a “lower lid blepharoplasty” where the excess fat and skin is removed surgically and the muscle is tightened to improve the appearance of that area. But some patients are candidates for non-surgical enhancements like dermal fillers (tear trough filler), platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections, resurfacing lasers or radiofrequency with microneedling treatments.

If your eye bags aren’t genetic, consider the following: Has your diet changed? Salt intake is a popular one, but sometimes not obvious for people. Sodium can be hidden in lots of things that we aren’t even thinking about, including canned products. 

Do you have allergies? Are your under-eye bags worse in the Spring? You may want to consider a trial of antihistamines, if your doctor okays it.

Medical conditions such as thyroid disease can also cause under eye bags, don’t forget the importance of your routine physical exam with your doctor to screen for these things!

Many medications can potentially impact the appearance of under eye bags. Specifically oral corticosteroids, NSAIDs, certain medications used for seizures and high blood pressure, etc.

Skincare Ingredients to look for to improve under eye bags

When it comes to finding treatments for under eye bags, there are so many creams on the market and choosing one can be very difficult. If truly dealing with more “bags” rather than just color, look for ingredients like:


  • Vitamin K: stimulates blood flow to area of application and can improving puffiness.
  • Caffeine: works as a "vasoconstrictor", tightening up blood vessels to reduce the veiny appearance and swelling. 
  • Sunscreen: preserving the delicate collagen around the eye by wearing sunscreen regularly is important as puffiness and appearance worsens with loss of elasticity of the skin.
  • Retinol: stimulates collagen production over time, which can help reduce wrinkling in this area, which always inevitably makes them appear worse. While it may not get rid of the bags themselves, retinol can help with skin elasticity over time.
  • Cold metal applicators: There are also  tons of fancy beauty tools on the market, but pretty much anything with a metal tip on it will be helpful, including the back of a spoon! Use one to gently press and massage upward and outwards to the corners of the eye to help with lymphatic flow. This can help improve puffiness that tends to be worse in the morning upon waking since you are lying flat and additional fluid is being retained around the eyes. Using a gel-based eye mask can do the same, and I find this particularly helpful before makeup application or when traveling.
  • Green Tea: As above, caffeine can help constrict the vessels under the eye and reduce puffiness, which can be found in green tea. Green tea also contains antioxidants for anti-inflammatory benefits on the skin, especially when irritated. 

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