Under Eye Bags and Puffiness
Other than acne, waking up in the morning and greeted by dark-colored shadows around your eyes, accompanied by puffiness is the absolute worst. It ruins your day right away as you scour for an eye cream or concealer, hoping it can take you out from your dark circle dilemma. Those shadowy circles look anything but pretty!
What Are Under-Eye Bags and Puffiness?
As you age, the tissues around your eyes begin to weaken. The support that the eyes have, which is normal fat, gets transferred to the lower eyelids, making the skin under the eyes puffy.
“Beneath the skin and muscle, the main culprit for under-eye puffiness is fat. As you get older, fat – like everything else starts dropping,” said Dr. Melanie Grossman, a dermatologist from New York.
Eye bags and puffiness happen when the sensitive, thin skin below the eyes has retained excess water. This water retention under the eyes is due to the excess water in the body in general.
Dr. Dendy Engelman of the Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery in New York explained that it is a collection of fluid caused by numerous factors.
“Infraorbital edema (under eye puffiness) is often caused by a collection of fluid in the delicate tissue that surrounds the eyes. Fluid retention can occur due to numerous factors: Lack of sleep, allergies, certain medical conditions (kidney, liver, or thyroid disease, to name a few), excess salt or alcohol intake, smoking, etc.,” Engelman said.
Both of them are usual cosmetic concerns and that people are doing things to conceal, lessen and prevent them. However, people should watch out. Even though eye bags and puffiness rarely becomes a medical condition, it can be an indication of a serious underlying medical condition.
There are many ways to improve the appearance of dark circles and puffiness. For persistent and bothersome bags, there are cosmetic treatments available.
What are the symptoms?
Known to be an eye-catching cosmetic concern for a lot of people, puffiness is easily seen, especially when looking at the mirror. It can be found anywhere around the eyes, but most commonly found under the eyes, often called eye bags. It can be obvious, severe or slightly noticeable.
Eye bags are not just a nuisance; there are also symptoms that accompany this. The severity of symptoms and cause of eye puffiness differs from person to person. The common symptoms include:
- Discoloration or redness around the eyes
- Itchiness around the eyes
- Experiencing aches and pain around the eyes
- Blurred or distorted vision
- A feeling that there is something in one’s eye
- Redness of the eyes
- Discharge near the eyes
- Nausea or vomiting
- Swelling of the face and neck
What Are the Causes of Puffiness and Under Eye Bags?
Generally speaking, the causes of puffiness and under eye bags are mild and simple.
- Sleeping more or lesser than the required sleeping period
- Experiencing an irregular sleeping schedule
- Having a high-sodium diet, which causes water retention
- Irritation from contact lenses
- Crying for a long time or releasing too many tears
- Alcohol and tobacco intake, which induces stress, fatigue, and hormonal changes, leading to fluid retention and swelling
- Heredity – actually runs in the family
Although simple, still it is your responsibility to observe the changes and how it affects your day-to-day activities.
Can This Be A Sign of A Serious Condition?
Even though eye puffiness is seen more as a cosmetic concern, it can also be a sign of serious health problems. Common problems that are connected to eye puffiness are:
- Eye infections and irritations
- Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism
- Skin disorders, meaning a side effect of a certain skin disorder
- Local dysfunction
- Nephrotic syndrome, a type of kidney disease that excretes too much protein in urine
- Conjunctivitis or Pinkeye is an inflammation of the clear tissue found in the eye
- Blepharitis or inflammation of the eyelids
Why Are Eyes Puffier After Waking Up In the Morning?
The first thing that people do when they wake up in the morning is to look at the mirror. Some of them get a real wake-up call when they see their reflection with the puffy skin under their eyes. But why are our eyes getting puffier in the morning when we wake up? This may be caused by irregular sleep or if the person slept too much or too little. This can also be influenced by something else, such as a person’s sleeping pattern.
When a person is asleep, they tend to stop blinking. We all know that this action is a part of human nature, but do not take it for granted. Blinking helps the circulation of blood in the eyes. If a person slept too much, too little or irregularly, it will confuse the body on the natural timing when the eyes will blink and rest.
Sleeping positions can also affect fluid circulation. If the person is sleeping with their head flat, the fluid that needs to circulate around the face will flood around the eyes because it is soft, thin, and the best space available to store excess water.
Water retention and puffiness are expected to go away when the person sleeps in a proper position, meaning that their head is a bit elevated, and by adopting a regular sleeping pattern. The puffiness that people experience when they wake up will eventually lessen over an hour when the body re-adjusts the eyes to blink at its natural timing again.
Does It Have A Connection With The Changing of The Seasons?
A research spearheaded by beauty scientists took a look at the eyes of 5000 women during the changing of the seasons, only to find out that eye bags were darker during the cold season compared to other seasons. The scientists concluded that the lack of sunlight is the cause of the aging process. Also, lack of sunlight has led to paler skin and adds emphasis to the eye bags.
The cosmetic worry will get worse if the cold season is combined with fatigue and lack of Vitamin D, a Vitamin generated by sunlight, as well as with lesser serotonin, the ‘feel-good chemical’ of the body.
”More science is coming out linking the lack of Vitamin D and K as one of the causes that plagues us with dark circles and puffy eyes; especially as it relates to fatigue and immune related issues,” Dr. Mark Binette, an anti-ageing expert,
”Once you have them, it is usually difficult to reverse them. Our research has shown that women are worried about the ageing effect of dark circles more so than wrinkles which are easier to tackle and overcome.”
”Ten years ago women were searching for the next wrinkle attacking cream, it seems the market is more open now to alternative ageing signs such as dark circles,” Binette added.
”Lacking in Vitamins D and K has a considerable negative effect on the appearance of dark circles and puffy eyes and can age a woman by 4.7 years putting over ten per cent on a woman’s age of 40. It might not be wrinkles or grey hair that ages you most, but dark circles under your eyes.”
If dark circles and eye bags are easier to be detected during the winter, luck is on your side ladies during the summer. The study has revealed that during the summer, eye bags and dark circles are easier to hide compared to colder months.
When people are under the sun, they experience higher levels of serotonin, raising a person’s mood. This means that less exposure to the sun is lesser serotonin levels, lesser energy, and lesser good feelings.
There was a study that had 72 women respondents aged 27 to 60 underwent trial at AMA laboratories and discovered 82 percent of the respondents suffered from puffy eyes and dark circles during the winter and 38 percent during the summer.
The Adonia study revealed that women get their youthful looks during the summer after the cold days have passed.
Does Eye Bags and Puffiness Have Connections With My Diet?
Diet is one of the most common reasons for people to have puffiness and eye bags. Water retention is connected with what a person eats on a daily basis. A person who consumes a lot of water or watery food can be at risk of having excess water retention. However, there is another ingredient in the diet that causes the body to keep the fluid pooling around – salt.
Salt is a condiment used daily in our kitchens. We add this condiment to add flavor to our meals. And excess intake of this wonder flavoring can draw and hold water in the body. This can disrupt the balance in the cardiovascular system and digestive system, which can lead to conditions such as hypertension, simply known as high blood pressure, dehydration, and digestive problems.
So remember to keep track of your food intake and start eating a balanced diet to reduce the risks of the conditions mentioned above, and of course eye puffiness.
How Can My Eye Bags and Puffiness Be Treated?
There are many ways on how to treat this common concern except having a nice, regular slumber. If the cause is an underlying health problem, then the best way to do is to fix the root problem. This means to heal the infection or illness while giving it ample time to heal to naturally lessen the puffiness and eye bags.
However, there are times when the cause of the problem can be determined easily. In this instance, there are certain treatments and medical drugs available that can effectively alleviate or even prevent it in the future.
Since a lot of people experience eye bags and puffiness due to allergies, there are medications designed to treat the allergies. Many over-the-counter drugs are a common treatment for the eye condition and can be easily bought at your local drugstore.
For skincare lovers, there is a solution that will also benefit your face. There are a variety of creams available in the market to provide the skin the Vitamins and nutrients it needs overall, which includes the reduction of appearing eye puffiness.
Another way to reduce the appearance of eye bags and puffiness is by injecting cosmetic fillers. This treatment not only reduces eye bags, but also wrinkles. As good as these treatments seem, it is only a temporary solution. The cosmetic fillers only target the overall appearance of the skin under the eyes that really fixing the eye bags problem, meaning you will have an obligated schedule to follow to drive the puffiness away.
In undergoing this treatment, please consult a real skilled professional. This treatment uses the laser to even out skin tone, remove wrinkles, and smooth out the skin around the patient’s eyes or the whole face if wanted. After the procedure, the skin will be rejuvenated.
When worst comes to worst, the only way to solve the problem is to undergo surgery. Blepharoplasty is a surgery that involves the removal of fat and excess skin from the affected area, meaning the swelling has already reached up to the eyelids. Other things that blepharoplasty can repair are puffy eyelids, excess skin if the upper eyelid, excess skin on lower eyelids, and droopy eyelids. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, surgical procedures last year overpassed the 8-billion-dollar mark for the first time with 58 percent of total expenditures, with eyelid surgery placing on the fourth place of the most popular procedure in 2016.
Do Vitamins Have A Role in Reducing Under Eye Bags and Puffiness?
Aside from sodium, there are also Vitamins that can aggravate to the eye bag situation and overall health. However, there are Vitamins that help reduce under eye bags and puffiness. The necessary Vitamins needed also depends on the situation of the eye puffiness experienced by the person.
Even though Vitamins help in the reduction of under eye bags and puffiness, it does not target to alter the water retention that causes the swelling to a person. It actually, in most cases, treats the underlying conditions inside the body where under eye bags and puffiness are symptoms.
Take allergies for an example, if a person suffers from allergies with eye bags are one of the symptoms; they will take Vitamin C to treat the allergy, resulting in a cured allergy along with reduced eye bags.
Here is a list of Vitamins that can improve the body’s health and reduce eye bags and puffiness as well:
- Vitamin K – This Vitamin is commonly recommended to reduce eye bags and improve discoloration in the area. Sometimes, the discoloration and puffiness under the eyes have a connection with the body’s minor blood vessel leaks. Vitamin K helps to prevent and repair the said leaks, thus reducing the appearance of discoloration and eye bags.
- Vitamin D – Degeneration of the eyes can happen over time. There are cases when the degenerating eyes become infected, leading to puffiness around the infected area. Fortunately, Vitamin D can prevent this scenario from happening. Having healthier eyes will definitely help in making the surrounding areas of the eyes healthy.
- Vitamin E – A member of the antioxidant family, Vitamin E focuses on the tightening of the skin around the eyes, reducing the puffiness around it. Not only does this focus on the skin under the eyes, it also targets the skin around it. At the same time prevents wrinkles after having eye bags and is good for the body and eyes.
- Vitamin B – Known to reduce inflammation, including puffiness around the eyes, Vitamin B-Complex, which is good for the nervous system, is composed of B Vitamins, folic acid and more. Other components of the B Vitamins offer benefits to the sense of sight, such as Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin prevents itchiness that causes puffiness. Vitamin B6 helps in the balancing of sodium and potassium, thus reducing puffiness and maintains good vision. Meanwhile, Vitamin B12 decreases the risk of muscle degeneration.
- Vitamin A – Another Vitamin that is an antioxidant and is from Beta-Carotene, Vitamin A is helpful in preventing certain health problems and sickness. This Vitamin is really useful to protect the surface of the eye from infections along with healthy, glowing skin. Other benefits are known to treat conditions such as pink eye, glaucoma, & dry eye syndrome.
- Vitamin C – Commonly known to boost the immune system, Vitamin C can also reduce puffiness and discoloration around the eye area. It also helps in the production of collagen, which can reduce puffiness by adding a filling in the thin skin around the eyes.
When Is The Right Time To Seek Expert Help?
Even though eye bags and puffiness are rarely connected to serious underlying health conditions, you should still observe the symptoms to know when you should seek expert seek. Sometimes it is hard to determine if it’s time to seek a doctor to consult the problem. Do not hesitate to consult medical attention if, for example, your eyes keep on swelling or you feel pain around the eyes. When the following symptoms are persistent, it is time to immediately consult expert medical help:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Redness around the eyes
- Swelling of the face down to the neck areas
Some of the things mentioned above are symptoms of orbital cellulitis, an inflammation of eye tissues behind the orbital septum. Orbital cellulitis is not common, compared to conjunctivitis, but does damaging effects that you will not want to experience. If this condition is left untreated, it will lead to complications like blood infections and meningitis, which is caused by viral infections, bacterial infections, or fungal infections.
What is Secondary Skin I Kept Hearing About?
This may sound like a dream come true, with an invisible film being placed on top of your face to bring back the spring of youth. The skin under the eyes become smooth and wrinkles disappear. Good news everyone, scientists from Harvard and M.I.T. has discovered a way for this to happen.
Published last year in the journal Nature Materials, researchers used chemicals, approved safe by the Food and Drug Administration, to create a “second skin” to 170 subjects. This second skin is placed on the face and can even be soaked with sunscreen to protect the face. Based on their small studies, no one has reported irritation and allergic reactions so far. The researchers are expecting that this milestone can treat eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions by placing patches of second skin film in areas to smoothen and moisten it.
“I think it is brilliant,” said Gordona Vunjuk-Novakovic, a professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia who is a part of the study. “What they have done is design a clever biomaterial that recapitulates the properties of young and healthy skin. They can use it as sort of Band-Aid over old and aging skin and get very significant results.”
Myths Circulating Eye Treatment for Eye Bags and Puffiness
Dr. Tess Mauricio, the author of America’s Favorite Dermatologist, has debunked myths surrounding eye puffiness and eye bags that we believed for so long. Here are some of the myths she debunked:
Nothing topical can help dark circles
Discoloration of the skin under the eyes is caused by many factors, which include fatigue and allergies. This cosmetic worry will eventually come out anytime soon as we age as the skin thins out to show bluish blood vessels along with sun damage and hereditary factors to aggravate the situation.
Mauricio explained that there are various treatments available to address it. “Vitamin K products increase the integrity of the blood vessels under the skin. Various products that are believed to increase collagen formation like Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and Retinol can increase the thickness of the skin making dark circles less visible.”
I can use my best friend’s eye cream
Mauricio said that you may use your best friend’s eye cream as long as the both of you are in the same age with same skin type and concerns.
“For a younger patient without much skin damage I might choose a light weight antioxidant eye cream with Vitamin C. The effective concentration of Vitamin C provides ongoing protection against environmental and free radical damage,” Mauricio said.
“And for the patient with sun damaged skin I prefer a stronger cream with a natural growth factor. Eye serums and creams help repair photoaging in the area around the eyes and also smooth and tighten the delicate eye area.
Surgery is the only way to fix loose skin around the eyes
Rejoice, ladies. The doctor said that there are other non-surgical options to choose from to remove loose skin and build collagen under the eyes.
“Various lasers, radiofrequency devices and my favorite one called Venus Freeze, which works through multipolar radiofrequency and pulsed magnetic energy, heat the area to build collagen and tighten any loose skin on the body.”
Only surgery can fix dark circles
There is no need to think about the morning routine. The doctor said that there are various technologies that can effectively solve this morning face problem such as IPL devices.
“There are IPL devices aimed at reducing the extra pigmentation and lasers and radiofrequency devices used to promote collagen production, tightening, and thickening of the area. This reduces the shadows created by loose, thin under eye skin that we all get as we all age.” Mauricio said.
Surgery is the only solution to treat eye bags
Another good news for all the ladies reading this. This big cosmetic concern that comes out as we age when the skin loses can be treated by nonsurgical procedures. Mauricio said that there are procedures that will tighten skin under the eyes.
“For patients with fair skin, laser treatments like Fraxel and Mixto fractional CO2 lasers significantly improve eyebags.” Mauricio said.
Wrinkles are caused by rubbing of eyes
Mauricio said that gravity and repetitive movement are the ones to blame for the cause of wrinkles. She said that activities such as frowning and smiling are breaking the collagen around the eyes as time goes by.
“My solution is a retinol. I rely on over-the-counter retinols because they are less irritating and I can select the proper strength depending on the depth of the wrinkles on my patient,” Mauricio said.
“These Vitamin A serums restore radiance, luminosity and firmer skin, which rejuvenates your skin and makes it look noticeably youthful. Rough areas become softer and smoother. Skin becomes firmer and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles are diminished.”
Will Preparation H help remove the puff?
Preparation H is actually a cream that relieves pain, soreness, burning, itching, and discomfort areas. It can also be a topical anesthetic, vasoconstrictor, and skin protectant. However, the doctor is not going to use it to remove eye puffiness.
Opt for a product with a patented complex of Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone in combination with Dipeptide VW and Lipopeptide Pal-GQRP that stimulates lymphatic drainage to relieve puffiness,” she said.
Are There Simpler Tips And Tricks To Reduce Eye Bags and Puffiness?
Removing eye bags and puffiness can be expensive, but there are simple things that can be done to help reduce the puffiness. Some of these tips and tricks are:
- Remove makeup before going to sleep to reduce the risk of eye infections and irritations.
- Sleeping with the head elevated slightly to encourage proper circulation
- Draining sinuses with the use of a “Neti pot” or similar products to promote better circulation around the eyes
- Avoiding habits that can affect the skin like smoking
- Lessen alcohol intake
- Adding the necessary Vitamins needed in the diet
- Reducing sodium intake
- Applying eye creams and eye gels to repair skin
- Protect the face from UV rays with sunscreen
- Using a cool compress to ease puffiness
- Cover the area using a concealer
“Overwhelmingly, good diet, exercise and sleep are probably the things you can do to help yourself,” said Grossman.
Having to face yourself in the mirror with unwanted eye bags and puffiness is a huge thing to deal with. The presence of this can be irritating and alarming at the same time with the underlying conditions that it may show. Fortunately, eye bags are rarely connected to health threats.
“So, healthy lifestyle changes can help to minimize under eye puffiness, i.e., getting adequate sleep, minimizing salt and alcohol consumption, avoiding allergens, etc. In extreme cases, the fat pad that protects the eye in the orbit (eye socket) actually herniates (or extends beyond where it should) and causes the appearance of under-eye bags. This condition is ultimately correctable only through surgery (blepharoplasty) where the fat pads (or bags) are surgically removed,” Engelman said.
Another way to bring back the spring of youth is the new discovery of the so-called “secondary skin,” a film that is placed on the face to smoothen and soothe the skin. So far, there were no irritations and allergic reactions so far and the chemicals used are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Under-eye puffiness is a common and widely recognized dilemma. Which is why the market is packed-full of ways to reduce the puffiness or eliminate it for good. Since your under-eye puffiness may not require the same treatment as others due to several reasons, such as the severity of puffiness, your age, skin condition, and others, it is best to consult a dermatologist to know what treatment is best for you.