Under Eye Issues

What causes bags under eyes?

As we grow older, tissues around the eye gradually weaken and sag. This loss of skin tone allows fat to shift forward into the lower eyelids, making them look puffy and swollen. Fluid can also pool in this area and contribute to the puffy appearance.

Shadows may also appear under the eyes. They may be cast by swollen, puffy eyelids due to aging.

Other factors can contribute to under-eye bags, including:

  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Allergies
  • Retaining fluid (often after waking up, or after eating salty food)
  • Inheriting this condition (it can run in families)

While having bags or shadows under your eyes may not look especially attractive, it is usually harmless. However, if swelling of the eye area is painful, itchy, red, or does not go away, see your ophthalmologist.

Dark circles under the eye.

Are dark circles a serious health problem?  Not really, but many people feel that dark circles under their eyes make them look tired, older, or unhealthy.  Although dark circles under your eyes are most caused by fatigue, there are other causes as well, including:

  • Allergies
  • Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
  • Contact dermatitis.
  • Heredity
  • Pigmentation irregularities
  • Scratching or rubbing eyes
  • Sun exposure
  • Eye strain
  • Age
  • Dehydration
  • Sun overexposure

Another cause of dark circles is the natural aging process. When you age, you tend to lose fat and collagen, and your skin often thins. This can make the reddish-blue blood vessels under your eyes more prominent.

Also, as people age, they commonly develop puffy eyelids or hollows under their eyes. Sometimes these physical changes cast shadows that can appear to be dark circles under the eyes.

Dark Circles vs. Shadows Under the Eyes.

Have you ever looked in the mirror after a long, sleepless night and discovered dark circles under your eyes? Chances are you probably saw shadows cast by puffy eyelids. Or those dark areas may be hollows under your eyes that develop as a normal part of aging. Shadows are not the same thing as true under-eye dark circles.Here are some facts about dark circles under the eyes:

  • While anyone can have dark under-eye circles, elderly people are more likely to have them.  Thanks to the loss of fat and collagen and thinning skin that comes with aging, the reddish-blue blood vessels under your eyes become more obvious.
  • Dark under-eye circles are often inherited (called periorbital hyperpigmentation).
  • People from ethnic groups whose skin tones are darker than white ethnic groups are more likely to have dark circles under their eyes.
  • Hay fever and allergies can cause under-eye dark circles.
  • For some people, exposure to the sun can make their body produce more melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. This can lead to dark circles under the eyes.

Some at home remedies.

  • Apply a cold compress (help reduce swelling).
  • Get extra sleep (Catching up on sleep can also help reduce the appearance of dark circles.)
  • Elevate your head (Elevate your head with a few pillows to prevent fluid from pooling under your eyes which can make them look puffy and swollen).
  • Soak with tea bags (black or green tea bags).
  • Conceal with makeup (can help camouflage them).

Medical treatments.

For a more effective and permanent solution, some medical treatments are available to reduce the appearance of dark circles. Some of the more common methods include:

  • Chemical peels to reduce pigmentation.
  • Laser surgery to resurface the skin and enhance skin tightening.
  • Medical tattoos to inject pigment into thinning skin areas.
  • Tissue fillers to conceal blood vessels and melanin that are causing skin discoloration beneath your eyes.
  • Fat removal to remove excess fat and skin, revealing a smoother and more even surface.
  • Surgical implants of fat or synthetic products.

Before deciding on any cosmetic procedure, discuss your options with a doctor. Invasive medical treatments can be expensive, painful, and often require a long recovery time.

Four vitamins that are essential to remedy under eye issues.

  • Vitamin K deficiency is a common cause of dark under eye circles. Not only does it strengthen veins and capillaries, it also promotes healthy circulation and is essential for proper blood clotting. If vitamin K levels are low, the capillaries may weaken and leak.  When this happens in the under-eye area, small amounts of blood pool and the result is dark, bruise-like discoloration.
  • Vitamin C.  Most people think of vitamin C mainly as a nutrient that helps prevent colds, but it is one of the best defenses against dark circles. When you see dark circles under your eyes, you are seeing the network of blood vessels just under the skin. The skin in the under-eye area is naturally thin and delicate, and the thinner and more fragile it becomes the more visible the blood vessels beneath it are. Vitamin C helps prevent dark circles by strengthening the skin. It builds collagen that makes the skin more elastic and resilient, and it is also important for maintaining a strong and healthy circulatory system.
  • Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. It protects the body against damaging free radicals that cause many signs of aging, including thinning and wrinkling of the skin in the delicate under eye area. Vitamin E is available both in capsules and topical creams, but it is easy to get plenty by eating the right foods. Good sources of vitamin E include olives, vegetable oils, nuts, asparagus, avocado, dark leafy vegetables, wheat germ, and mangos.
  • Vitamin A is especially important for healthy skin. When levels are low, the skin becomes thin and dry – and when this happens in the under-eye area, the result is often dark circles that make you look old and tired. Vitamin A is also a potent antioxidant and as such has a host of anti-aging benefits, including fighting wrinkles.

For many people, dark circles are temporary and are often an indication of aging or lack of sleep. Though there are several at-home and medical treatments available to improve the appearance of your eyes, dark circles are typically no cause for alarm.  However, if the discoloration or swelling worsens over time, schedule a visit with your doctor or dermatologist to ensure you have correctly diagnosed the issue and are receiving the best treatment.