If you have dark circles and under eye bags, aka puffy eyes, you are not alone. So many of us have them and they make us look and feel tired adding years to your face. We’re here to help you understand what causes your under eye bags and dark circles so you can find the best way to get rid of them.
First, let’s find out if you have what doctor’s consider “true” dark circles or if they’re caused by something else.
“True” Dark Circles
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are “true” dark circles, and everything else. If you don’t have “true” dark circles, then the look is created by either:
- Shadows from puffy eyes, or
- Hollows from the aging process, which is normal
Shadows from puffy eyes can be fixed. Try these home remedies and top off with an all natural or organic eye cream tailored for puffy eyes. Aging can’t really be reversed but there are eye creams that will help reduce puffiness, dark circles, and will rejuvenate the eyes making dark circles less noticeable.
How To Fix Puffy Eyes or Under Eye Bags
For most of us, simple home remedies will reduce the swelling, or de-puff, under eye bags. Here are some simple treatments:
- Cold Compress Options
- Place a cold washcloth over your eyes and lay down for 10 minutes, or until it warms up to body temperature
- Freeze 2 metal spoons for 30 minutes then place over your eyes. Beware, though, this feels intense!
- Place 2 slices of cold Organic Cucumber over your eyes for 10 minutes, or until they warm up to body temperature
- If these don’t work, or you just want to go for the big guns, check out Tarte Pack Your Bags 911 Rescue Patches, which are gel undereye patches that you can keep in the fridge and just pop on in the morning while you blowdry your hair and get dressed. They feel amazing and work fast, so that when you peel them off, those puffy eyes are gone, just in time to put on your makeup. They’re Vegan and are made with an algae blend, marine extracts, and coconut oil, which will zap those bags while softening fine lines and wrinkles.
- Decrease Salt in Your Diet and Drink Less Water Before Bed
- Salt and water stick together in the body, so they cause water retention. With puffy eyes, there may be an excess of fluid (swelling) accumulating under your eyes. Decreasing salt intake, especially before bed, and having less water may help reduce the swelling.
- Quit Smoking
- News flash, smoking is bad for you. But it can also aggravate under eye bags causing puffy swollen eyes.
- Sleep More
- I know. Getting more sleep is super hard, if not impossible, sometimes. But take a good honest look at your bedtime activities. Do you need to be better about turning off the TV to skip (just one more!) Netflix Series episode? Are you eating dinner too late so you’re not tired when you should be heading to bed? If there’s any way to get an extra hour or two then do it and see if it helps reduce your puffy eyes. A good goal for adults is 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
- Use an Extra Pillow
- Sleeping with your head slightly elevated will decrease fluid retention in your face. If you’re already doing that, try propping up your mattress by 6 inches.
- Treat Your Allergies
- Try taking over-the-counter allergy medication, if it’s OK with your doctor, to fix any environmental allergens you didn’t know you had. Maybe the neighbors have planted a new tree and you’re now having a reaction.
- Replace Products with Skin Irritants
For most of us, puffy eyes will get better with these home remedies. But, if these don’t work, see your doctor about other treatments, like allergy medicine, changing prescriptions medications that may be causing puffy eyes, and using invasive wrinkle treatments like laser resurfacing, chemical peels, fillers, or eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty).
Common Causes of Dark Circles We Can Change
If fixing your puffy eyes didn’t make the dark circles go away, then you probably have ”true” dark circles. The most common causes of “true” dark circles are:
The most common cause for most people is fatigue, or being over tired. We simply live in a society where sleep is often overlooked to work, take care of children, have a super fun social life, or, less fun, insomnia.
When you are sleep deprived, dullness and paleness begin to show up in that thin, delicate skin under eyes. This makes blood vessels show through the thin, pale, dull skin and poof!, dark circles. Over time, this can cause fluid retention making eyes puffy, which only adds to the problem.
The most important thing is to figure out why you’re not sleeping and work out a solution which should fix those pesky dark circles. Since the goal is 7-9 hours a night, try hitting the sack a little earlier than usual. Turn off Netflix, drink some chamomile, get your bedroom cool and dark, and try to hit the hay. Reading before bed works wonders to switch the brain over to sleep mode.
Exposure to Blue Light
We know that screens from computers, tablets, phones, and TV’s emit blue light and can cause eye strain and skin damage. As if this wasn’t enough, blue light exposure may also cause blood vessels surrounding eyes to dilate which causes under eye skin to darken. Try to limit screen time or break it up throughout the day. Applying a cold compress may help tighten up those leaky blood vessels and there’s a small group of folks who swear Preparation H works, but as far as we could find, it sounds like the jury is still out.
Using a sunscreen made for under eyes can do wonders if your dark circles are caused by blue light. This is one of our favorite all natural sunscreens Supergoop! Anti-Aging Eye Cream with SPF 37.
Hay fever will cause or worsen dark circles because blood vessels under eyes dilate which creates swelling and the lovely dark hue we all know and love as dark circles.
Typical Hay Fever can be fixed up by finding the right allergy medication. Rubbing itchy eyes can break and irritate blood vessels causing an increase in dark circles. Hay fever is one reason for itchy eyes.
Dark circles caused by sun exposure are really just a hyperpigmentation of the under eyes. It’s an abnormal response by the delicate under eye tissue to sunlight which causes an increase in melanin production. Why this happens in some people and not others may be heredity.
Using an all natural high quality sunscreen made for the delicate eye area, like Supergoop! Anti-Aging Eye Cream with SPF 37, is no longer not a luxury for you, it’s become a necessity. You also need to be extra careful about protecting your face from sun by wearing hats and staying under sun umbrellas at the pool or beach.
For bonus points, avoid the sun altogether and still have a fantastic tan with all natural sunless tanners.
Because under eye skin is so thin it shows blood vessels when we get dehydrated. Caffeine and alcohol cause dehydration, so cutting back on these will help. Getting the recommended 8-10 glasses of water a day will get you hydrated and should get those dark circles diminished.
Common Causes of Dark Circles We Can’t Change
If you’ve tried everything and nothing works, it could be that you simply can’t change your dark circles without visiting your doctor. Your doctor can decide if it’s something more serious, suggest more personalized changes, or see if you’re a candidate for cosmetic procedures.
The natural process of aging causes skin to become thin and lose elasticity, which makes under eye blood vessels show. In addition, eyes start to take on a more hollow look as we grow older, which, as much as we don’t like it, is totally normal.
We love iLike Organics PhytoLift Eye Contour Cream for this. It’s an anti-aging eye cream that is rich in fenugreek, one of the oldest known medicinal herbs. Research has shown that topical fenugreek reduces inflammation and swelling through vasoconstriction (tightening of the blood vessels). Plus, PhytoLift adds in grapeseed oil which is rich in Vitamin E and Omega 6 to soften fine lines and wrinkles while improving elasticity. This is one of the best organic anti-aging eye creams we’ve found.
Maybe you’re genetically predisposed to under eye hyperpigmentation. You’ll know because everyone in the family complains about having dark circles.
To just cover it up try an organic tinted moisturizer with SPF which will give you a moisture, plus tint to help neutralize the dark circles without all the irritants creating an allergic reaction.
Best Eye Creams for Dark Circles and Under Eye Bags
When shopping for eye creams to fix dark circles and under eye bags, pick one that doesn’t have skin irritants which will make under eye bags and dark circles worse.
Key Ingredients for Dark Circles and Under Eye Bags to Look For:
- Wild Plum, like Eminence Wild Plum Eye Cream, is rich in iron which and brightens and re-energizes under eyes
- Caffeine, like No B.S. Caffeine Eye Cream, with caffeine to tighten up dilated blood vessels and squalane to hydrate and brighten
- Fenugreek, like iLike PhytoLift Eye Contour Cream, tightens up dilated under eye vessels and reduces swelling
Vegan eye creams made for dark circles and puffy eyes are made without animal products or animal testing.
To Sum It Up
When you have under eye bags and dark circles the most important thing is to find out why and fix the problem. Try these fixed, and if they don’t work, consider a visit with your doctor to make sure it’s not something more serious. Covering up dark circles and reducing puffy eyes should only be with all natural or organic eye creams to avoid adding skin irritants creating allergic reactions. Sunscreens made for delicate under eyes are also a must.