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Under-Eye Bags, Begone!

Whether they’re referred to as under-eye bags or raccoon circles, nearly everyone has struggled with discoloration or swelling around their eyes. While some people slowly develop this condition thanks to genetics, most can address their unhappy under eyes with a few simple steps. The main tactic, however, is to understand exactly what causes your under-eye struggle.

Are they the symptom of a medical condition?

One of the first, and perhaps most reassuring, things to know is that bags under the eyes are not typically a sign of a medical issue or condition. Most of the known causes create an accumulation of fluid in the area below the eye, giving it that swollen, “puffy” look. This can worsen with age because the tissue and muscle around the eyelids can weaken, which allows the fatty tissue to dip towards the lower lid, exacerbating the swollen area.

The list of common culprits for under-eye puffiness includes:

  • Genetics
  • Stress
  • Eye fatigue
  • Chronic allergies
  • Sinus congestion
  • Skin texture
  • High salt intake
  • Lack of sleep
  • Dehydration
  • Aging
  • Bouts of intense weeping

It may be one, or several, of these symptoms that are causing your under-eye bags. Try reducing your sodium intake, visiting a physician to be tested for allergies, seeing an ENT to determine if a sinus problem is present, getting adequate sleep, drinking more water, exercising and incorporating relaxation techniques.

In addition, many people use over the counter formulas to address eye issues. Some turn to homemade solutions, others opt for renowned under-eye skincare solutions, and many reach for under-eye concealers to help hide the circles. Some even go as far as applying phenylephrine (commonly known as hemorrhoid cream) to constrict blood vessels and tighten skin. This is never advisable — the risk of accidentally getting this compound in the eye and causing chemical conjunctivitis isn’t worth it when there’s such effective skin care on the market.

For those determined to obtain a more permanent solution, there are safer, medical options that include:

  • Chemical peels
  • Laser skin resurfacing
  • Prescription products
  • Blepharoplasty, an eyelid surgery which removes excess fatty tissue


While these more aggressive solutions can be necessary for some, it’s important to first determine if under-eye circles and puffiness can be addressed through simple solutions. If not, seek advice from medical consultants. It may turn out that the use of CC creams and concealers is the only temporary fix, but it’s possible that some dietary changes, lifestyle changes or cosmetic treatments could work more temporary wonders. Puff, begone!

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