In my skin care practice, I get asked all the time about bags and puffiness under the eyes. Besides the signs of aging and problem skin, this seems to be the number one skin concern of middle age women and some men.
While puffy eyes could be the signs of seasonal allergies and extra water build up under the skin. Under eye bags are loose, saggy skin that starts to show after the age of 40, when the skin naturally starts to lose its tone. For many individuals, bags are hereditary and for others, it can be caused by allergies which lead to chronic puffiness around the eyes.
There are certain internal triggers that could cause water build up under the delicate eye tissue.
The number one cause of water retention is salt. This is easily noticeable in the morning after consuming a heavy salty dinner or just by crying over an emotional, romantic movie. Water constantly travels in your body and it always settles in a tissue where there is more salt concentration. Your body can not tell the difference if the salt comes from your tears or by eating too much soy sauce.
Other everyday habits, including rubbing your eyes frequently, going to bed with makeup on (makeup can seep into your eyes while you are asleep causing irritation and redness) drinking alcohol and caffeinated drinks can contribute to under-eye bags too.
So, what can you do to reduce under eye puffiness?
-Avoid salty foods (especially at night) can definitely help prevent facial puffiness when you wake in the morning. Excessive sodium causes water retention resulting in excessive swelling of the eye tissue. If you are trying to avoid puffiness of the face, it’s best to avoid salty foods at night and drink a lot of water to detoxify your body.
-Get your thyroid checked. Under eye bags may be related to a thyroid dysfunction called Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid), which makes changes to the connective tissues, which causes a loss of tone in the under eye area. Consult with your doctor and get blood work done to eliminate this problem.
-Try a Neti Pot: this small little device looks like a mini teapot and it’s available over the counter in most pharmacies. It can help relieve fluid buildup caused by allergies, sinus congestion, or a cold.
-Switch your sleep position. Your sleep position may be contributing to under-eye bags. Sleeping on your side or stomach can encourage fluids to collect under your eyes. If you’re a side sleeper, you may notice a heavier bag on the side you sleep on. By changing your sleep position to your back and adding some extra pillows under your head can release fluid retention and ease up on those little bags.
-Get your beauty sleep. If you stay up too late (it is recommended to go to bed no later than 10pm) chances are you’ll be yawning more. When you yawn, the act encourages your eyes to water, which creates swelling and puffiness. So before you decide to stay up late just to catch up on your favorite show or to read just one more chapter, consider the side effects. Just another reason to get your beauty sleep for the night.
-Apply Cold pressure. Since it’s the cold that truly reduces puffiness, you can grab anything out of your refrigerator (ice, bag of frozen peas) and it will do the trick—as long as it is held in the area for at least 10 minutes. But do know, the only type of puffiness that can be reduced from cold, is puffiness that is not normally not there—like when you wake up in the morning. Puffiness caused by extra fat under the eye tissue or heavy sagging from loose skin and aging are only removable by plastic surgery.
-Use eye care products containing skin-firming peptides. Peptides renew skin’s firming mechanisms to return skin to a more youthful-looking appearance. My favorite is Image Max Eye Cream which contains high concentrations of growth-factors derived from plant stem cells to protect skin cells and prevent aging effects caused by free radical damage.
For many individuals, bags are hereditary and for others, it can be from years of allergies that caused them chronic puffiness around the eyes. Since bags are loose skin, it’s impossible to restore that loss of elasticity once the bag is formed. Cosmetic surgery will give you the most noticeable improvement.
Do you need expert skin care advice from a licensed esthetician/acne specialist? Schedule your appointment for a consultation to get the personalized advice on products and treatments that are right for you.
© 2013 Nikolett Ivanyi, Envision Acne Center; For more information go to www.envisionacnecenter.com.