"You look tired" isn't exactly the greeting you want to receive when you meet a friend for lunch or walk into the office Monday morning. Under-eye bags give you the look of exhaustion, even when you feel refreshed. While not enough sleep can contribute to under-eye puffiness, other factors -- both some you can control and some you cannot -- lead to this irksome condition.
Aging skin is more likely to feature under-eye bags. As you age, your skin tissue weakens; some of this tissue and small pockets of fat can slide under your eyes, leading to puffiness under your eyes.
Look at your older family members, and you might discover who gave you those under-eye bags. In some families, puffiness under the eyes is genetic. Fatty tissues and fluids may form under your eyes -- and if the cause is genetics, puffy eye bags may be more of a challenge to eliminate.
Your body -- especially if you're female -- retains water in many areas. This water can even pool under your eyes, resulting in unwanted puffiness. Excess stress in your life can only contribute to this water retention, thereby worsening your under-eye bags.
A lack of sleep can cause more than just dark circles under the eyes -- it can be responsible for puffiness as well. Much like stress can increase water retention, so can a lack of sleep. Not getting that much-sought-after and highly recommend 8 hours of shuteye a night can increase your chances of waking up with tired and puffy eyes.
That morning cup of coffee isn't the only caffeine pick-me-up you can enjoy. Topical application of caffeine, an ingredient found in some eye creams, can help to tighten the skin and minimize the puffiness.
What you eat and drink also plays a role in how healthy your skin looks. Your diet can increase or decrease your likelihood of under-eye bags.
Too much salt in your diet can result in puffiness under your eyes. Sodium is associated with edema, or fluid buildup, all over the body, but your eyes are particularly susceptible to this condition. Check the sodium content in your foods and opt for low-salt or no-salt options when possible.
Try replacing an afternoon salty snack with fruit. Fruit is rich in water, so not only will this switch reduce the salt in your diet, but it will also increase your water intake and decrease puffiness.
Enjoying a few beers or cocktails with friends after a long week might be just what you need to unwind. However, too much alcohol consumption can amplify under-eye bags because it zaps moisture from your skin. Dry skin is weaker and more likely to sink, creating under-eye bags. You don't have to cut alcohol out of your diet altogether, but cut back to one drink, followed by some water, to minimize the effects of alcohol on the delicate eye area.
- Mayo Clinic: Bags Under Eyes
- Dr. Bailey Skin Care: What Causes Under Eye Circles, Bags, and Puffiness?
- Chicago Tribune: 3 Factors Cause Bags Under Eyes
- Men's Health: How to Get Rid of Under Eye Bags
- Glamour: How to Never Look Tired Again
- Cosmopolitan: "You Look Tired"
- WebMD: Banish the Bags Under Your Eyes