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Skincare 101

8 Tips For Tackling Bags Under Your Eyes

Do people frequently ask you if you're tired? 

Perhaps you're constantly running out of concealer. 

If you're sitting there nodding along, you’re probably suffering from a bad case of bags under your eyes. 

While under-eye bags aren't generally a medical cause for concern, they can be frustrating, especially when you want to look your fittest. 

The good news is that there are many home and lifestyle remedies you can use to banish bags and leave your eyes looking and feeling refreshed. We've curated eight of our favorite DIY tips to try for getting rid of puffy eyes. 

1. Apply Tea Bags

Tea is a versatile beverage. Enjoy it hot or cold, even able to settle an upset stomach. Tea also has some amazing beauty benefits. Applying cold tea bags to the under-eye area can help to eliminate saggy bags and dark circles in one. See, tea contains caffeine and antioxidants that can help to increase blood flow to the skin. Green tea, in particular, is thought to have the best anti-inflammatory effects.

Here's how to experience the beauty benefits – or at least the soothing effects – that teabags have to offer:

  1. Steep two tea bags in cold water for 3 minutes.
  2. Squeeze out the excess water and apply the teabags to your under-eye area. 
  3. Relax for 15 minutes and let the teabags get to work. 
  4. Remove, discard and wipe away excess liquid. 

Tip: Use ice-cold water to steep your teabags. The cold temperature can help to constrict blood vessels and reduce puffiness when applied, and on hot, tired days, they can help you get some refreshed energy back. 

2. Stay Hydrated

Increasing your water intake can also help in your battle against bags under your eyes. Staying hydrated can help to smooth the skin beneath your eyes and improve your complexion overall. Experts recommend drinking 9 cups of fluid a day for women and 13 cups of fluid a day for men. If you're not a fan of water, try flavored sparkling waters or water infused with fruit. Herbal teas are another great alternative, especially when you need something warm.

3. Add A Retinoid to Your Beauty Routine

If you've tried eye creams before with little success it could come down to the ingredients they contain.

Eye creams promise a lot of things ... but not all deliver on those promises. However, there's one ingredient that stands up to scrutiny, and these are retinoids. Retinoids are a class of drugs that are vitamin A derivatives, and it includes a number of ingredients you may be familiar with: retinol, retinaldehyde, and tretinoin, for instance, are all retinoids.

Retinoids are effective at treating a range of skin conditions, including acne, psoriasis, wrinkles, and even some types of skin cancer. So, how do retinoids work? Well, this wonder ingredient speeds up skin cell turnover and improves collagen and elastin production, helping to reduce the appearance of under-eye bags fast.

Applied once a day, retinoid treatments can work incredibly well on puffy eyes and bags, helping skin regain elasticity to look firmer and more radiant.

Retinoids are not all created equal though, some being prescription and other over-the-counter. Check out our deep-dive guide for details on the best wrinkles creams.

4. Use a Cold Compress

One of the easiest and fastest ways to alleviate the look of bags under your eyes is to use a cold compress. In fact, your kitchen is probably full of items you can use. When you apply a cold compress under the eyes, the blood vessels constrict quickly, helping to relieve puffiness and reduce dark circles. 

You can buy a compress at your local drugstore or online, but a homemade compress will do the trick, too. Here are just some of the items you can use:

  • Slices of cold cucumber placed over the eyes 
  • A chilled teaspoon pressed for a few seconds under each eye
  • A washcloth soaked in ice water
  • A bag of frozen peas

Before applying frozen items to your skin, wrap them in a soft cloth to prevent sharp pain or even frost burn. A few minutes is all it takes to get results. 

5. Use Skin-Lightening Creams

Skin lightening creams contain an active ingredient called hydroquinone. This ingredient disrupts the production of melanin in the skin and is great at reducing the appearance of circles and bags under your eyes. For the best results, look out for lotions, creams, and gels that contain 2 percent of hydroquinone. Products with higher concentrations are available, though you'll usually need to obtain these through a dermatologist (you can do it online with Nava MD).

It's a good idea to test a small amount of product on the side of your neck before applying it under your eyes. Some people can experience irritation, dryness, and other minor skin issues. The eye area is quite delicate, so if you do experience any adverse reaction, it's best to discontinue use. The best time to use lightening eye products is just before you go to bed. The effects of hydroquinone can be reversed when the skin is exposed to UV rays. 

6. Remove Your Makeup Before Bed

Do you religiously remove your makeup every night or are there some nights you go to bed with a full face on? By improving your nightly cleansing routine, you could be doing great things for the bags under your eyes and also your overall complexion. Leaving your eye makeup on such as eye liner and mascara can cause irritation, create puffiness, redness and other symptoms and could even cause an allergic reaction. 

If you have sensitive skin, choose a gentle cleanser that won't irritate the eye area. A good micellar water can work wonders at removing all traces of makeup. If you wear waterproof mascara, choose a cleanser that's specially designed to tackle this type of makeup. 

7. Get Plenty of Sleep Every Night

It may sound like an obvious way to get rid of bags under the eyes, but many sufferers forget that sleep is one of – even THE– best cures for bags under your eyes. Most adults should aim to get at least eight hours of good quality sleep every night. Getting enough sleep can help to rejuvenate the skin and improve circulation around the delicate eye area. This in turn helps to improve the appearance of dark circles and puffiness. 

Here are some ways to get a better night's sleep:

  • Avoid caffeinated beverages 6 to 12 hours before you go to bed
  • Create a sleep schedule where you go to sleep and wake up at the same time every night
  • Complete any strenuous exercise a few hours before bedtime
  • Stop eating two hours before bedtime
  • Turn off all screens, including TVs and mobile phones one hour before bedtime

8. Use a Neti Pot to Clear Your Sinuses

Have you ever heard of a neti pot before? It's similar in shape and size to a teapot and is used for irrigation of the sinuses. For some people, using a neti pot is an effective way of reducing bags under the eyes and improving overall sinus health. You can get a neti pot from many health stores, and all you'll need is salt and water to give it a try. Here's how to use one:

  1. Create a saltwater solution with half a teaspoon of salt and one cup of water. Heat the water to let the salt dissolve and then cool the solution to body temperature. Luke warm is best. Fill the neti pot with your solution.
  2. Stand over a sink and tilt your head sideways. Place the pot spout into your upper nostril - the one that is facing the ceiling while your head is tilted.
  3. Breathing through your mouth, gently pour the solution into your nostril. You should feel the solution instantly come through the other nostril. It can be a strange feeling but stick with it. 
  4. Tilt your head the other way and repeat the process. 

Banish Those Bags For Good

Whether you've always suffered from bags under your eyes or they're a new thing for you, it's reassuring to know that this is incredibly common...and that there are plenty of things you can do to improve the look of under-eye bags. By far, the easiest – and most preventive – remedy you can try is getting enough sleep, but staying hydrated, following a good cleansing routine, and all of the above approaches may help reduce bags under your eyes too. 

Curious about prescription solutions to common skin issues? Nava MD can help, and it's all done online. Get a custom formula sent to your door, if prescribed. Click here to get started.

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This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
Consult a healthcare professional or call a doctor in the case of a medical emergency