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How to get rid of under-eye bags in 6 easy steps

Woman using tea bags over her eyes
Diana Kelley Levey
Diana Kelly Levey October, 27, 2020

Runner, dancer, baker, adopted dog mom, wisecracker (or jokester)

Sometimes baggage is a good thing, like when you're packing up a suitcase for a much-needed vacation. Other kinds of baggage are less kind to us, like the emotional baggage of a past relationship.

Under-eye bags sit somewhere in between. They're totally natural — but after a long night tossing and turning, you might want to resolve them, stat, to at least appear as though you slept soundly.

Whether you woke up looking puffy due to a poor night's sleep or from watching a tear-jerker the night before, here's how to get rid of under-eye bags.

What are under-eye bags?

If you're packing some serious luggage under your eyes in the morning, the whole area probably appears slightly swollen and puffier than usual. You may have dark circles under your eyes, too. That's because after a late night, the skin around your eyes swells as fluid moves into the lower eyelids.

Aside from exhaustion, under-eye bags can be caused by allergies, dehydration, eczema and biological issues you can't control, like genetics. Age is also a factor: Over time, the muscles and other tissues around your eyes weaken, and fat begins to accumulate in the lower eyelids. The body also produces less collagen and elastin as you get older. Those proteins help keep skin firm and supple — when the body produces less of them, skin is more likely to sag.

6 Under-eye bag treatment tips

Under-eye bag treatment options are plentiful. Figuring out how to get rid of under-eye bags in a way that works for your life means you get to explore a whole range, from natural kitchen hacks to specially formulated beauty products to sleeping position swaps. Below are just a few ways to help eliminate unwanted baggage.

1. Use a cold compress

Some of the most classic natural under-eye bag treatments are also the easiest to do. There's a reason the cucumber-on-the-eyes look is so iconic: Cool temperatures are your friend when it comes to reducing puffiness. Try chilling a teaspoon and applying the back of it to your under-eye area, for instance. Or, use a cool, wet washcloth — just close your eyes, lay it on and take some time to do relaxing deep breathing exercises.

2. Apply brewed, chilled tea bags

Brew green or black tea bags, then chill them in the fridge. Once they're cool to the touch, they're good to cover your eyes. Let them sit across your under-eye area for about 15 minutes while they help constrict the blood flow that's contributing to puffiness and let their antioxidants work their magic on the swelling. Green tea extract that contains antioxidants and polyphenols may help improve the elasticity of sun-damaged skin in particular.

Pretty brunette drinking water on couch at home in the living room3. Drink a large glass of water

Water is just plain good for the body, so it's no shock that staying hydrated can help reduce puffiness. Your cells need water to function well — and that includes the cells that make up the delicate skin around the eyes.

4. Apply eye cream

Choose an anti-wrinkle cream that's rich in antioxidants, which can help reduce the appearance of under-eye bags and restore some of the skin's lost elastin and collagen while nourishing the under-eye area. Apply it morning or night using a finger to gently dab it on.

5. Elevate your head while sleeping

Sleep on pillows so that your chest and head are elevated. This will help fluid drain during the night. (That may sound gross, but it's better than it collecting in your face overnight.) If your head isn't raised high enough, that could be the root of your under-eye bags. Another tip: Changing how you sleep will have the biggest effect if you make sure to rest your head for a full 7-9 hours a night.

6. Avoid smoking

Another under-eye bag treatment that will benefit your overall health is ditching cigarettes. Smoking does a number on your insides, but it also takes a toll on your appearance. One side effect? Dark, baggy circles under the eyes.

Deciding how to get rid of under-eye bags means listening to your body. Those bags are a sign that something in your body isn't happy — getting to the root of why will make it much easier to keep future bags at bay. So, apply some under-eye moisturizer, fix yourself a cup of green tea and nosh on those leftover cucumber slices for a relaxing beauty treatment session. You'll send your under-eye bags packing in no time.

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