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What Causes Under Eye Circles, Bags and Puffiness?

What Causes Under Eye Circles, Bags and Puffiness?

Even if you have healthy skin that's in fantastic shape, you can have under eye problems like dark circles, bags and puffiness.

Under eye problems can be genetic, or they can be a sign that you're tired, 'under the weather' or are retaining fluid.  Some causes of under eye circles can be treated or reversed and others can’t.

Find out what you can do to improve your under eye problems -  there are some great tricks to help that don't require surgery. Plus, learn learn how to conceal under eye problems that can’t be fixed so that they're less noticeable.

Dark under eye circles can be caused by congestion of your blood vessels, excess pigment and shadowing.

Here's what you can do about them:

What causes congestion of the circulation under your eyes?

Congestion of your under eye circulation can be genetic or can occur because of:

  1. a lack of sleep
  2. illness
  3. being just generally 'run-down'.

Your under eye circles are a great barometer of your body’s vitality. Take good care of yourself and watch the circles fade.

What are the lifestyle fixes for under eye problems caused by congestion?

  1. Eat well
  2. Exercise (to increase circulation)
  3. Get adequate rest
  4. Maintain a healthy balance in your life so that you're not easily 'run down'.

Skin care treatments that help improve under eye vascular congestion:

  1. Skin care products can actually have a big impact on the delicate and permeable under eye area. Advanced Corrective Eye Repair Cream has ingredients to improve the circulatory issues that contribute to dark circles including arnica, vitamin K and peptides.Best Eye Cream for under eye circles
  2. Cool compresses (remember cool cucumber slices!) can help reduce swelling

Cutting down on salt and MSG (monosodium glutamate, which is a salt-like food flavoring) will also help you reduce fluid build-up (edema) that can contribute to under eye bag swelling.

Why does the skin under your eyes become hyperpigmented?

Hyperpigmentation happens when excessive skin pigment is present in the skin.  It can happen under your eyes where it causes a brown discoloration of the under eye area.  Like blood vessel congestion, hyperpigmentation of the under eye skin is often genetic.

Use broad spectrum sunscreen to help fix under eye circles due to excessive pigment:

  1. Use a broad spectrum UVA/UVB mineral sunscreen everyday.  In my opinion, products with 5% or more zinc oxide give the most complete protection and that's what I recommend.  My favorite under eye sunscreen products are Suntegrity 5 in 1 BB Cream and Sheer Strength Pure Physical Tinted Matte SPF 50+ Sunscreen both provide amazing protection and have a very natural skin tinting to help hide dark circles.  Both off these do not contain any organic (aka chemical) sunscreen ingredients it's also gentle to the eyes.  Citrix Sunscreen and Solbar Zinc Sunscreens are also great for use around the eye area when you need water resistant protection. Sheer Strength Pure Physical Invisible SPF 50+ Sunscreen is untinted and an excellent choice to protect under eye skin too.Best under eye sunscreen for dark circles
  2. Makeup applied on top of your sunscreen will give you added sun protection because the mineral pigments actually deflect UV tanning rays too.

Skin care treatments that you can do to help lighten under eye circles from hyperpigmentation:

  1. Using skin lighteners such as hydroquinone can help. My Pigment Fading Pads contain hydroquinone and botanical skin lighteners that help to reduce under eye hyperpigmentation. best non-prescription product to lighten hyperpigmentationAlso creams with retinoids (such as prescription Retin A or non-prescription retinol (such as my Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream) will decrease skin pigment too. best professional retinol serum or creamThese skin lighteners have the potential to be harsh and must be used with care under the eyes. My favorite eye cream, Advanced Corrective Eye Repair Cream has just the right amount of retinol for this delicate area and can help lighten under eye pigment.
  2. I’ve also seen some people get great results with light treatments (Intense Pulsed Light) which can lighten skin pigment.

Why does shadowing make under eye circles worse?

Shadowing happens when facial surface contours cast a shadow, accentuating the under eye area.  Like hyperpigmentation and vascular congestion, this can be genetic; some people have more prominent eye bones, or their eye area is more recessed into the eye socket than other people's.  We also loose skin substance volume as we age, and this can cause more shadowing.

What cosmetic procedures help fix under eye shadowing problems?

If under eye shadowing is causing a big part of your under eye problems there are cosmetic surgical procedures that can change the contour.  The easiest is injection of a filler under the skin in the under eye groove to lift the skin and decrease the shadow.  There are more complex plastic surgery procedures for under eye shadowing too.

What are the best skin care treatments to reduce the appearance of under eye shadows?

  1. Use eye creams such as Advanced Eye Repair Cream to brighten the skin and help light reflect off skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, crinkles and shadows.
  2. Apply concealers and makeup on top of your eye cream and sunscreen that are a shade or two lighter than your general skin tone to lessen the color difference.

Photo: Thanks and gratitude to Nordique for this very cute photo!