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What Causes Eye Bags and Puffiness?

If you're struggling with persistent eye bags that just won't budge, take action in these 4 areas of your self-care routine and lifestyle.

The dreaded eye bags are baggage we really don't want to be carrying around. Knowing how to ditch them starts with knowing what causes them.

Puffiness, or swelling, is a sign of inflammation. The eye area is particularly susceptible to visible inflammation, as it's the thinnest skin you'll find anywhere on your body. The skin around your eyes is about 1/10 the thickness of other facial skin.

When skin is thin, it's easily misshapen, which is why the eye area is prone to fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness, and eye bags. So what actually causes eye bags? Many factors are at play here, but one of these four suspects is likely to be your culprit:

  1. Diet
  2. Allergies
  3. Heat
  4. Stress & fatigue
 
 

What Causes Eye Bags and Puffiness?

 

Read more about each below so you can determine which factor is your most likely trigger of puffiness.

 

1. Dietary Causes of Under-Eye Bags


'You are what you eat' may sound like an old wives' tale, but it couldn't be truer. Food is your body's fuel, and that fuel has an effect on every tissue and system.

There are two reasons your diet can lead to under-eye bags. Food can promote inflammation and fluid retention.

Some of the things we consume counteract inflammation, whereas other foods and drinks promote it. If your diet is unbalanced between these two categories, this could be the cause of your eye bags.

The most common inflammation-causing foods are:

  • Sugar
  • Saturated fats
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • MSG
  • Gluten (a protein found in wheat, oats, rye, barley, and some other grains)
  • Casein (a protein found in milk products)
  • Alcohol

If your diet is heavy on these foods and light on anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables, it's time to swing the balance back.

Secondly, some foods can promote fluid retention, mostly because of one specific additive:

  • Salt, or sodium

Salt is vital for keeping electrolytes in balance, but too much can have devastating consequences. Inflammation and bloating are sure signs you have too much salt in your diet.

An excess of sodium triggers fluid retention because your body is designed to dilute and flush toxins and excessive quantities of any substance. So long as you have a continually high salt intake, you'll continually suffer from under-eye bags.

To prevent sodium-induced under-eye bags, we recommend:

  • Cutting down on processed and packaged foods
  • Avoiding fast foods and high-sodium takeaways
  • Adding a minuscule amount of salt-based seasonings to your meals

 

What Causes Eye Bags and Puffiness?

 

2. Allergies and Puffy Eyes


Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? Are you allergic to animal fur? The quick onset of an allergic reaction causes very noticeable inflammation. Even reactions to common food allergens trigger the body's inflammatory response.

Inflammation is actually part of the healing process. When the human body senses an attack, such as an infection or injury, the immune system sends a rush of healing fluids to the compromised area.

Sometimes, this response is activated when there's no damage to heal. This is an allergic reaction. You may be mildly, moderately, or highly allergic to pollen, fragrances, or specific foods. Some of these triggers may be avoidable, whereas others may not be.

If you suspect your under-eye bags are related to an allergic response, they can be treated in two ways:

  1. With anti-inflammatory skincare
  2. With antihistamines (Please consult your doctor for long-term allergy management via the use of antihistamines.)

Within your skincare routine, you can incorporate anti-inflammatory ingredients with products such as:


3. Under-Eye Swelling Brought On by Heat


Ever notice how things get bigger when they're hot? Balloons burst, cans explode, and under-eye bags take up residence. Heat causes expansion, and when you have particularly thin skin under the eyes, bags easily form.

While it's natural to self-regulate our temperature during the day, our night-time loss of consciousness makes this task somewhat harder. If you suspect heat is the cause of your under-eye bags, it's best to sleep in a well-ventilated room and switch bedding according to seasonal temperature changes.


4. Stress + Fatigue = Under-Eye Bags


Stress and fatigue are key factors in the downhill slope to poor health. When the body senses that it needs to heal, it activates those inflammatory pathways touched upon earlier.

Frequent stressors may well be the cause of your under-eye bags. If they are, you know what to do: give yourself permission to relax and enjoy some me time.

 

What Causes Eye Bags and Puffiness?