What Causes Bags Under the Eyes | PlushBeds Green Sleep Blog

What Causes Bags Under the Eyes

bags under eyes

They say the eyes are the window to the soul. They’re the first thing someone usually notices when he or she looks at you. Not only can they hint at your age, but they can signal how much sleep you had the night before or give clues to the bagful of salty chips you had yesterday. While sleep quantity and quality changes and dietary adjustments can help reduce bags under the eyes, medical conditions and genetics also play a role.

Anatomy of Bags Under the Eyes

The tissues around the eyes are very delicate, and when these tissues, along with the surrounding blood vessels, swell with fluid, they may appear dark and puffy. Because the periorbital skin, which is the skin around the eyes, is thinner and more fragile than other skin on the body, the effects of allergies, aging, diet, and sleeping habits become more readily apparent in the eye skin area.

What Causes Bags Under the Eyes?

Sleeping Habits

You probably already know that the amount and quality of your sleep can cause puffy eyes, but the Health Services at Columbia confirms it. When you fail to get enough sleep, your muscles, including your facial muscles, are exhausted too, causing them to appear droopy and sleepy-looking. In addition, if you are a back sleeper, you may be contributing to your bags under your eyes. The Mayo Clinic believes this to be the case.

Dr. Oz says that lack of sleep is the cause of short-term eye bags. “If you haven’t slept all that long, that means you’re stressed out,” he says. “You start to swell because your body feels stress. Your ankles swell, and so does the tissue under your eyes.”

eye cream

Your Age

One of the many things that happens to our bodies as we age, including sleep and aging effects, is that the tissues and muscles supporting our eyelids begin to weaken. Then there’s gravity, which tends to make the skin around your eyes sag. The already thin skin area around the eyes becomes even more thin as the years go by. In addition, the fat that normally provides a youthful look around your eyes, begins to make its way downward — again contributing to the puffy eye look. This is the reason why a good number of seniors opt to have the cosmetic surgical procedure known as blepharoplasty, which helps to remove the bags under the eyes.


You may be more prone to puffy eyes simply because of your genetic makeup. You might have inherited the trait that causes your blood vessels and tissues to retain fluid.


Due to pollen or other allergens, such as pet dander or dust, you may only experience puffy eyes occasionally.

Medical Reasons

Less common reasons for bags under the eyes may be medical conditions, such as pregnancy, sinus disorders, hormonal imbalances, and certain medications.

In a good number of cases, dark circles and puffy eyes can be minimized with plenty of sleep. Or, if a medical condition is contributing to your bags under your eyes, then treating the medical condition may reduce your puffiness. For example, correcting hormonal imbalances or preventing or treating allergies may solve the problem. Limiting your salt intake (if approved by your doctor) may limit the fluid retention in your eye areas, while wearing cucumbers is thought to reduce the look of puffy eyes as well. Cosmetic surgery is another option if the bagginess doesn’t improve with other remedies.

Then again, why even worry about them if you look as good as George Clooney does with them?

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