7 Things a Dermatologist Wants You to Do Every Day to Fight Under-Eye Bags

Photo: Getty Images/Aleksandar Nakic
So, you have under-eye bags. You’re not alone. Although many people believe that puffy under-eyes are associated solely with a lack of sleep, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, under-eye bags can be caused by a number of things, including a physical change in pigmentation, as well as loose skin and pockets of fat, both of which can lead to a shadowed under-eye area, among other things.

While all of these things can be exacerbated with age, some folks simply inherit a proclivity for darker, saggier under-eye areas. Thankfully, no matter the case, Dr. Yoon-Soo Cindy Bae, a board-certified dermatologist at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York, says there are seven things you can do on the daily to fight under-eye bags once and for all.

1. Apply a daytime eye cream

While topical skin-care products won’t magically reverse all sagging, they can greatly benefit the overall appearance of the under-eye area, which is why Bae says you should never skip daytime eye cream.

“To help combat bags, puffiness, and dark circles during the day try ISDIN K-Ox Eyes, which uses a medical-grade formula containing vitamin K oxide, haloxyl, eyeliss, and hyaluronic acid to restore brightness and youthfulness,” she shares. “The formula targets puffiness, improving firmness and elasticity, and the cooling ceramic applicator refreshes skin during application, leaving the eye area feeling smoother and visibly more rejuvenated.’

2. Apply a nighttime eye cream

As you may have guessed, Bae recommends an evening eye cream, too.

“At night, try skinbetter EyeMax AlphaRet Overnight Cream to improve the appearance of dryness, crepiness, puffiness, lines and wrinkles, and darkness around the eyes,” she suggests. “It features AlphaRet Technology, a patented combination of a retinoid and an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), in an optimized formulation, to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles around the delicate eye area.”

3. Don’t tug or pull on your under-eye area

Whether you’re applying eye cream or eye makeup, Bae says to be very gentle in doing so. “The skin in the eye area is more sensitive and thinner than the rest of our body,” she says, noting that excess pressure and pulling can lead to visible signs of premature aging, like under-eye bags, fine lines, and wrinkles.

4. Be mindful of the order of your skin care

When applying your eye creams and skin-care products, in general, Bae says that sequence matters.

“It depends on your skin, if it is sensitive, finish with retinol so it can be diluted by the moisturizers, otherwise, apply it first after you cleanse to make the most impact,” she explains. “The skin around the eye can be sensitive to retinol so be sure to pair with a hydrating eye cream at night to repair the skin barrier.”

During the day, she says to cleanse and tone, then apply antioxidant serums all over the face (including the eye area), a light eye cream, moisturizer, and top it off with SPF.

5. Always apply SPF—yes, even to your eyes

Speaking of SPF, yes, Bae says to apply sunscreen to your lids and under-eye area, too. “This area often gets neglected,” she says. “UVA and UVB rays can not only cause skin cancer but can also cause wrinkles and aging as the sun breaks down collagen and elastin, leading to eye bags and sagging, not to mention puffy skin.” (Just, you know, be careful not to get the SPF in your eyes.)

6. Embrace cold temperatures for immediate under-eye bag relief

As beneficial as eye creams and sunscreen are in terms of offering cumulative results, sometimes you might need something a bit more immediate. In those instances, Bae says to reach for something chilled. “If you need immediate eye bag relief, using refrigerated eye masks or even refrigerated teaspoons or tea bags which can help with lymphatic drainage,” she says. “Just be very gentle and never pull the skin.” And if you're putting tea bags on eyes, ensure you're choosing an organic, bleach-free option that doesn't have staples.

7. Look beyond your skin care

What you eat can affect everything from your mood to the appearance of your skin. “The best way to prevent under-eye bags and eye sagging is to have healthy skin,’ Bae says. “This can be helped by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising. If eye bags are a concern, things like sodium-rich food and alcohol can increase water retention and bloating all over the body, including the under-eye area.” With that in mind, she says to limit those foods and drinks and focus on ample water consumption instead. “Proper hydration enhances circulation which can help remove excess fluid from the eye area,” she adds.

For more intel on how to deal with that sensitive skin under your eyes, check out the video below. 

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