Why Under-Eye Bags Happen—And How to Eliminate Them For Good

The under eyes are one part of the face that, no matter what you do, can make you look like a walking zombie regardless of how much sleep you’re getting. “When we are tired, there’s not as much expression in the face, meaning that the muscles around the eyes are lax. The more relaxed the muscles are, the more the fat bulges, which we associate with being tired,” says Madison, WI, Facial plastic surgeon Richard Parfitt, MD.

We all have small amounts of fat, tissue and muscle under the eyes that shift downward or bulge outward as we get older. The puffiness is nothing more than a protruding of the excessive fat pads (there are three under the lower eyes) that are pushed either forward or downward. While you can’t totally prevent the occurrence of displaced fat pads, using products that target the under-eye area to strengthen skin and debloat and depuff the area may help.

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There is believed to be a genetic link to under-eye bags—if your parents started to develop heavy bags under the eyes, it’s likely that you will too. “It’s hard to prove that bags are totally genetic, but if you see it enough in your family, you are more likely to have them, too,” says Akron, OH, plastic surgeon Michael G. Parker, MD. 

Fixing the bags and puffiness under the eyes requires a surgery that doesn't take longer than one to two hours. A small incision will be made in the lower eyelid that can't be seen once you're fully healed. It's through this incision that excess skin is removed, fat is removed or repositioned and the muscle is tightened. 

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2 Comments
  • Dr Hoenderkamp
    Posted on

    You could also try fillers for under eye hollows that shadow and look dark. Replacing lost volume in the tear trough area is in skilled hands a perfect non surgical solution that takes away that 'tired all the time' look. I do it safely and successfully all of the time.

  • Cynthia Rowland
    Posted on

    Before you opt for surgery to correct under eye bags and sags, you might want to explore a few non-surgical remedies that can help alleviate puffiness and dark circles. One suggestion is to elevate the headboard of your bed. Try sleeping on a higher, firmer pillow. Increase your water intake especially if you have been enjoying adult beverages before bedtime. I highly recommend certain facial exercises to strengthen the under eye muscles along with the "100 circle exercise" to stimulate the area and help with dark circles.

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