Did you know that dermatologists and plastic surgeons get asked about dark circles and bags under the eyes, all the time?
It seems that everyone is troubled by them so if you're wondering why you have puffy bags under your eyes and how to get rid of that puffiness, then you are certainly not alone.
So how do you get rid of bags?
Well before I can suggest some treatments, we first need to understand why you may have puffy eyes.
Puffy eyes are a condition where the eyes begin swelling due to different factors. The skin around the eyes is very thin and is full of blood vessels which make it very sensitive.
According to dermatologist, Valerie Goldburt, MD, PhD, of NYU Langone Medical Center, "We have the thinnest skin around our eyes, so it's the area that's most influenced by the in-and-out flow of fluids....Water always travels from areas in the body where there's low salt concentration to tissues where there's more salt" This is referred to as osmosis. So, for example, a dinner heavy with salty food or a night of crying while watching a teary film can cause morning-after puffiness.
Even a few too many glasses of wine may result in puffy eyes.
But you may also have puffiness as a result of a sinus infection, seasonal allergies or even a cold as these can all lead to water build-up under the eye.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies such as hayfever, then the first thing you will want to do is to treat that condition. But if you have puffy eyes because of last night's salty dinner, last night's bottle of Burgundy, or last night's tear-jerker movie, then there are a few ingredients that you can get from your very own kitchen which may help ease the puffiness and help remedy the situation.
ingredient 1: tea bags
Steep two tea bags as you normally would if you're going to make yourself a cuppa. Remove the teabags carefully (they'll be hot!) and squeeze out the excess liquid. Allow the teabags to cool down in the refrigerator for about 20mins. When they're cooled, place them over your eyes for around 20-30 minutes. Although this is not a quick solution it does work.
Black and green teas contain caffeine which is believed to constrict the blood vessels in the sensitive skin around the eyes, leading to a reduction in puffiness and inflammation.
Both teas also contain the antioxidants, flavonoids and tannins. Anti-oxidants have an anti-inflammatory effect which reduces puffiness. The tannins can also help to tighten the skin and draw out fluids.
ingredient 2: milk
Steep two cottonwool balls in cold milk for a few minutes before squeezing out the excess liquid. Lay the damp cottonwool balls directly under the eyes for about 5 minutes. Remove and wipe clean with a cloth.
Why does this work?
Primarily, it works because the cottonwool balls steeped in cold milk are acting like a cold compress and cold compresses work well to reduce inflammation ie puffiness. So, basically, you could apply the same idea to cold water, if you like.
But milk also contains lactic acid and lactic acid is believed to restrict blood flow, meaning it will lighten the area and reduce puffiness.
ingredient 3: raw egg whites
Gently whip an egg white until it's stiff. Take about 1/2 a teaspoon of egg white and place it under your eye, making sure that it does not go into your eye. Allow it to dry (about 15 minutes) before washing off completely with warm water.
Egg whites are said to be an astringent, meaning they encourage the skin cells to contract, leaving your eyes looking less puffy. And the protein is said to nourish the skin.
ingredient 4: sliced cucumber
When using sliced cucumber to help reduce puffiness, it's important that the cucumber is cold, from the fridge. Similar to the milk example above, the reason for this is it will act like a cold compress which should help reduce inflammation.
Slice two pieces of cucumber about 1cm thick. Place each slice over your closed eyes for about 15 minutes. If the cucumber slices start to feel warm, flip them over so the cooler side touches your closed eyes.
Well, firstly the cucumber will act like a cold compress. Secondly, according to Dermatologist Dr. Gregory Nikolaidis, cucumbers can help reduce inflammation and swelling because they "have powerful antioxidants and flavinoids that are thought to reduce irritation."
ingredient 5: cold spoons
Okay, spoons are not a kitchen ingredient but a kitchen utensil, but they're still important enough to include in my top 5.
Here's what you need to do: Take a glass of ice water and four stainless steel spoons. Chill the spoons in the water and apply two spoons, one over each eye. Keep the other two spoons in the cold water and switch with the spoons which have been placed on your eyes when they start to lose their chill. Keep switching the spoons until you see/feel an improvement.
The idea of placing two cold spoons over your puffy eyes is not as silly as it may at first seem. The cold temperature of the spoons will help tighten the skin around the eyes, constrict blood vessels and reduce the puffiness.
But the spoons need to stay cold, hence the suggestion of using 4 spoons at a time in cod water and alternating them. With the heat of your skin, the spoons can warm up quite quickly. So although an option for reducing puffiness, this is not my #1 choice.
As with any home remedies, especially if you have sensitive skin, if you feel your eyes becoming irritated, itchy or warm when trying any of the above treatments, please stop immediately and rinse your eyes and the skin around your eyes with cool water.