Eye bags may be caused by a genetic curse, an active nightlife, or aging. Whatever the source, they prompt both women and men to spend quite a bit of cash seeking remedies. Depending on your age and the reason for the bags under your eyes, solutions do exist out there.
It's best to start by understanding specifically what causes eye bags. We all have fat under the eye socket. A thick membrane supports that fat, keeping it in place. But when that membrane begins weakening, the fat starts to slip down and bulge forward. As we age and lose volume in the cheeks, the bags become even more pronounced.
That's under the best of circumstances, for people who regularly apply sunscreen, don't smoke, get enough sleep, and drink plenty of water. Healthy skin retains its elasticity and helps prevent bags under the eyes from developing in most people.
So what's the best plan if you've already noticed the dreaded eye bags?
In Your 20s
This is when lifestyle choices tend to make more of a difference. Think late nights out drinking and a less-than-perfect skin care routine. Yes, getting a good night's sleep and avoiding too much alcohol helps prevent eye bags. It's also a good idea to use moisturizing eye creams with antioxidants that can help keep the sensitive skin around the eyes hydrated and prevent collagen damage.
If you notice that you have bags under your eyes early in the morning but they're generally gone by noon, it probably means they're being caused by fluid retention. The Mayo Clinic suggests that simply sleeping with your head elevated a bit more could remedy the condition.
In Your 30s
It's time to increase the firepower in your skin care arsenal for use around the eyes. Prescription Retin-A used under the eyes is fine, but it should be used sparingly because the skin there is very thin and sensitive. Start slow to avoid drying out the area and invest in good moisturizing eye creams and serums that contain peptides and antioxidants.
This is also a good time to check in with a medical spa run by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. They can give you product recommendations and also suggest any in-office treatments that might benefit you. Many people begin getting regular facials at this point in their lives, as well as chemical peels and laser treatments, all of which help strengthen and rejuvenate facial skin. Some treatments are even tailored just for the delicate eye area.
In Your 40s (and Beyond)
At this point in your life, it may be time to invest in slightly stronger treatments to target your under-eye bags. Dermal fillers and eyelid surgery (also called blepharoplasty) are great solutions, according to Dr. Derek T. Ford in the Toronto and Oshawa area. His website says he often recommends a treatment with an injectable hyaluronic acid filler such as Restylane®:
"This product can fill in the tear trough, which is the depressed groove between the puffy lower eyelid and cheek. Although this option doesn't replace the results that can be achieved with formal blepharoplasty surgery, it does offer an in-office, non-surgical alternative that reduces the appearance of lower eyelid aging."
Of course, eyelid surgery is the most effective option if you're willing to make the investment. During surgery, a plastic surgeon physically adjusts or removes part of the bulging fat for lasting results. Most people are surprised how simple the recovery process is — typically about a week of downtime and only mild discomfort — but it is the most invasive route and so it's not for everyone.
Remember that fillers, creams, serums, even eyelid surgery ultimately are temporary fixes. Aging is an inevitable process that changes our appearances. But taking care of your skin, using professional-grade products, and checking in with cosmetic medical providers regularly can help turn back the clock.