Waking up with puffy eyes can create a rough start to an otherwise good day. Yet millions of people struggle with under eye bags; some experiencing it more frequently than others. In looking at some of the root causes of under eye bags, it’s important to note that the condition is not the same as under eye circles—the latter of which refers to the dark pigmentation or discoloration around eyes. Under eye bags refer to mild swelling or puffiness in the tissues around the eyes. While many of us are conditioned to look at lack of sleep as the leading cause of under eye bags, you might be surprised to find what culprits are behind the problem. Here are some of the common causes of under eye bags and how to treat them:

Cause #1: Oversleeping (Or Sleep Deprivation) Inadequate sleep isn’t the only shut-eye factor associated with under eye bags—too much sleep is just as bad, if not worse. When your sleep cycles are interrupted in any way, you may experience puffiness.

Cause #2: Too Much Salt Sodium has a tendency to retain water in the body, so a high salt intake can cause water retention under the eyes. Drinking water and hydrating can actually help flush fluids that cause under eye bags. Though it sounds counterintuitive, some experts recommend avoiding drinking too much water before you go to bed as it can also lead to bags under the eyes. Getting in some exercise can also help to flush out salt through sweat.

Cause #3: Sinus Issues & Allergies Sinus trouble and allergies actually top the list as causes of under eye bags. When your body is exposed to common allergens such as dander and dust mites, allergic reactions can lead to inflammation of the mucous membranes in your eyes (the swelling is only exacerbated by itching and rubbing.) If you suffer from allergies, you might want to consider investing in a dust mite mattress encasement cover or allergy bedding protection kit, which are specially designed to protect against common allergens. It’s also good to vacuum the floors of your bedroom and accompanying areas a few times a week with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter. If bags under the eyes seem to be the cause of a sinus infection, which promotes fluid retention, experts recommend altering your sleep position by propping up an extra pillow to prevent fluid from concentrating under your eyes.

Cause #4: Getting Older   After the age of 40, the facial skin around the eyes weakens and loses its elasticity. The fat that normally supports the eyes can then migrate into the lower eyelids, which creates an appearance of puffy, under eye bags.

Cause #5: Hormonal Issues Menstrual flow, menopause, and pregnancy can all cause your body to undergo hormonal changes and imbalances that lead to fluid retention. As you know by now, fluid retention can lead to mild swelling under the eyes, or under eye bags.

Quick Fixes For Under Eye Bags

Though we can’t stop the aging process or change our menstrual cycles, there are a few simple things we can do to prevent fluid retention and embrace our healthier selves!
  1. Eat foods rich in vitamins A, C, and E to fight dehydration and reduce eye puffiness. This also means lowering your intake of processed foods, which are high in sodium.
  2. Elevate your head while sleeping to redistribute fluid linked to bags under the eyes.
  3. Apply a cold compress to constrict blood vessels and restrict the flow of fluid to eye tissues.
  4. Apply a skin care product like Zax’s Dark-Circle Eye Cream, which is also formulated to treat under eye bags. Look for products that contain cucumber, which acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling and evaporate some of the fluid build-up. Witch hazel also acts as a natural astringent and caffeine naturally constricts the blood vessels that cause under eye bags.
Carly Harrill, Natural Health Care Expert, Zax Health. Follow her on Twitter at @carlyharrill or visit her blog.