Puffiness in the eye area and under-eye bags are caused by two separate conditions. Puffiness is the accumulation of fluids (typically water) that are caused by allergies, lack of sleep, position of sleep, hormonal variation especially associated with menstruation, sinus infection, over indulgence of alcohol or a diet that is too high in salt. This is usually a temporary condition and often appears more severe in the morning because the fluids cannot drain from subcutaneous reservoirs because of gravity. Some good treatments for early morning puffiness include:
- Elevate your head while sleeping,
- Reduce swelling by applying a cold compress, preferably one that has tannins (like green tea bags) or materials like caffeine and theophylline to contrict the blood vessels.
- Enhance fluid drainage by stimulating the lymphatic systems by using eye creams that contain hesperidin or rutin and applying them from the nasal area to the outside of the eye where the lymphatic system is located.
Under-eye bags are caused by the protrusion of the pad of subcutaneous fat that exists under the eye area. This is caused by a thinning of the skin as one ages and by the loss of firmness and elasticity due to the breakdown of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid. To minimize the appearance of bags one must rebuild the dermal matrix and strengthen the outer layer (epidermis). Look for products designed for the eye area that contain matrikines such as palmitoyl oligopeptide, palmitoyl tetrapeptide, retinol derivatives, ascorbic acid derivatives, niacinamide (vitamin B3), or natural materials such as centella asiatica. It is also critically important to use a sunscreen designed for use in the eye area to help prevent the breakdown in collagen and elastin.