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Banish Dark Bags Under Your Eyes

Banish Dark Bags Under Your Eyes

When Abe Vigoda played Fish on Barney Miller, the dark bags under his eyes emphasized his laconic demeanor, while Benicio Del Toro’s swollen, dark under-eyes magnify the menace of his on-screen characters. But for most of you, dark circles and bags under the eyes are just something you’d rather not have.

As you age and the skin around your eyes thins and loses collagen, muscles may droop, and fat that used to be around the eyes can settle below them or increase in volume—fluid can even pool there. That can cause puffy and/or dark-colored under-eyes; but so can allergies and a chronic lack of sleep—or they might just be an inherited trait.

To banish the dark bulge, see your doc to find out if allergies are the culprit. Fortunately for most, puffy, dark pouches under the eyes are not caused by a medical problem. If they’re an inherited trait you’ll need to talk with a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. If they result from a chronic lack of sleep, talk to your doctor for tips on how to improve your sleep habits. Also try some time-tested home remedies: Place an ice pack around closed eyelids or put chilled cucumber slices on your lids and try sleeping with your head slightly elevated.

Or simply take a lesson from Maggie Smith—Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey—who uses her baggy but piercing blue eyes to silently express her disapproval or signal those around her that now it’s time for a cup of tea.

Medically reviewed in February 2020.

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