Let's get real, nobody likes an eye bag. Dark circles and puffiness under the eyes can indicate anything from allergies to basic digestive imbalances and poor skin laxity (aka ageing).
"Contrary to popular belief, dark circles and bags under the eyes aren’t just caused by tiredness," says Lucy Kuper, General Manager of Biologi.
"They are caused by a variety of things ranging from age, diet, hormones, genetics and tiredness. Eye bags are caused by lymphatic fluid retention in the eye socket [combined with] weaker collagen, thinner skin and gravity."
In Chinese Medicine, there's a correlation between the Shen/Kidney system and how it's linked with discolouration under the eyes, which can all tie in with adrenal and hormonal imbalances.
No matter what the cause, we want to have fresh eyes that mirror our soul. So, read on and discover the 11 best ways to ensure your peepers pop.
#11 Sleep on Your Back
If you sleep on your front puffy eyes and dark circles are more likely to occur. "Tummy sleeping will create more pressure on the eye and sinus area," says Clancy Street, acupuncturist and founder of Diamond Creek Natural Medicine Centre. "This may exacerbate congestion that contributes to dark eye circles."
So, roll over and start sleeping supine.
#10 Make a Coffee Eye Mask
Coffee grounds make a great face or body scrub and can work wonders around the eye area too. Mix some used (but fairly fresh) coffee grounds with one egg white and froth it up with a fork. Pat it gently onto the area below the eye (without rubbing) and leave for about 10 minutes.
The caffeine from the coffee helps to tighten and tone the skin while the egg white helps draw out toxins. Do this once a month and you'll have the brightest peepers in town.
#9 Drink Plenty of Water
According to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), upper eyelid puffiness is due to disharmony of the Spleen. "Its ability to metabolise fluid and retain tissue integrity has become compromised," says Street.
"Hollowness (of either the top or bottom of eye socket, or both) indicates a Kidney imbalance, malnutrition, constitution or dehydration." The lower lid can also become puffy which is another indicator of Kidney or Liver imbalance.
Natalie Abouchar of Privee Clinic in Sydney adds, "Drinking lots of water and eating a diet full of fresh veggies and clean foods can help to detoxify the body, and may also help to improve dark circles caused by poor lifestyle choices."
#8 Apply Arnica
"Dark circles under the eyes are caused from multiple factors, one of them being poor circulation in the capillaries," says Ally Cussell from Rejuvenation Clinics Australia. "Poor circulation leads to a blood overflow which increases pressure on the skin which results in swelling (puffiness) and darkness."
She suggests applying a small amount of arnica to the area. "Arnica is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial ingredient that accelerates the recession of blood and assists with eliminating dark circles."
Try: Weleda Arnica Cream RRP $26.95
#7 Do a Steam Facial at Home
Congestion can cause the lower eye lids to droop and sag making you look (and feel) tired. A simple way to help ease sinus blockages is with a home remedy steam facial.
Half fill a large bowl with almost-boiling water. Add a drop or two of eucalyptus or tea tree oil, place your face above the bowl (not in it!) and cover your head and the bowl with a large towel.
The steam from the hot water will naturally release the vapours from the essential oils and help to dilate the blood vessels and loosen any mucous, fast. Be careful not to use too much eucalyptus oil as it can burn the nasal labia when inhaled.
#6 Use Products with Collagen
One way to boost the look and feel of the eye area is with collagen. There are plenty of collagen boosting products for all budgets including Skin Republic, Hydro Peptide, and Intraceuticals (as used by Madonna, Katy Perry and Gwyneth Paltrow).
"The skin around and under the eye is very delicate and up to 10 times thinner than on the rest of the face," explains Kirsty Barnett, beauty therapist and director of Ozone Beauty & Medispa near Byron Bay, NSW. "It has less oil glands so can become dehydrated quickly … luckily this delicate skin is highly absorbent," says Barnett.
Try: Intraceuticals Eye Mask (RRP $49) for instant results.
#5 Check Out Cosmetic Acupuncture
Dr Abbie Cloherty, cosmetic acupuncturist and founder of Zhong Centre, uses many different forms of TCM to help with dark circles and eye bags.
She advises that diet and self care play a part in eye health. "A decent bone broth daily [helps with] iron levels, digestion, plus marrow and collagen absorption for the tissues."
"In Chinese Medicine ‘black’ bruises are a deficency of Kidney element, and ‘Black’ colouring under the eyes are also Kidney. However, a ‘green hue’ under the eyes is more of the Gan/Liver system." Cosmetic acupuncture can help to balance the systems and restore your eye health and the skin on the face.
#4 Try Laser Treatment
If you want to know how to get rid of bags under the eyes, cosmetic laser treatments might be for you.
"Cosmetic treatments that may improve dark circles include any which aim to increase collagen and thicken the skin," says Abouchar.
"Tissue regeneration treatments using the patient’s own blood can also improve circulation, heal damaged cells and revolumise the lax tissues caused by age related volume loss."
Any laser option that works around the orbital area can help. "Laser(s) warm the lower layers of skin to contact collagen fibres and stimulate new collagen production, resulting in plumper tear troughs and a gentle lift of drooping eye contours," says Cussell.
"They assist with eliminating dark circles … by refreshing and rejuvenating the skin under the eyes."
#3 Use a Jade Roller
Jade is known to have a soothing and cooling effect on the skin, and by adding a Jade Roller into your daily beauty routine it can help to stimulate circulation and reduce puffiness around the eyes.
Used for centuries by Asian women, they promote lymphatic drainage and can help serums and moisturisers penetrate deeper into the skin.
By rolling regularly over the acupressure points of the face, you'll give your collagen a boost which will help with keeping your face taut and your skin healthy. Say hello to less puffiness and a brighter complexion.
Try: Zudoya Jade Roller RRP $69.99
#2 Consider Cosmetic Fillers
If you want to remove bags under the eyes permanently, the only way is with blepheroplasty (cosmetic eyelid surgery). If that's too drastic then a step before that is injectable filler.
"Salon treatments can include injecting a filler into the tear trough, allowing for something in between the skin and underlying tissue, making any dark circles appear lighter," explains Kuper.
They can also be applied to help minimise and even out the appearance of puffiness and bags under the eyes.
#1 Load up on Vitamin C
High levels of vitamin C help to firm the skin around the eyes explains Kuper. The simplest way to ingest it is by eating foods high in the vitamin such as capsicum, blueberries and oranges.
But applying a product with high levels of vitamin C can help to minimise the appearance of dark circles under the eyes and assist with collagen production, skin elasticity and skin brightening.
Try: Biologi's Bk Rejuvention Eye Serum, RRP $79.95