Medically reviewed by Vicky Davis, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 4/9/2021
Gray hair may look distinguished. Wrinkles may look wise. But, under eye bags? There’s nothing sexy about saggy under eye skin.
Believe it or not, the under eye lids of men actually sag more prominently than the skin under women's eyes.
So, while it may be common among your buddies, no matter how many guys are sporting the fatigued, puffy look, we can assure you, under eye bags will never become a trend.
Read up to find out why we get bags in the first place, and what we can do to fix them.
No matter how many miles we run, or green drinks we chug in an attempt to keep our bodies looking youthful, the skin around our eyes is bound to betray us. That’s because this delicate skin is super thin, and contains very little fat tissue.
As we age, the skin around the eyes loses elasticity and begins to sag. The fat that would usually stay around the eyes starts to move forward into the lower eyelids, giving that “baggy” appearance.
If you have dark circles and bags, there may be a couple reasons for this: One, the puffiness may be casting a shadow, making skin appear darker. And two, blood may be pooling in the veins and blood vessels just under the skin, causing a purplish hue.
Ok, we get it: Under eye bags and dark circles aren’t the best look. But the good news is that it is purely a cosmetic condition and not considered dangerous.
And even better, there are some ways to avoid eye bags in the first place. Here are a few puff-producers that we can try to eliminate:
Lack of sleep can cause hanging eyelids, swollen eyes, and dark circles, according to a study of facial cues in individuals who did not get enough sleep, in comparison to when they slept for a considerable amount of time.
It should be noted that the study was performed on women, but there’s no reason that men wouldn’t benefit from sleep, too.
You don’t need to be a total teetotaler, but drinking dehydrates and damages skin. Smoking also reduces production of collagen, which speeds up aging, causing wrinkles and dull skin.
Eating salty foods can cause fluid retention in the thin skin under your eyes, which results in a puffy appearance.
Allergies can also cause eye bags. If you have allergies, your eyes produce histamine to fight off the allergen, and this can make the skin around your eyes swollen and puffy.
Of course, even if we are doing all the right things, like getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet, those stubborn under eye bags may choose to set up camp under the windows to your soul no matter what.
Don’t worry. (And definitely don’t lose sleep, that won’t help at all!)
There are plenty of effective treatments. From topical creams to minor surgery, here are some options to consider.
Most guys shy away from makeup. But cosmeceuticals are (kind of) different.
While not a true term recognized by the FDA, cosmeceutical refers to cosmetics that have medicinal or drug-like benefits.
For example, many eye creams contain ingredients that help reduce eye bags and help reduce puffiness.
When purchasing an eye cream, look for any of these key ingredients:
Retinoids. Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that promote collagen synthesis, which has been proven to increase skin elasticity. So if your under eye bags are super saggy, an eye cream with retinoids should help firm up the loose skin.
Caffeine. We’re not talking coffee and soda, this is purely the kind that goes on TOP of the skin. Topical caffeine helps diminish oedema — which is basically a fancy word for fluid retention. In other words, if your under eye bags are puffy, find an eye cream that lists caffeine in the ingredients.
Peptides. Peptides may help increase skin elastin, and promote collagen production which helps skin look younger and firmer.
Topical creams are a good start, but if you’re looking for a solution that may show more obvious results, but still don’t involve surgery, there are several non-invasive and superficial treatments.
Your dermatology practitioner can help determine which would be the best treatment option for you, but here are some they may consider:
Ablative Laser Resurfacing. There are a couple types of laser treatments that are known to help diminish dark under eye circles, but abrasive laser resurfacing not only treats pigment irregularity it also helps enhance skin tightness, and collagen production.
Radiofrequency. Instead of a light source, these devices use electric currents to tighten the skin around the eyes.
Chemical Peels. Chemical peeling improves skin collagen, which will help lighten the appearance of dark circles.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) gel soft tissue fillers. For people with sagging under eye bags, HA fillers has become the treatment of choice. It increases the volume under the eyes, is widely available, and is effective.
If topical creams and non-invasive treatments aren’t doing the trick, you may want to explore some of these more invasive options with your dermatology practitioner:
Fat transfer. This involves a similar technique as the HA fillers, and can be a very effective way to achieve facial rejuvenation. Fat transfer will soften the transition from eyelid to cheek, and will minimize dark circles.
Lower eyelid blepharoplasty. This surgery to remove excess under eye skin is usually performed by ophthalmologists and plastic surgeons. Blepharoplasty also helps eliminate the shadowing that sagging skin may cause.
While under eye bags may not be your most welcome facial feature, they don’t have to be a permanent fixture. With a few simple lifestyle changes, some topical creams, and treatment advice from your dermatology practitioner, you can send your under eye bags packing for good.