Here’s how to treat both issues separately
You know what would be great? Not having to deal with dark circles and bags under the eyes. They’re a real beauty buzzkill. But alas, they just love to show up to the party uninvited. Even when you were on your best behaviour and stayed in just so you could rack up a solid eight hours of sleep.
And yet, there they are, staring back at you when you look in the mirror. What gives? We asked Emma Hobson, Education Manager for the International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica, to clue us in on what dark circles and under-eye bags are, the difference between the two (yep, they’re actually two separate issues), and the best approach for how to get rid of bags under eyes and how to remove dark circles.
Are dark circles and under-eye bags the same thing?
“No, they are not the same thing. Puffy, tired eyes are when the skin raises and the tissue is very soft and fluidly. [This can be] caused by several reasons, such as excess tissue fluid, lack of sleep, a poor diet including alcohol consumption (in Chinese medicine, eye puffiness is linked to poor kidney function), stress, and incorrect product usage around the eye area.
When it comes to dark circles, this is when the skin around the eyes changes colour, this can be a dark blue/grey colouration or a dark brown colouration. For some people, they can be attributed to their genetics, therefore are difficult to treat; for others, it can be a sign of illness, fatigue or stress on the body. In Chinese methodology, the under-eye area is linked to our kidneys and liver and they believe if these organs are overloaded/stressed this can appear as dark circles under the eyes."
Top tips for preventing under-eye bags
“Get plenty of good sleep each night - around eight hours is preferable - and ensure you de-stress. It is advisable to reduce as many stimulants as possible, for example, caffeine, alcohol and chocolate, and ensure you drink plenty of water each day. Also, try not to use an eye care product that is too heavy and rich around the eye area as this can sometimes also cause puffiness.”
How to get rid of bags under eyes
#1 / Apply cooling eye masks
Hobson's quick and easy DIY suggestion? “To relieve puffy eyes and for a quick recovery, apply cooling eye pads (fresh from the fridge) that have been soaked with rose water or your hydrating spritz toner”. You can also try cooling eye masks, such as Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber De-tox Hydra-gel Eye Patches.
#2 / Use an anti-inflammatory eye gel
“If that’s not possible then you can resort to using two pieces of cold cucumber for five to eight minutes; once removed, apply some eye drops into each eye to improve clarity, then apply a stress-relief eye gel around the eyes using your index fingers to gently ‘pump’ in semi circles from outer to inner, helping to drain the excess tissue fluid away (this is a very effective manual lymph drainage technique). Follow with a light application of eye gel (preferably one that has been cooling in the fridge).”
#3 / Use a massage technique to reduce fluid retention
“I’d also highly recommend a visit to a professional Dr Vodder Method of Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) practitioner. MLD is a highly-effective treatment that incorporates various manipulation techniques around the eyes to drain the excess fluid from the tissue and thus reduces the swelling.”
#4 / Try a natural remedy to de-puff eyes
If you’re looking for home remedies to reduce your under-eye bags naturally, Hobson notes, “There is some credence to the old wives tales of using cold tea bags or slices of cold cucumber since both have a cooling, anti-inflammatory effect”.
How to treat dark circles
Dark circles are stubborn, and they can be tricky to treat (while you may not be able to get rid of them permanently, especially if they’re hereditary, you might be able to lessen their severity). Hobson’s advice is to look for brightening ingredients in both your eye cream and concealer.
#1 / Cover up with a tinted eye cream
“For immediate results, try using an eye cream and or foundation that contains light diffusers; this act like microscopic mirrors on the skin surface by reflecting the light; they can dramatically reduce the appearance of dark circles (however they don't actually physically lighten your dark circles). You can also apply a light application of concealer placed under the eyes (make sure it is not too matte as this can accentuate fine lines) to lighten the area.”
We recommend these tinted eye creams: La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Eyes; Tatcha The Pearl Tinted Eye Illuminating Treatment; Medik8 Dark Circles Tinted Primer
#2 / Seek out brightening ingredients
“[An] excellent ingredient to aid skin lightening is vitamin C. You can now get some amazing, very potent and stabilised forms (magnesium ascorbyl phosphate) of vitamin C, which are often combined with skin lightening botanicals such as liquorice as well as phytic acid, which comes from rice bran. Diglucosyl gallic acid teams up with the skin’s natural microbiomes to dramatically brighten the eyes. Niacinamide contributes to the effect of lightening the skin without impairing skin health.”
The good news? Many eye treatment products are packed with ingredients to combat both dark circles and under-eye bags in one.
If you’re looking for a dark circles under-eyes treatment, we reviewed the top 10 eye creams for dark circles over here.
For stubborn dark circles, you might also want to look into under-eye fillers - check out our complete guide to dermal fillers for dark circles.
Do you suffer from dark circles or under-eye bags? What are your go-to eye treatments? Share with us below!
Main image credit: @brooklyndecker
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.