Eye Bag to Differ
September 22, 2014 10:41 AM   Subscribe

Im a mid-30s guy and I am extremely self conscious about my under eye bags. I started noticing it a couple of years ago and I thought it was due to diet or smoking or lack of sleep. Since, I have stopped smoking, I work out regularly and I have improved my sleep pattern (still not great, but a lot better). The eye bags in question are not black or red, but rather they are swollen...like I look like I am hungover all the time. Beyond the way it looks, I can feel the pressure under my eyes and it makes me think I am tired. Anyone else experience this or thoughts on how to improve?
posted by frednorton to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (27 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Have you always had them? Undereye bags are often genetic and in that case there's little you can do unless you are willing to venture into the world of makeup to tone them down (for a guy you'd probably be looking at something more like a tinted moisturizer or BB cream rather than full-blown foundation).

Personally, my bags got worse when my drinking was at its heaviest, and have gone down a lot as I've cut out booze, switched to a low-carb diet and gotten better sleep. YMMV though.
posted by joan_holloway at 10:45 AM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nthing that the propensity for bags under the eyes may be genetic.

However, a Hollywood trick I've heard for alleviating it is to keep a couple of spoons in your freezer; the metal will absorb the cold, and the curved shape is perfect for applying to your eyes to reduce the puffiness when you need to.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:48 AM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

I have observed a connection to wheat in some people.
posted by michaelh at 10:49 AM on September 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: If I have always had then, I havent noticed. I have tried a million eye creams and none really seem to work and some just seem to accentuate the problem.

I drink maybe once to twice every two weeks and not very much so I doubt it is booze.
posted by frednorton at 10:50 AM on September 22, 2014

It's counterintuitive but under-eye bags are mostly due to fat loss not swelling or fat accumulation or anything else. As you age, the supporting fat diminishes leaving behind a small pocket creating the under-eye bag. Look at the photos on this plastic sugeon's blog and you'll see.
posted by the jam at 10:52 AM on September 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

For me, it's allergy-related, as are my dark circles. Maybe check with an allergist.
posted by you're a kitty! at 10:52 AM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I believe the eye creams take a few weeks of daily regimen before they show results. Just in case you were just trying them out a few times and then discarding them.
posted by naju at 10:54 AM on September 22, 2014

One rather drastic cure is cosmetic surgery: lower blepharoplasty. You can Google it.
posted by Cranberry at 10:55 AM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Eye bags often pop up due to lack of sleep and also allergies. If sleep changes haven't helped, try addressing possible allergies.
posted by quince at 10:55 AM on September 22, 2014

First of all, see your doctor to rule out allergies and thyroid issues, because you are young to be experiencing this. The old-fashioned remedy for eye bags is (I swear I am not making this up) Preparation-H. Beyond that, you are of course welcome to consider cosmetic surgery.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:57 AM on September 22, 2014

Response by poster: Ive looked into lower eyelid surgery, just trying to avoid it if possible.
posted by frednorton at 10:59 AM on September 22, 2014

Does one of your parents have the same problem? As others have mentioned, this is hereditary. Not to be a naysayer, but I wouldn't waste money on eye creams. They don't work for puffiness. Some may give a momentary tightening but the solution is surgery.
posted by Fairchild at 11:06 AM on September 22, 2014

Allergies for me, too- taking Claritin daily during allergy season really helps.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:08 AM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks to all. Through my experiences, I tend to agree with you Fairchild that the creams do little.
posted by frednorton at 11:09 AM on September 22, 2014

Try putting a high spf sunscreen on the area every morning, even if you aren't going to be "outside". I was surprised to find how much of a difference this made.

A cold pack or ice cube helps with the swelling and sensation of pressure. I've heard about the spoon trick but I have personally never been able to figure out how the shape is actually supposed to fit the undereye area, and the spoon warms up very quickly. There are also gel masks you can buy that are stored in the freezer to cool the area, freeing up your hands and letting you see out.
posted by yohko at 11:09 AM on September 22, 2014

The spoons trick (keeping cold ones in the fridge and putting them on your eyes in the morning) totally works. You're going to laugh, but teabags on the eyelids also works well for puffy eyes -- the tannins work to depuff. (Obviously, seep the teabags first, throw the in the fridge, and then put them on your closed eyelids for a few minutes.)
posted by holborne at 11:09 AM on September 22, 2014

If you're not on a daily antihistamine, try it for a week and see what happens.

I was reminded this weekend, after staying over with friends whose kitten decided I was her very favorite sleeping partner, that my allergies manifest as eye swelling.

I like Zyrtec (the cheap Costco version), but whatever you like, give it a try.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:16 AM on September 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

Taking Claritin daily cut back how bad mine looked, and they are less noticeable on me now than they were 10 years ago when I wasn't taking any.
posted by wwax at 11:25 AM on September 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

I feel your pain. A few months ago, I got dermal filler injections that have dramatically reduced my undereye bags. Painless (thanks to numbing cream and ice), no bruising, no downtime, instant results. The entire appointment took about 45 minutes start to finish. I am really, really happy with the results. Might be an option for you.
posted by erst at 11:44 AM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

I have a genetic disorder. Among other things, my body misprocesses salt. This makes me prone to water retention. Working on my overall health has reduced my tendency to have bags under my eyes.

So you could consider the possibility that it might be related to electrolyte imbalance or something else that moderately impacts hydration/fluid retention.

Another thing my body does is misprocess fats/oils, so it might be some other mild issue.

My younger son also used to get dark circles. He used to look terrible. He does not have my genetic disorder, but we have worked on some health issues of his and he has less of this.

So, anecdotally, my first hand observation is that getting generally healthier can positively impact this.
posted by Michele in California at 12:25 PM on September 22, 2014

My allergist calls these "allergic shiners". That is, if allergies are at all a possibility for you. Antihistamine (I use ceterezine/Zyrtec and fexofenadine/Allegra) and decongestant (sudafed, if you don't mind handing over your license all the time..) really help mine be less noticeable.
Although the best thing is to avoid allergens (turns out dusting the house *does* have a purpose), if this is your issue and you can figure out your triggers. Yes, allergies can manifest later in life, so don't rule them out if you didn't always have allergies.
posted by nat at 1:01 PM on September 22, 2014

I had a friend who worked on her family's gut flora health for several weeks. They did not continue their strict diet, but she said her one son's dark circles disappeared and didn't return for 6 months. So maybe a probiotic would help.
posted by katyh at 9:25 PM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Exercise helps with circulation and seems to tighten up my skin overall, including under the eyes. Usually when I'm exercising a lot, I'll end up using face masks more, so that might be part of it as well.
posted by salvia at 12:56 AM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just get a little cover up. I mean you're a guy so I realize the world of makeup may be rather daunting, but just get some coverup and make sure it's something without sparkles in it. Apply a very small amount under your eyes. It really is the easiest and most effective solution. If you get some good stuff that matches your skin tone well no one will ever know. Just remember to blend a lot and don't use too much. Just take the edge off, don't totally cover.
posted by whoaali at 4:30 AM on September 23, 2014

Reminding everyone that the OP is talking about bags under the eyes, not dark circles. So makeup won't work.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:34 AM on September 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

You can conceal under-eye bags with makeup, but it's a different technique from the one you use to cover up dark circles. Basically, you apply a shade of concealer that's lighter than your skin to the shadow under the bags, rather than to the bags themselves. gossmakeupartist, youtube makeup guru, can show you how it's done using his very own face: Shorter, older tutorial. Longer, newer tutorial. For somebody who isn't used to wearing makeup it's possibly a bit too much to ask, so it's still worth trying to fix the underlying problem, especially if the bags make you physically uncomfortable. Definitely investigate allergies as a possible cause.

I utterly feel your pain, btw. My under-eye situation is so crater-like and so long-standing that most days I just accept it as part of the ~drama~ of my face. But make-up does help if I make the effort.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 11:31 AM on September 23, 2014

Response by poster: thanks to all. Honestly, I think I would be more self conscious wearing makeup than just dealing with the bags. I am going to look into some of the recommendations. Thanks!
posted by frednorton at 3:10 PM on September 23, 2014

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