You may be able to reduce the appearance of eyebags long-term with specific lifestyle changes.

Although many products claim to help de-puff and lighten the under-eye area, they don’t always work. This is especially true if your eye bags and dark circles are genetically inherited.

Other common causes include:

Keep reading to learn how to reduce the appearance of under-eye bags.

Tea isn’t just for sipping. You can use caffeinated tea bags under your eyes to help with dark circles and bags.

The caffeine in the tea contains powerful antioxidants and may increase blood flow to your skin. It’s also said to protect against UV rays and potentially slow the aging process.

Green tea, in particular, has been touted by researchers for its potential anti-inflammatory effects, as shown in a 2020 review of research.

To do this:

  1. Steep two tea bags for 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Let the tea bags chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  3. Then, squeeze out the extra liquid and apply it to your under-eye area.
  4. Leave the tea bags on for 15 to 30 minutes.

You may be able to find relief from dark circles with a cold compress you make using materials you already own. Applying cold to the area can help the blood vessels constrict quickly for some temporary relief.

Although you can purchase a cold compress at the store, do-it-yourself methods can work just as well.

Some DIY options include a:

  • chilled teaspoon
  • cool cucumber
  • wet washcloth
  • bag of frozen veggies

Before applying, wrap your compress with a soft cloth to protect your skin from getting too cold. You only need to apply the compress for a few minutes to see results.

Some people swear that using a Neti Pot can help remove your under-eye bags and dark circles. A Neti Pot is a device you fill with a saltwater (normal saline) solution. You place the spout in your nose and irrigate your sinuses, removing mucus and other debris.

Learn how to use a Neti Pot here.

Only use a Neti pot with safe water

Water can contain tiny terms that may cause a deadly brain infection. To keep yourself safe when using nasal irrigation, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends boiling your water (and then allowing it to cool) before using it in a Neti Pot or buying sterile or distilled water to use with nasal irrigation systems. You may be able to filter or disinfect your water.

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Dehydration can contribute to under-eye bags. About half of people worldwide don’t meet the daily water recommendations.

How much is enough? Recommendations range from 6 to 12 cups and may vary based on many factors, including:

  • age
  • activity level
  • climate
  • sex assigned at birth
  • whether or not you are pregnant

Don’t like water? The good news is that all fluids count toward your daily total. Still, water is a low-calorie option. Try sparkling waters, flavored waters, or even water infused with fruit. Hot or cold herbal decaffeinated tea is another good choice.

Allergies can cause puffy dark circles under your eyes. You may also experience redness or watery, itchy eyes. This reaction is caused by your immune system’s response to something that irritates it, or allergens.

If you feel your under-eye bags might be allergy related, ask a doctor about taking over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications. Some brands include:

It’s also a good idea to avoid potential allergens whenever possible.

If you’re having trouble identifying the cause, consider keeping a diary to see what substances or other things cause the most reaction. If this is a chronic problem talk with a doctor about allergy testing.

You may have used eye creams in the past, but concentrating on specific ingredients is key. Retinol creams have been used for a variety of skin issues, including:

This ingredient is related to vitamin A and it comes in cream, gel, or liquid form.

How does retinol help with eye bags? When applied to the skin, this ingredient can improve collagen deficiency. You may find lower concentrations of retinol in different OTC products, but stronger creams require a prescription from a dermatologist.

Retinol is generally applied to the skin once a day, about a half hour after washing your face. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, skip the retinol creams and extra vitamin A.

Skin-lightening creams contain an ingredient called hydroquinone. This ingredient interferes with the production of melanin in the skin. This can help reduce the appearance of dark bags or under-eye circles.

You can get hydroquinone by prescription from a dermatologist. You’ll need to use these products regularly to see lasting results.

It’s important to note that the positive effects of hydroquinone are reversed when skin is exposed to sunlight, so you should only apply at night. Some people also experience side effects with products containing it. These can include:

  • dryness
  • irritation
  • mild skin issues

If you have a reaction, stop using these products.

Protecting your skin against the sun’s rays can help with a number of dermatological issues, like:

  • premature aging
  • skin cancer
  • discoloration

As a result, wearing sunscreen may also help with your under-eye bags and dark circles.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association suggests that all people wear sunscreen. Broad-spectrum sunscreens offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays. The Association recommends choosing a formula that is SPF 30 or higher and water-resistant. Reapply as necessary or directed by the package instructions.

You can also avoid the sun’s harmful rays by:

  • sitting in the shade
  • wearing protective clothing
  • avoiding tanning beds
  • using caution around water, snow, and sand, which can increase your risk of sunburn

You can check out our top picks for sunscreen here.

A dermatologist may offer other long-term solutions, like prescription creams or cosmetic procedures that work to reduce swelling and discoloration. Options can include:

These treatments may need to be repeated for the best results.

Cosmetic procedures may reduce wrinkles, scarring, and pigment issues, like dark circles and under-eye bags.

Improving your nightly routine may also help you avoid bags under your eyes. In particular, it’s important to wash your face before bed each night, especially if you wear makeup.

There are several reasons why you shouldn’t sleep in makeup. First, if you sleep with mascara or other eye makeup on your eyes, you may:

  • irritate them
  • experience an allergic reaction
  • develop an infection that creates redness, puffiness, or other symptoms

Some say forgetting to wash your face may cause wrinkles or damage the skin in other ways. How exactly? When you sleep in makeup, you’re exposing your skin to free radicals. This has the potential to create what’s called oxidative stress, which may cause your skin to show signs of aging earlier.

Try elevating your head with extra pillows while you sleep. Using two or more pillows or a wedge pillow should do the trick. How does this work? Elevating your head helps to prevent fluid from pooling in your lower eyelids and creating puffiness while you sleep.

If propping up your head hurts your neck or you can’t fall asleep, you may also consider elevating the entire top end of your bed by a few inches. You can use bricks under the bed posts or use special bed risers that are specifically made for this purpose.

Beyond how you sleep, how much you sleep is also a factor. Although limited sleep may not actually cause under-eye circles, getting little sleep may make your complexion paler. Any shadows or dark circles you have may be more obvious as a result.

Most adults should aim to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night.

If you’re having trouble settling down to rest, try these tricks:

  • Try creating a sleep schedule, or a regular bedtime and wakeup time, even on the weekends.
  • Avoid stimulants including caffeine and nicotine in the hours before bedtime. The effects of caffeine can last up to 8 hours.
  • Avoid beverages containing alcohol before bedtime, as they can affect your sleep quality.
  • Avoid eating large meals a few hours before bedtime.
  • Finish all strenuous exercise a few hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid screens, such as televisions, cell phones, and other electronic devices, for 1 hour before bedtime.
  • Try taking a hot bath or shower before bed or using other relaxation techniques.
  • Make your room dark and cool, if you can.

As you get older, the muscles and tissues that support your eyelids weaken. This means that your skin may begin to sag, including the fat that’s usually around your eyes.

Upping your intake of vitamin C can help your body absorb more hyaluronic acid. This essential acid is naturally found in the body, but the amount stored decreases with age.

Foods rich in vitamin C and amino acids can also help with collagen production by boosting your levels of hyaluronic acid, creating healthier skin.

Good sources of vitamin C can include:

  • oranges
  • red peppers
  • kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • broccoli
  • strawberries

Iron deficiency anemia is a condition where the blood is lacking red blood cells. These cells carry oxygen to tissues in the body. Iron deficiency can cause dark circles under the eyes and even pale skin. Other symptoms can include:

A doctor can check for anemia with a blood test. They may recommend eating more iron-rich foods or taking iron supplements to get back on track, depending on the severity.

Iron-rich foods include:

  • red meat, pork, and poultry
  • seafood
  • beans
  • leafy green veggies, like kale and spinach
  • raisins, apricots, and other dried fruits
  • iron-fortified foods, like cereals, breads, and pasta
  • peas

Eating too many salty foods may contribute to under-eye bags. Salt affects your body’s fluid retention and can make you puffy overall. It may also lead to other health issues, like heart disease and stroke.

The American Heart Association recommends consuming 2,300 milligrams (mg) or less of salt each day. Ideally, adults should consume no more than 1,500 mg of salt each day.

Read packages carefully to see how much salt is in your favorite snacks. One way to immediately lower the salt in your diet is to avoid eating packaged, processed foods. Instead, try eating a diet based more on whole foods — including fresh fruits and veggies — where you can control the salt content.

You may also consider cutting back on alcohol. Why does this work? It’s a similar idea to drinking more water. Drinking alcohol contributes to dehydration, and dehydration may lead to bags and dark circles under your eyes.

If you’re craving a special drink, try grabbing flavored sparkling water or infusing regular water with fruit.

Nicotine depletes your body’s stores of vitamin C, which is the vitamin responsible for creating healthy collagen in your skin. If you smoke, you may deal with issues like:

  • wrinkles
  • discoloration
  • under-eye bags
  • dark circles

Quitting smoking also helps with a host of other health issues. You can add years to your life and reduce your chances of developing many health conditions and diseases.

Doctors typically recommend tools or programs to support smoking cessation. Medications or other products may help you manage any nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

What gets rid of bags under the eyes fast?

You may be able to reduce the appearance of under-eye bags by applying a cold compress or steeped and chilled green tea bags.

Can eye bags go away?

While you may not be able to get rid of eye bags, you may be able to reduce their appearance with some practices and topical products. These can include getting enough sleep, sleeping elevated, quitting smoking if you smoke, and applying sunscreen. Topical products containing retinol may also help.

What causes bags under the eyes?

You may develop under-eye bags due to genetics, aging, allergies, and skin conditions such as eczema or pigmentation issues.

What is the new procedure for under-eye bags?

Nonsurgical procedures for smoothing the under-eye area include:

  • Filler: This treatment injects a filler, typically hyaluronic acid, under the eye to create a smoother appearance.
  • Laser resurfacing. This procedure uses a laser to remove top layers of the skin beneath the eye, stimulating new collagen growth.
  • Chemical peel. A chemical peel treats under-eye skin by removing the older, top layer of skin cells, revealing tighter, brighter skin beneath.

Surgical options include a lower eyelid lift, which is called a blepharoplasty.

How can I tighten the skin under my eyes?

You may be able to reduce puffiness under the eyes with some lifestyle changes, such as sleeping elevated, staying hydrated, and reducing your intake of salty foods and alcohol.

If you have a health condition like allergies, treating that condition or avoiding triggers may reduce the appearance of puffiness.

Having dark under-eye circles typically results from genetics. But you may be able to reduce their appearance with lifestyle changes like getting more sleep, applying topical products, and habits like wearing sunscreen.

Cosmetic procedures performed in a dermatologist’s office may also help — but they may need to be repeated to maintain the effects.

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