Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How can I lessen the appearance of bags under my eyes?"
My skin has become very aged in the last year. Do cucumbers really help? I'm getting photographed today and I want to look my best.
Swelling or puffiness under the eyes is a common complaint and can be very frustrating. It can become worse as a person ages as the tissues and muscles around the eyes become weaker, allowing fat to protrude through. Fluid can also accumulate in this space. Rarely, eye puffiness can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, so you should discuss this problem with your primary care doctor. There are various causes of increased under eye swelling including fluid retention from increased salt intake, sleeping flat on your back, not getting enough sleep, and allergies. Crying can also lead to edema. Depending on the cause of your swelling, definitive treatments will differ. Examples are allergy medications, sleeping with your head elevated, and obtaining at least 7-8 hours of sleep at night (the appropriate amount of sleep for the average adult). Since you currently have increased puffiness, you could try a cool compress. This can be done with a washcloth and cool water. Put the damp cloth under you eye for a few minutes with mild pressure. Cucumbers and cold tea bags are often suggested for the same cooling effect. There is some thought that caffeine may be useful, but this has not yet been proven. If under-eye puffiness is a recurrent or chronic problem, you should follow up with your primary care doctor to ensure there are no other serious problems other than cosmetic concerns and to consider possible allergy medications, skin treatments, and eyelid surgery.
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