Puffy eyes, often referred to as “bags under the eyes”, are a common sign of skin aging in adults. They can give a person a tired or aged look.

The tissues that surround the eyes are naturally very thin and sensitive. Over time, these tissues tend to weaken, causing the skin around the eyelids to droop and sag. Fat can also build up in these tissues, causing a swollen appearance.

Conditions such as pregnancy or hormonal imbalances associated with menstruation can also cause fluid retention. Factors such as not getting enough rest, diet, stress, allergic reactions and rubbing your eyes excessively can all contribute to swelling and irritation to the tissue under the eyes. In most cases, puffy eyes can be treated by making simple adjustments to your daily routine, such as getting adequate rest, reducing salt intake and drinking a sufficient amount water.

Common symptoms of puffy eyes include:

Inflammation: Swelling under or around the eye area

Darkness: Dark circles or areas of skin under the eyes

Loss of elasticity: Sagging skin, commonly referred to as “bags under the eyes”

Puffy eyes may be hereditary and a natural part of skin aging. It could also be caused by lack of sleep, diet, allergies, stress, water retention or irritation caused by direct contact (rubbing the eyes).

The regular use of a quality moisturizer is the first basic step to keeping your skin adequately hydrated and evenly textured. (Price is not a reflection of quality.) Chill your moisturizer in the refrigerator before use for a soothing effect on your skin and to calm puffy eyes. Also, try incorporating daily sun protection with an SPF-rated moisturizer to reduce further sun damage to your skin. Before bedtime, make certain to cleanse your face and remove all traces of makeup to avoid acne breakouts or skin irritation. Moisturize just-washed skin with a cream or lotion that’s enriched with vitamins, botanicals and other nourishing ingredients.

You can prevent the appearance of puffy eyes by making simple adjustments in your lifestyle. Get plenty of rest. A night of uninterrupted sleep can do wonders for your overall complexion. Avoid foods high in salt. Salty foods will cause your body to retain excess water. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid irritants. If your eyes tend to swell due to allergic reactions, simply cut out or avoid products or substances that irritate your eyes. This can include certain cosmetic products, foods or medications. To prevent sun damage to your skin, make sure to use a protective sunscreen before heading out into the sun. Just remember to apply frequently and generously.

Several over-the-counter creams are specially designed to help soothe the skin around the eyes. To reduce swelling, you can also apply cold compresses to your eyes. Cool cucumber slices or teabags may be used.

Cosmetic procedures such as eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) can be performed to remove bags under eyes. During this procedure, an incision is made in the lower eyelid and excess fat and sagging skin are removed. Laser resurfacing and chemical peels may also help tighten the skin.