Everyone’s woken up at some point or other to dark, puffy bags or circles under the eyes. They are not a great way to start the day, but most of the time, we deal with them for a little while and they go away. Unfortunately, for some people, those dark circles and under eye bags become more than a temporary annoyance—they become a chronic issue that can make a person look constantly exhausted and older than they really are. Eye bags can greatly affect the facial aesthetics and create confidence and self-esteem issues. So what are some causes of under eye bags, and how can they be treated and prevented?

Causes of Bags and Dark Circles

There are a number of factors that can lead to puffy eyes, bags under the eyes, and dark circles, and often, it involves a combination of factors. Here are some of the reasons you could be experiencing problems:

Lack of Sleep

Probably the most common reason for temporary eye puffiness, people who get insufficient or poor sleep often have trouble with eye bags. This is one of the reasons that people assume you are tired when you have puffiness around the eyes. Fluid accumulates in the area overnight, and often goes away as the day progresses and you use your eyelids normally.

Fluid Retention

Sort of a catch-all cause for puffy eyes, fluid retention can occur for a number of reasons. These include increased sodium intake, poor or insufficient sleep, stress, crying, or dehydration.


Sometimes, seasonal or year-round allergies can lead to puffy bags under the eyes. Redness and itching from allergies can make the problem worse and can be both uncomfortable and embarrassing.


Unfortunately, some people are just genetically predisposed to having dark circles or bags under the eyes. This trait often runs in families and can be very difficult to avoid or resolve without professional treatment.


As we age, the skin gets thinner, and facial fat starts to disappear. The fat that is left sometimes presses up against the skin and creates a puffy bag under the eyes between the eyeball and the bottom of the eye socket.


While it’s not always possible to prevent or treat eye bags at home, especially those caused by chronic issues, there are some steps you can take to help reduce or prevent eye puffiness. You might try:

  • Reducing salt intake
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Managing your allergies
  • Caring for the skin around the eyes
  • Elevating your head while sleeping
  • Sleeping on your back
  • Using cold compresses on puffy eyes
  • Reducing alcohol intake
  • Protecting your eyes from the sun
  • Using a retinol cream

Professional Treatment Options

In many cases, prevention and DIY measures simply aren’t enough. If you’re frustrated by your undereye bags and can’t seem to make any headway in improving them, consider these popular treatments with a plastic surgeon:


A non-invasive option for smoothing out the lower lids, hyaluronic acid fillers are injected beneath the eyes to fill in depressions and create a rejuvenated appearance. This procedure offers instant results and does not require downtime, however slight swelling, bruising, and redness are common for a while after the treatment. The results from fillers typically last between 6-12 months.

Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery)

One of the most effective treatments for eye bags, particularly those caused by aging, is blepharoplasty (cosmetic eyelid surgery). Lower blepharoplasty involves repositioning and removing fat beneath the eyes and tightening the skin for a refreshed, alert, and youthful appearance. While blepharoplasty is surgical, it is a fairly minor procedure, and patients should be able to resume most normal activities within a week or two.

Other Treatments

There may be other options that will work for your individual situation, depending on the cause of your eye bags. These options will be discussed with your plastic surgeon during consultation, where you will go over all the possibilities with your doctor.

Discuss Your Goals with an Expert

If you’re finding that your eyes are looking puffy every morning, despite your best efforts, then you may have reached the limit of what you can accomplish at home. It may be time to seek help from a professional and consider treatment for eye bags. You will meet with a few candidates before you make your decision, and it is important to choose a skilled, experienced, and honest facial plastic surgeon to perform your treatments.

Dr. Rami K. Batniji is an expert, board certified plastic surgeon, focusing solely on facial procedures. Dr. Batniji has extensive experience in customizing the treatment process to suit each patient, and can help you make the most of your experience. For more information, and to schedule a consultation with Dr. Batniji, call Batniji Facial Plastic Surgery in Newport Beach (949-650-8882) or Beverly Hills (310-467-2180), CA.