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The only way to get your youthful eye area back 24/7 is to get to the root of the problem.
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If you’ve noticed under-eye bags making an appearance, first know this: it’s not all your fault. Diet and sleep both play a role as well, but there are also some reasons that you can’t control. According to the Mayo Clinic, changes in weather — particularly humid days — can cause fluid retention, making the bags more prominent. That puffiness can also come from aging as the collagen and elastin around your eyes start to break down, allergies and genetics. (Thanks, mom and dad.)
Despite the causes that are out of your hands, there are many other ways to take charge of the bags under your eyes to lessen their appearance — no cosmetic procedures involved.
Limit the Salt in Your Diet
All those nights sitting on the couch eating junk food could be taking a toll on much more than your wallet. Loading up on sodium might taste good, but unfortunately it doesn’t do any good for your eye area. “Eating salty foods causes the body to retain water, contributing to under-eye puffiness,” says Joel Schlessinger, Nebraska-based dermatologist and RealSelf contributor. “Cutting back on salty foods can help improve the appearance of under-eye bags.”
When you’re craving something salty, just make some healthier swaps. Instead of eating a bag of chips, go for cut-up cucumber with a sprinkle of sea salt. And instead of buying processed foods or ordering takeout — which are both notoriously known for having high sodium levels — try some new recipes at home instead.
Get More Sleep
Late nights add up quickly when it comes to under-eye bags. According to Schlessinger, a lack of sleep can make them more prominent, making it even more important to catch some zzzs: “Getting a solid eight hours of sleep every night can help diminish the appearance of under-eye puffiness in the long run,” he says.
Do you tend to wake up with puffy eyes? Schlessinger recommends sleeping with your head slightly raised by adding an extra pillow, which he says helps prevent fluid from pooling around your eyes while you sleep.
File this under: Duh. Eye bags aside, according to the American Cancer Society, men have a one in 14 chance of developing lung cancer in their lifetime. But as obvious as the need to quit may be, it’s hard. Very hard. In addition to increasing your risk of various smoking-related cancers, smoking has also been shown to contribute to disturbances in sleep due to the nicotine withdrawals that occur throughout the night.
There’s never been a better time to drop the bad habit, but if you need help kicking the butts, use resources such as Quit.com, SmokeFree.gov and the CDC website to get started. That’s what they’re there for.
Drink More Water
This one sounds like a no-brainer, but if you’re spending every night out on the town drinking until the wee hours, you might forget how much that can affect your eyes come morning so it might be time to cool it. Because being hydrated is key to keeping your under-eye area free from puffiness, alcohol is one of the worst things you can drink.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, alcohol pulls water from your body, promoting dehydration — and bringing about bags under your eyes. Have a glass of beer, but up your water intake to make up for it.
What about caffeine? Sorry, coffee lovers — you’re not going to like this. As hard as it is to say this, caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea and soda could be contributing to your under-eye issues but only if you’re drinking it in excess.
The whole “caffeine makes you dehydrated” myth has been debunked. Drinking more than four cups a day, you might experience a diuretic effect, which could mess with your hydration levels.
Add to that, if you’re hyped up on caffeine later in the day, it could mess with your sleep. So have your cup of Joe and enjoy every sip — just limit your intake, especially before bedtime. Or, maybe just stick to decaf (good luck with that).
So now, all about what you should be drinking all day. In addition to keeping you healthy and hydrated, water also helps keep your skin clear and under-eye bags at bay. Drinking plenty of water will help better the appearance of the area, so get to sipping.
Grab a sturdy water bottle that you can take everywhere with you, from work to the gym and keep filling it up all day long.