Ask any dermatologist, eye bags are one of the hardest conditions to treat. It’s mainly due to the fact that dark circles are largely determined by genes, as well as practically unavoidable lifestyle factors (lack of sleep and stress are among the main offenders).
“When it comes to dark circles, there are so many things that might be causing them,” says Dr. Muneeb Shah, Dermatology Chief Resident also known as DermDoc on TikTok, where he has over 267 million likes. “The best treatment will depend totally on the underlying cause, which can be very frustrating for people to navigate themselves.”
Rather than testing out thousands of expensive creams, we’ve got the low-down from Dr Shah on the various types of under eye bags, as well as the best way to treat them so you can adopt the most effective option for your specific case.
EYE BAGS CAUSED BY HYPERPIGMENTATION
If the skin around your eyes is much darker than the rest of your complexion, you might be experiencing eye bags caused by hyperpigmentation: “ Pigmentation, or hyperpigmentation, is the overproduction of melanin (the natural pigments produced in our cells responsible for skin and hair colour) within specific areas on the skin,” says Dr Shah. This overproduction creates darker areas compared to the overall skin tone, which some people dislike.
According to Dr Shah, the best skincare solution for hyperpigmentation are product formulas that contain lightening and brightening ingredients like niacinamide, which inhibits the production of melanin, alpha arbutin, which is a gentler derivative of hydroquinone and a very effective skin-lightener, and Vitamin C, which also inhibits melanin.
You should also invest in a high factor, broad-spectrum SPF and apply it religiously. “Sunscreen is very important if your bags are caused by hyperpigmentation as the condition will get worse with sun exposure,” he explains.
EYE BAGS CAUSED BY SUNKEN SOCKETS
Another type of eye bag can be caused by the shape of the eye area, rather than anything to do with the skin itself. “A lot of people have sunken eye sockets and deep tear troughs and it’s actually the shadow formed that is creating the appearance of under eye bags,” adds Dr Shah.
If you have do have sunken sockets, filling the area is the most effective way to treat it. “A doctor will be able to fill the area using dermal filler, which is injected, or fat transfer, which is a surgical procedure.”
While more invasive and most likely more costly, the results of both dermal fillers and fat transfer last far longer than any topical skincare cream and can be instantly transformative. However, it’s very important to find a reliable and qualified professional to administer the treatment.
EYE BAGS CAUSED BY BLUE VEINS
Another common cause of under eye bags are blue veins that show through the skin. The skin around the eyes is a lot thinner and more delicate than elsewhere on the body, which makes veins more visible, especially if they are near the surface.
“If it’s blue veins that are causing the issue, you’re going to need an eye cream with caffeine in it,” advises Dr Shah. Caffeine is a type of molecule known as a vasoconstrictor, meaning it reduces the size of blood vessels. This can constrict the amount of blood present at the surface of the skin and make veins appear less obvious.
Now that you know about the different causes of eye bags as well as the best skincare ingredients and treatments to look out for, check out our round up of the best eye creams that have been hand-picked by our editors.