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The delicate skin under your eyes may be some of the first areas to show lack of sleep, water retention or aging. Two common problems that can affect your undereye area are bags under the eyes and wrinkling of the skin underneath and on the sides of the eyes. If you experience these conditions, treatments are available to remedy them.
Eye bags are characterized by a swollen appearance under the eyes, according to CNN Health. The skin under the eyes may appear to be fluid-filled, puffy or swollen. Folds or depressions in the skin characterize undereye wrinkles. Wrinkles most commonly occur in the areas where your muscles are, such as:
- on the orbicularis oris
- a circular muscle that surrounds the eye
- according to DermNet NZ
- a website from the New Zealand Dermatological Society
A number of factors contribute to developing bags under the eyes. Some aspects are largely genetic — if your parents have bags under their eyes, it’s likely you may as well, according to Go Ask Alice, a health resource from Columbia University. Allergies or fluid retention are medical issues that can cause bags under the eyes. Finally, as you age, the skin in this area becomes thinner. This can make fluid retained under the eyes appear more prominently.
Thinning skin also is a contributing factor to eye wrinkles. As the skin becomes thinned it can crinkle, much like a piece of paper. Excess sun exposure and smoking also may lead to premature skin wrinkling around the eyes.
Dermatologists classify eye wrinkles into separate categories, depending upon the severity of the wrinkles. Fine lines around the eyes where the skin is beginning its first signs of wrinkling is often due to tobacco smoke or sun damage. Furrows are a type of eye wrinkle known as “crow’s feet.” This condition is the result of skin crinkling due to smiling over time and the natural break down of the muscles around the eyes.
If you experience eye bags, reducing fluid retention and soothing dilated blood vessels under the skin can help to relieve symptoms, according to Go Ask Alice. Drinking more water and cutting back on salt can help as well. To prevent eye wrinkling, apply a sunscreen containing a sun protection factor of 15 or higher to reduce the sun’s harmful effects on the skin. Wearing sunglasses and a hat each time you go outside can help. Shying away from cigarette smoke also can help.
If you experience bags under the eyes, apply a cold compress by moistening a towel with cool water and apply for 10 minutes at a time, according to CNN Health's website. For eye wrinkling, eye treatments can range for moisturizing creams; to infusing moisture into the skin; to injections of botulinum toxin, collagen or other “fillers” to inflate the skin, reports Dr. Michael Persky, a plastic surgeon writing on Real Self 2. If your eye wrinkling or bags are very severe — so much that they impair your vision, you may wish to seek cosmetic surgery treatments to tighten the skin around the eye area.
Fine lines around the eyes where the skin is beginning its first signs of wrinkling is often due to tobacco smoke or sun damage. Excess sun exposure and smoking also may lead to premature skin wrinkling around the eyes. Thinning skin also is a contributing factor to eye wrinkles.
- Best options for your droopy eyelids, circles, and sags. (2015).
- Botulinum toxin therapy. (n.d.).
- Chemical peel.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2017). Wrinkles.
- The risks of tanning. (2018).
- Sarifakioğlu N, et al. A new phenomenon: “Sleep lines” on the face [Abstract]. DOI:
- Schagen SK, et al. (2012). Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging [Abstract]. DOI:
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