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Why Do People Wake Up With Bags Under Their Eyes?

author image Kelsey Casselbury
Kelsey Casselbury has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Penn State-University Park. She has a long career in print and web media, including serving as a managing editor for a monthly nutrition magazine and food editor for a Maryland lifestyle publication. She also owns an Etsy shop selling custom invitations and prints.
Why Do People Wake Up With Bags Under Their Eyes?
A man is hitting his alarm clock in the morning. Photo Credit: Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images

In the land of beauty, there’s a myth that lack of sleep can cause bags under your eyes, but it’s more commonly caused by biological factors. Undereye bags are a cosmetic concern and are very infrequently caused by a serious medical condition. However, for those who are bothered by the bags, treatment is possible.

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There are three common causes of undereye bags: gravity, biological changes and fat. The older you get, the longer your face has been subjected to gravity, which pulls down on your facial tissues, according to the website The muscles under your skin also weaken as you age and the collagen degrades, so you lose elasticity. Additionally, the fat deposits around your eyes are meant to protect them; however, when the membrane weakens with age, the fat slips out and causes pockets of fat where it’s not meant to be.


While there is not any proof that sleeping can affect undereye bags, according to, lack of sleep can affect the severity of the condition. However, eating salty foods can also cause your body to retain water, which exacerbates the puffiness. Changing your sleeping and eating habits likely won’t do any good. If you are genetically inclined to get undereye bags, then it’s hard to avoid them -- you can only minimize their appearance.

Medical Treatments

To tighten skin and improve skin tone, which can decrease the appearance of undereye bags, you can get a skin treatment that is traditionally used to treat wrinkles. These include laser resurfacing and chemical peels. A more drastic measure is a plastic surgery procedure known as a blepharoplasty, which repositions the fat that created the bags. This surgery can also repair baggy upper eyelids, droopy lower eyelids and excess skin on the upper eyelid. A blepharoplasty can be paired with Botox or a facelift.

At-Home Treatments

At-home treatments are not proven to be effective but are commonly used. They include placing cucumber slices on the lids as a cooling agent to decrease swelling, or teabags, which include a natural anti-diuretic. However, if you have allergies, certain teas such as chamomile could actually cause your eyes to swell. If you experience any sort of allergic reaction or other symptoms, stop using the treatment and call your physician.


If pronounced undereye bags appear suddenly, it could be a symptom of an allergic reaction or dermatitis, especially if it's accompanied by redness and itchiness. To reduce additional reactions, avoid allergens, which can include hair dyes, soaps or cosmetics. If the allergies are very troublesome, talk to your doctor about over-the-counter or prescription allergy medications.

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