The skin under your eyes is some of the most delicate on your entire body. If certain conditions are present that skin can appear sunken and hollow. These “sunken eyes” are sometimes known by other names, including “eye bags" and they are often accompanied by dark circles.
While sunken eyes are not often a cause for real concern, nobody wants their face to look tired and worn out. But what exactly causes sunken eyes to appear, and is there anything you can do about them?
That's what we're here to discuss. Below we're going to look at the causes of sunken eyes and take you through the various treatment options.
What Causes Sunken Eyes?
Here are the most likely causes of sunken eyes.
- Aging - Among the many challenges the passing years heap upon us are those related to our skin. As we age, our bodies produce less and less collagen for reasons that aren’t understood. As a result, our skin begins to sag, with one of the potential results being sunken eyes.
- Fatigue - Few things are harder on your skin than not getting enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep can undermine the integrity of your skin and cause sunken eyes, jowls, and more.
- Dehydration - Dehydration is one of the primary causes for most common skin conditions and a major contributing factor to the development of fine lines, wrinkles, and sunken eyes.
- UV rays - Too much sun undermines the integrity of your skin and causes it to sag and take on a ruddy appearance. If you go out without sunscreen and sunglasses, sunken eyes await.
- Medical conditions - Hay fever and other types of allergies can cause dark circles and sagging skin under the eyes. Likewise, sinus infections can attack your eyes from behind and make them appear sunken and dark.
If you notice that your eyes appear a bit sunken, don't panic. Keep in mind that, as Boston Dermatologist Samuel Lin says, “Most of the time, deep-set eyes are not dangerous and may simply be due to natural factors.”
How Do You Fix Sunken Eyes?
To fix sunken eyes, you need to use either clinical methods, OTC creams, proven natural remedies or some combination of all three. Below we’ll go through all your options.
How to Remove Sunken Eyes Naturally?
If you find sunken eyes staring back at you in the mirror, there are some common-sense steps you can take to get rid of them. These include:
- Get more sleep - It’s important for your body as a whole and for your skin in particular that you try and adhere to a regular sleep schedule. If the sunken eyes appeared after a period of sleeplessness, it's likely that simply getting enough sleep again will make them go away.
- Raw potato - Might sound a bit far-fetched but putting thin slices of raw potato on your eyes for half an hour at a time can help sunken eyes. The delicate skin under the eyes will soak up nutrients and help make the tissue appear more supple.
- Tea bags - Tea bags are surprisingly effective at helping to alleviate sunken eyes. Place a warm (not hot) tea bag on the soft skin under the eyes for a few minutes each day. It will promote better blood circulation and rejuvenate the skin in the said area.
- Cucumber - Placing a slice of raw cucumber under each eye for 20 minutes a day can help restore moisture to the skin. While the overall effectiveness of cucumber slices tends to be overstated, they can provide a modest benefit if used regularly.
- Drink more water - Proper skin care begins and ends with drinking enough water. Not doing so leaves your skin vulnerable to any number of conditions, including sunken eyes.
“Dehydration can create dark circles under eyes and (make) the skin under the eyes very thin and transparent” - Dr. Mohan Thomas, cosmetic surgeon
Can Dermal Fillers Work for Sunken Eyes?
Dermal fillers can work for sunken eyes. However, they may not be the best solution for everyone suffering from the condition.
How to Get Rid of Sunken Eyes Permanently?
The best way to get rid of sunken eyes permanently is usually a clinical treatment. Let’s take a look at the most popular ones.
Top 3 Clinical Treatments for Getting Rid of Sunken Eyes
The most common clinical treatments for sunken eyes today tend to be:
- Dermal fillers - In some cases, dermal fillers are a matter of injecting an inert substance into the tissue under the skin. But in this case, dermal fillers mean products such as Juvederm and Restylane. The active ingredient in these products in hyaluronic acid. Injecting hyaluronic acid directly into the tissue promotes collagen and elastin production.
They, in turn, fill out the sunken areas under the eyes. While the procedure is generally safe and effective, the results are not permanent. So you'll need to go back for repeat treatments on a regular basis.
- Blepharoplasty - This is the fancy clinical name for both upper and lower eyelid surgery. This procedure can remove excess tissue under the eyes that is causing the sunken appearance.
There’s no doubt that this is a more extreme solution to the problem and one that will require a significant amount of recovery time. However, there is also no doubt that this represents one of the few genuine long-term solutions.
- Treatment of underlying causes - It may very well be that sunken eyes are the result of a sinus infection or seasonal allergies. Allergies may be effectively treated with antihistamines or other medications.
Sinus infections typically respond well to the right type of antibiotic. Removing these types of underlying causes can often result in the elimination of sunken eyes.
Best 5 Products That Help Reduce Sunken Eyes
1) Clarasome Radiance Restoring Moisturizer, $49.99
Clarasome moisturizer from Dermaclara Beauty has undergone rigorous 3rd party testing by BioScreen. They determined that it provides significant improvement in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, that it restores vitality, and proper hydration to skin and that it nurtures long term skin health.
All of these things are essential to reducing or eliminating the appearance of sunken eyes. With its combination of hyaluronic acid, aloe, glycerin, and almond oil, clarasome is our top choice for non-surgical relief of sunken eyes.
- Addresses the cause of sunken eyes
- Restoring fullness and vitality to the soft tissue under the eyes
- Clinically proven to produce significant results
- You can only get it from the Dermaclara website
2) Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème, $38
This is an affordable OTC eye cream that provides loads of antioxidants to prevent skin cell damage along with collagen to help restore fullness and your natural facial contours. It works well on virtually every type of skin and targets the symptoms of dry, sagging skin. It also works to reduce the appearance of dark circles.
- Can be used with any skin type from oily to dry
- Does a good job restoring luster to your skin
- You’ll need to use it for a while to see results
3) Olay Eyes Brightening Eye Cream, $25
Olay routinely produces high-quality skincare products and this is no exception. This eye cream leverages niacinamide and vitamin C along with subtle light-reflective ingredients that both address the cause of sunken eyes and provide immediate help reducing their appearance.
The various ingredients absorb quickly into the skin, tightening it up, and bolstering its integrity.
- Part rejuvenating cream, part makeup—it provides short and long term dividends
- Over time it addresses the underlying causes of sunken eyes
- The immediate cosmetic benefit wears off quickly
4) Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream, $18
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair delivers retinol SA to the skin. The retinol is absorbed by the skin and goes to work repairing the underlying layers, restoring tone and vibrance as well as lightening up dark circles. The hyaluronic acid works to promote collagen production and proper hydration levels.
It's not a perfect solution, but for the price, it's definitely a good value.
- Proven ingredients in an affordable face cream
- Over time, it does a decent job of reducing the appearance of sunken eyes
- It’s pretty mild and will take quite a while to work
SkinCeuticals Physical Eye UV Defense SPF 50, $30
The last of our OTC sunken eye creams is this from SkinCeuticals. This is a pretty simple cream that addresses one of the major causes of sunken eyes: UV rays. Physical Eye UV Defense provides robust SPF 50 protection to prevent our nearest star from destroying the soft tissue under your eyes.
- A simple product with a simple mission: block UV rays
- Does a good job moisturizing at the same time
- Not great for dark circles
- Doesn’t promote collagen production
Where Can I Buy Products to Reduce Sunken Eyes?
Most of the above products can be found at Sephora as well as dozens of other beauty product retailers both online and in the mall. You’ll also find some are available through Amazon, although we always urge caution when purchasing any type of beauty product from the online retail giant. Unless you’re buying it directly from the manufacturer’s Amazon shop.
Final Tips: How to Prevent Sunken Eyes
The best way to deal with sunken eyes is to make sure they don’t happen to begin with. If you don’t currently suffer from this condition, here are some ways to ensure you won't in the future.
- Get enough sleep - A lack of sleep is one of the major causes of sunken eyes. So if you want to ensure you don’t wake up one day with a hollowed-out eyes staring back at you in the bathroom mirror, make sure you get enough sleep every night.
- Drink water - Just about every skin condition out there is either is caused by not consuming enough water or is aggravated by not drinking enough water. Water is incredibly important to the maintenance of healthy skin so make sure you’re drinking 6-8 cups of water every day.
- Wear sunglasses - The sun is the great life-giver. However, it's also the enemy of skin. Too much exposure to the sun’s UV rays can and does damage the underlying structure of the skin. The result is saggy skin around the eyes that leads to a sunken appearance.
- Stop smoking - Smoking robs the skin of oxygen, basically suffocating it, and causing it to sag and take on a greyish pallor. The result is what’s known as “smoker’s face," and one of the characteristics of smoker's face is droopy, hollow eyes.