What Are Sunken Eyes? Causes and Treatments

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.

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    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.

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