When actor Abe Vigoda played Fish on “Barney Miller,” the dark bags under his eyes emphasized his laconic demeanor. On the other hand, Benicio Del Toro's swollen, dark under-eyes magnify the menace of his onscreen characters.
But for most people, dark circles and bags under the eyes are just something they’d rather not have.
As you age, the skin around your eyes thins and loses collagen. Muscles may droop, and fat that used surround the eyes can settle below or increase in volume; fluid can even pool there.
That can cause puffy and/or dark-colored under-eyes — as can allergies and a chronic lack of sleep. Or they might just be an inherited trait.
See your doctor to find out if allergies are the culprit. Fortunately for most, puffy, dark pouches under the eyes are not caused by a medical problem.
If they're an inherited trait, you'll need to talk with a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. If they result from chronic lack of sleep, improve your sleep habits.
And try some time-tested home remedies: Place an ice pack around closed eyelids, or put chilled cucumber slices on your lids, and try sleeping with your head slightly elevated.
Or simply take a lesson from Maggie Smith, who plays Dowager Countess of Grantham on “Downton Abbey.” She uses her baggy but piercing blue eyes to silently express her disapproval or to signal to those around her that it's time for a cup of tea!
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