Solutions for Under Eye Bags and Dark Circles under Eyes

dark under eye circles,

Causes and Treatments for Dark Circles Under Eyes and Under Eye Bags

Do you have under-eye bags, puffy looking eyelids or dark circles under your eyes?  Sometimes it’s a matter of Genetics.

Your eye shape, including your eyelid skin, eyelid crease and other facial features, sometimes gives clues to a person’s genetic heritage and where their ancestors might have come from. So it makes sense that some of your eyelid concerns – such as under-eye puffiness or ‘bags under your eyes’ – are often inherited traits.  But genetic trait analysis is actually not that simple. In fact, it appears that human DNA is more similar than not. But the 0.05% difference in genes can leave one person with eyelid ptosis and another with youthful-looking eyes for an extended period of time.

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Under Eye Circles or Shadows Beneath the Eye (Bags under the eyes)

  • Some people have eye bags or ‘under-eye circles’ (shadows under the lower eyelids) at every early stages of life.
  • Eventually, however, the eyelid skin beneath AND above the eyes will sag or droop
  • The under-eye area will often end up looking puffy as you age, no matter what your heritage (or for very thin individuals, the eyelids and temples end up looking gaunt).

The reason eyelids look puffy or droopy as we age is that the bones around our eyes atrophy (the bones actually reduce in size) and the muscles and skin around the eyes deteriorate, whilst eyelid fat tends to accumulate.

Genetics does play a part in your eyelid appearance and how you age – but what you expose your skin to during your lifetime ALSO has an impact.

In terms of our overall genetic makeup, we all share approximately 99.5% of the same genetic code or DNA.

The 0.05% (an estimated amount) appears to indicate differences from skin tone to eye shape to facial features and other appearance factors.  So yes, eye shape and eyelid appearance are often inherited, although some traits can skip generations (your eyes may look like a grandparent or a relative or one of your parents).

Dark Circles Under Eyes – did you get them from Mum, Dad or a grand-parent or distant relative? And what can be done to rectify puffy eyelids?


Whilst we all share the majority of our genes with all others on the planet, cosmetically speaking, your genes do influence your eyelid appearance. Your genes also contribute significantly to your other facial features, including your skin tone (melanin or pigmentation tendencies) and your body fat distribution tendencies (some of your BMI is linked with your genes).

A very small percentage of your genes are even responsible for whether or not you LOVE – or HATE – coriander and other foods (although many food preferences are more learned than inherited).

And yes, the ‘fat gene’ or propensity to be lean or more rounded is also part of your genetic code, although epi-genetic research indicates our lifestyles DO influence a great degree of what occurs for us, and there are many random mutations of genes along the way.

So are puffy looking eyelids, dark under-eye circles (under-eye shadowing) and heavy eyelids part of your genetic heritage?

The answer is typically YES, your eyelid shape is related to your genetic heritage – unless you had an illness or injury that led to eyelid ptosis (drooping eyelids or puffy looking eyelids) or other eye area problems. And some of the dark shadows or dark ‘under-eye circles’ you notice may also be from inherited traits. Sometimes it’s ageing, or lifestyle – including digestive sensitivities to certain foods or salts – but sometimes its because you have eyelid skin that is more prone to looking puffy or saggy, such as skin with low collagen or noticeably thinner skin than other genetic lines.

Your eyelid shape and eyelid skin are likely predominantly one of your inherited traits – likely in the 0.05% of genes.  But ageing of the eyelids can lead to poor vision due to sagging eyelids or puffy under-eye bags.

If you have under-eye bags, dark circles, shadows, or heavy lids (or sagging upper eyelids that hide your lashes or give you eye area infections), eyelid lift surgery can help. Sometimes the best under-eye shadow treatment results will occur from a combination of dermal fillers (tear trough injections) and eyelid reduction surgery or a canthoplasty. Other times, injections alone – or surgery on its own – will do the trick.

under eye shadows and puffiness

There are two main types of Eyelid Surgery to reduce bags under your eyes or sagging upper eyelids:

However, there are many sub-types of eyelid procedures that involve refining and adjusting the eyelid area for a more pleasing eyelid look – which tends to be more open (but carefully avoiding the startled look), and fresher and youthful in appearance.

Find out more about EYELID surgery results by sending in an enquiry form, below, to schedule a personal consultation with one of our Plastic Surgeons for full facial rejuvenation or eyelid surgery.  You can also meet our Surgeons by attending one of our FREE monthly events (be sure to ask which event he’ll be presenting at as he attends several events each year).

What genetic heritage is more prone to having under-eye bags, dark circles or puffy looking eyelids?

When it comes to our looks, there are many things that run in the family. Some of have a predisposition to a certain nose shape thanks to our parents, or curly hair, perhaps sun-kissed freckles from our grandparents, or maybe if we’re lucky, naturally high cheekbones that are the envy of others.

But what about something that we don’t like, and worse, is hard to disguise?

We’re talking about eye bags, those puffy areas underneath the eye that tell the world we’re tired to the max. Are those simply earned from late nights followed by little sleep, at times when we seem to be running on empty and the whole world can see? Well, the answer may surprise you. So let’s dive in and take a closer look!

First off, What are Dark Circles under your eyes, Exactly?


Periorbital dark circles: causes and treatments

Periorbital dark circles can be caused by late nights followed by too little sleep, the thin layer of skin surrounding the eyes appearing bluish in colour. This comes as a result of light being reflected off of the blood vessels where they are found just underneath the surface of very delicate skin. And the thinner the area of skin, the more likely it is to appear discoloured, consequently.  Sometimes food reactions can also lead to differences in how the skin looks on the entire face, especially around the eye area (which is thinner skin and often more of a focal point on the face).

As we all know, our skin becomes less voluminous and thinner as we age, which is especially true in the area around the eye that is already incredibly delicate.

But for people that live with eye bags and puffiness, this often results due to under-skin fat cells and/or fluid build-up around the eye area, some eye bags or eyelid sagging can even look like a “double bubble” effect – underneath eye bags combined with heavy, drooping eyelids up top – some that appear to make your eyebrows sag (or you may have ptosis or drooping of the brow AND the upper eyelid at the same time). Such is the nature of facial ageing if that’s the cause – and it does lead to deterioration of the skin’s firmness (natural collagen) and muscles.

Repeated facial expressions, sun exposure and a lot of blinking DO impact the eye appearance and because the eyelid skin is also somewhat thin compared to the rest of the facial skin, it can appear to age more rapidly for some individuals.

But not all eye bags or sagging lids are due to ageing and time. Some people have lived with eye bags and puffy eyelids for their entire lives, and many of them may feel less secure about their facial appearance due to how they perceive their eyes or ‘under-eye circles’ and shadows.

Why Do Some People Get Puffy Looking Eyelids or Dark Circles under their eyes?


Although some eye bags seem well-earned from nights filled of fun or bad lifestyle decisions (or both), there are also non-hereditary reasons eye bags and puffy eyes (or dark circles) can occur. Dehydration, stress, and eating excess salt are all bad for those bags and linked to their occurrence.

For people who have lived with under-eye bags and eyelid puffiness for the majority of their entire life, yes, Mum or Dad or a grandparent – or another distant relative – can usually be to blame for the sagging, heavy eyelids or under-eye bags.

Worse, if your eye bags are a result of genetics, there is often only a few options you can rely on to remedy or conceal them – unlike lifestyle changes which can reduce the temporary effects of puffy eyelids related to what you’ve eaten or had to drink.  From injectables to eyelid surgery, if your genetics are to blame for puffy eyelids or dark under-eye circles or “eye bags,” there are a few things a good Injecting Clinician or Oculoplastic Eyelid Surgeon can assist you with if you want to reduce your eyelid appearance concerns.

What Genetic Heritage is Most Prone to Eye Bags or Dark Shadows Under the Eye area?

While no single genetic culture or heritage is immune to hereditary eye bags, they are more prevalent in certain cultures of people. People who are Middle Eastern, African American and of Indian descent often report under eye bags, and are some of the most often treated patients by Plastic Surgeons and Oculoplastic Surgeons. Darker pigmentation (higher melanin) has been linked to dark eye circles specifically. However, blondes with fair skin and blue eyes have also complained of this problem as well – it may be more common in some cultures but it can be found in nearly all cultures, especially if occurring over time.

But your heritage may help your eyes look better, for longer – or worse, earlier.

While people of more melanin-rich skin (darker skin tones) and the above ethnicities report eye bags more often, no one is truly immune.

Every person, regardless of their nationality, will experience certain characteristics about their skin that they may not be fond of—especially as they age. For example, those with light skin (think Norwegian and Irish) are particularly prone to redness/rosacea, while those medium/olive complected people (including people of Italian and French heritage) are known to have larger pores.

Above all, it’s important to remember that no one person is ever perfect, and we all face special traits that are passed down to us from birth, some physical and some related to temperament (although science is still exploring just how much of us is inherited and how much is related to the environment or individual choices and life experiences).

How Can Hereditary Eye Bags Be Treated? Eyelid Surgery.

For any male or female that lives with dark eye circles and eye bags, quality and natural-looking under eye makeup concealer are the #1 go-to for a quick fix for dark under-eye circles.

But not everyone wants to apply heavy makeup at all times and it can clog pores or look awful in photographs. And not all men or women feel comfortable wearing concealer.

It would be more realistic to have an option to reduce the under-eye circle or heavy eyelid problems.

To do away with the lingering puffiness, fat sculpting lower blepharoplasty is a suitable choice for many patients wanting to refresh and tighten the eye area. This surgical eyelid procedure improves the appearance of the eye area by diminishing fat while tightening the skin.

Sometimes injections can also help (under eye filler in the tear trough area).  Read our blog about the experience of patient AMEA, who had under-eye filler injections as well as an Upper Blepharoplasty in her 20s, because she was unhappy with the appearance of her eyelids AND the constant eye infections that came with heavy, sagging eyelids.

Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Lift) procedures can be performed on the top or bottom of the eyelid, or both if needed. The surgery is also known as “eyelid reduction” surgery and there are different types including Double Eyelid Surgery or Asian Blepharoplasty.

It has been proven effective to diminish the look of bags, droopy eyelids, general puffiness around the eye area, and improve peripheral vision for those whose puffiness limits their eyesight. If the procedure is deemed for medical reasons, some insurance companies or Medicare MIGHT cover a small portion of the outpatient procedure.

For those needing a more serious enhancement, blepharoplasty can be combined with other cosmetic procedures, such as a facelift, brow lift, or even skin resurfacing.

Some patients of Asian heritage have what’s sometimes called a “double eyelid” on the upper lid area. Asian patients and others who have the appearance of eyelid ptosis may find they want a slightly more ‘open-eyed’ appearance. Surgery helps them see a more visible eyelid crease, where scars are hidden in the crease (although there WILL be some scarring after most eyelid surgery, it is often minimal or hardly noticeable for many patients).

Do you need a lift? Eyelid Surgery and Under Eye Bags and Puffy Lids


Genetics do play a role in how we look and hence may influence your decision to change your eyelid appearance. That’s because some of us DO inherit sagging eyelids or under-eye bags we’d rather not have, and we know that surgery or under-eye injections (or both) can make a big difference in our eye area – an area of the face that impacts the entire facial appearance.

No two people are the same and everyone’s skin is different, but if you are unhappy with the eye bags and eyelid puffiness you’ve inherited or come by over several decades on the planet, there are definitely ways you can improve it.

The AFTER image above is of Amea, the After Eyelid Surgery image of a young patient who had genetically heavy eyelids that were causing discomfort and infections, and impeding her appearance as well as likely to impede her vision over time.  You can learn more about her by searching for “Amea Mae – Blepharoplasty Surgery” videos on YouTube.

If you’re wanting to fix your eye bags or reduce your sagging eyelids or eyebrow area:

Take the best first step and find the Right Surgeon for you, one who is experienced in Blepharoplasty procedures, eyelid surgery is very complex – so choose an experienced surgeon who focuses in oculoplastic surgery rather than a general or cosmetic surgeon).

The second step is to recognise that results vary from person to person; and with a personal, no-obligation consultation, you’ll be able to find out more from an Oculoplastic Surgeon (an eyelid expert who is widely-recognised for getting natural-looking eyelid surgery results and eye and brow appearance improvements).

A dedicated Plastic Surgeon (FRACS) or Oculoplastic Surgeon (FACS/FRANZCO) will be able to work with you to develop a custom-tailored eye area rejuvenation plan for revitalizing your eyelids and eye area.

SO that you can SAY GOODBYE to those hand-me-down eye bags or sagging, heavy eyelids you’ve been dealt with.

Send an enquiry in today to ask to meet with our eyelid Expert for serious eyelid sagging or under eyelid puffiness and dark circles under eyes or bags. You can also ask to see one of our facial cosmetic injectors to explore under-eye dermal filler for the tear trough area (a temporary option for some patients; however, Blepharoplasty is a longer-term solution and can often get more significant results for patients with sagging eyelids or puffy under-eye areas).

Further Reading about Eyelid Surgery

Last updated: 29/04/2022
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Dr Richard Sackelariou - MBBS, BMedSc, FRACS (Plast)
Dr Richard Sackelariou, MBBS, FRACS/FRCS, is a leading Sydney Specialist Plastic, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgeon who sees patients in two locations: Double Bay, Sydney and Melbourne VIC (Australia). Dr Sackelariou offers extensive experience in attaining natural-looking, excellent surgical results for patients of all ages. Graduate of Sydney University, FRACS, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery plus additional training in Cosmetic Surgery in Paris at the Clinique Turin in 1994. BIO PAGE: Click here

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What to do next?

Our Patient Liaison Team can assist with any questions you may have when considering a procedure. You can send in an enquiry form below or call our Melbourne Clinic between 9 am – 5 pm Monday to Friday.

Phone 1300 264 811, Email us: or Book a FREE 15-minute Phone Chat with our Patient Liaison Manager or a Virtual Consultation with a Surgeon.

Disclaimer: Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may also be impacted by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, weight, nutritional intake and overall health. Consult your Specialist Plastic Surgeon for details. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon.