The unpleasant explanation for bags under our eyes

Kimberly Gillan
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Image: Getty Images

Non-stop parties, late-night shopping and mountains of food-preparation are hallmarks of the festive season … and for a lot of us, that leads to dark-ringed eyes and dull skin.

US researchers have found a disturbing cause for the bags — a build-up of water that would usually be passed as urine.

Staying up late reduces our rejuvenation time, which causes the fluid to accumulate under our eyes, in a similar way to swollen ankles.

According to Dr Michael Roizen, a US anaesthesiologist who is the co-author of You: Being Beautiful: The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty, our bodies often accumulate water throughout the day instead of passing it as urine.

"Normally when you sleep, you distribute water in the body," Dr Roizen told MSNBC.

But when we're sleep-deprived, the water pools under the eyes, which makes them go puffy.

Sleep is also crucial for skin regeneration, and if we don't get enough, our skin isn't able to refresh and tighten up.

Stress is the other big ugly-face catalyst, causing the collagen in our skin to deplete.

"Stress causes a drop in the skin's ability to protect itself," Dr Amit Sood, chair of the Mind Body Initiative at the Mayo Clinic, told MSNBC.

"All of this happens with chronic stress –– if you do not have healthy collagen in your skin, you would have baggy sort of skin under your eyes."

Stress also makes us look pale and haggard by reducing the amount of melanin –– skin pigment –– our skin produces.

The bad beauty news is that stress and lack of sleep often go hand-in-hand, causing a vicious cycle of puffiness.

"You lose efficiency –– your sleep is not as restful; you eat more; you gain weight; your relationships are affected," Dr Sood said.

So, who wants a massage for Christmas?

Image: Getty ImagesEmail stress could damage our hearts Image: Getty ImagesHow trying to be happy could make you lonely Image: Getty Images'Nightcap' destroys sleep quality: study The unpleasant explanation for bags under our eyes

Good Health


Subscribe to Good Health for 12 issues and save up to 31% off the newsstand price, plus receive LA MAV Skin Brightening Serum, valued at $59.95. MORE GOOD HEALTH SUBSCRIBE AND SAVE