Yellowish Bags Under Eyes

Yellowish bags under eyes and remedies

There are many different causes for yellowish bags under the eyes, from aging to a fluid build-up caused by sleep deprivation, allergies or poor circulation.

It's time to talk to your doctor if the bags are persistent or worsen over time but first consider if the following causes may apply to you.


As you get older, your skin gets thinner and this makes any fine lines or bags look more pronounced. Fat can move forward and settle underneath your eyes as the skin loses elasticity and firmness. This can lead to a swollen appearance. A slight discolouration, ranging from dark purple to yellow, is also common and is not usually a symptom of anything more serious than aging.


If your bags are accompanied by itching and redness, you might have allergies causing your skin to swell. Stop rubbing your eyes as this can make the problem worse and ask your doctor about taking an antihistamine.

Sleep deprivation

Not getting enough sleep can cause fluid to pool underneath your eyes. Sleeping can actually cause a similar problem, although to a lesser extent, and some experts recommend using an extra pillow to prevent the fluid from settling.

Water retention

An increased intake of salt or hormonal changes can lead to water retention, causing swollen yellow bags under your eyes.

Treatment for minor swellings

If you suffer from morning eye bags, put cold tea bags on your eyes for around 15 minutes. Tannin in the tea temporarily tightens skin and reduces the appearance of bags. Skin-toned concealer can also help to even out your skin tone if the bags have a yellowish tinge.

Lifestyle changes can also help to prevent you from suffering from under eye bags. Reducing salt intake can lower the risk of fluid retention and swapping oily make-up for water-based products can reduce irritation and swelling.

Xanthelasma or cholesterol deposits

Xanthelasma is a common condition caused by yellow cholesterol deposits collecting under the skin around your eyes. They are harmless but their appearance can cause upset and there are some medical links with more serious conditions.

Xanthelasma is most common among elderly people and those of Asian or Mediterranean descent. It is also more likely to occur in men than women and in people aged 40 or over.

It is possible to remove the deposits but these remedies are not without risks. Xanthelasma normally occurs very near to the eyes, meaning that surgery can carry risks and often leaves a significant amount of scarring. There is the possibility that the condition could reoccur and some statistics suggests that this will happen in around 40% of cases. Cryotherapy and laser treatment is also a possibility, but this carries its own risk of scarring.

Many people simply choose to disguise the deposits with make-up but, if you are suffering from Xanthelasma it may be a good idea to have your cholesterol levels tested. Too much of this fatty substance in your blood can significantly increase your risk of suffering fromĀ cardiovascular diseases and heart problems.

Possible health risks of bags under eyes

Some experts believe that xanthelasma could be an indicator of heart issues. A 2011 study of almost 13,000 people carried out in Britain found that xanthelasma sufferers were more likely to have a serious cardiovascular disease and to suffer a serious or even fatal heart attack within a decade.

Researchers claimed that people with xanthelasma could be 12% more at risk of cardiovascular problems. They also found that these yellow patches were a particularly effective heart attack predictor in women as females are less likely to suffer from either xanthelasma or heart attacks.

Prior to this British study, research led by Dr Mette Christoffersen, of Copenhagen University Hospital, also found that people with yellowish cholesterol deposits were more at risk of heart disease and heart attacks. The study found that people with xanthelasma were 40% more likely to develop ischemic heart disease as individuals without the problem and those with the deposits were 51% more prone to heart attacks.

Last Reviewed:
June 14, 2017
Last Updated:
October 09, 2017