Droopy Eyelids/Sagging Eyelids

Droopy eyelids and sagging eyelids are two common conditions among older adults and young children. These conditions affect the eye muscles and skin around the eyes. The face may appear saggy or stretched. While these conditions can affect both lids,...

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If you’re experiencing droopy eyelids or sagging eyelids, you probably already know it. Yet, if you’re unsure if you’re suffering from this condition, rest assured that there are a few easy ways to diagnose yourself.

The most common symptoms of droopy and sagging eyelids are:

  • Wrinkles/crepey skin

  • Dark circles under eyes

  • Bags under eyes

Wrinkles/Crepey Skin 

Wrinkles and crepey skin are the most common symptoms of droopy and sagging eyelids. 

Fine lines and wrinkles appear around the eyes when the skin starts to droop and sag. Crepey skin is a condition where the skin around the eyes looks thin and wrinkled (like crepe paper). 

Dark Circles 

Dark circles often form under the eyes when the skin starts to droop and sag. This is because the skin may pucker away from the face as it starts to fall, and pockets of fluid may form underneath the eyes.

These dark circles may look slightly startling, but they won’t create further healthcare concerns. Yet, they could be symptoms of worse conditions.

When you see dark circles under your eyes, it’s also often a sign of dehydration or insomnia

Bags Under Eyes 

Bags under your eyes are another symptom of droopy eyelids. These bags form as the skin pulls away from the face and the skin under the eyes fills with fluid.

Bags can look swollen or puffy and are also the symptom of other conditions, such as allergies. Bags are usually only a cosmetic issue and don’t require serious medical attention (unless they are symptoms of other underlying issues).

Usually, bags are simply signs of aging or wrinkled skin. They can also appear because of certain lifestyle choices (such as nicotine use or overexposure to the sun). 


The main causes of droopy or sagging skin under the eyes are allergies, insomnia, fluid retention, and a family history of this condition. 

Eating nutritious foods, getting plenty of exercise, making sleep a priority, and limiting nicotine and alcohol intake can greatly reduce your chances of developing droopy eyelids. 

Fluid Retention 

One common cause of puffy eyes is fluid retention. This can happen for several reasons. The most common reason your body might retain fluid is if you’re not drinking enough water each day, eating too much salty food, or taking certain medications.

Fluid retention not only shows up as puffy eyes, but it can also show up in your face and in your stomach.


If you’re not getting seven-to-eight hours of sleep each night, you may want to make sleep a priority. There are usually two reasons why you might not be getting enough sleep. 

Insomnia is a condition that prevents you from sleeping (or from entering deep sleep cycles, such as REM). It’s caused by anxiety, too much caffeine, certain medications, or other medical conditions. 

Some people don’t get enough sleep because they’re just too busy. They might work too much, socialize too much, or have a new baby in the house.

No matter why you can’t seem to get enough sleep, you may end up suffering from droopy eyelids. 


Allergies are another common reason patients suffer from droopy eyelids.

When you come into contact with an allergen (whether it’s airborne or ingested), your body goes into panic mode believing that the allergen is a threat to your body. Sometimes this can result in puffy or droopy eyes. 

Eyelid irritation can be exacerbated when you rub your itchy eyes, too. Another thing that can make droopy eyes even droopier? Dehydrating allergy medications (just to add insult to injury!). If you suffer from allergies, you may want to talk to your doctor to see if switching from prescription eye drops to saline eye drops could help prevent further dehydration.


Smoking is one of the top causes of saggy, wrinkled eyes. One of the reasons skin sags as we age is because our bodies stop replacing our body’s collagen and elastin supplies. 

These two proteins are what make our skin plump and bounce back. When our bodies stop making these proteins, our skin can’t regenerate like it used to.

Something else that makes our bodies stop producing collagen? Nicotine.

Nicotine can break down those proteins and cause the body to appear older than it actually is. Nicotine is also very dehydrating, which can lead to further cell degradation. 


Our DNA can greatly affect our body’s health. Drooping eyelids are often simply the result of the aging process.

If your relatives suffer from thin, wrinkled, or droopy skin, you’re much more likely to develop this condition, too.

The good news is that your DNA doesn’t need to rule your life completely. While you’re more likely to have droopy skin if it runs in your family, you can still control your lifestyle factors. 

Don’t use nicotine, stay hydrated, and avoid overexposure to the sun to reduce the chance you’ll develop wrinkles around your eyes. 


The final (and usually the most common) cause of droopy eyelids is dehydration or dry eye. Dehydration is one of the main causes of fluid retention, so it makes sense that it would also cause puffy eyes. 

When the eyes puff up, the skin around the eyes can wrinkle and sag. Luckily, dehydration is one of the easiest conditions to treat. Simply drink enough water each day! 

If your dehydration is the result of a medication side effect, talk to your doctor about other prescription options. 

Risk Factors 

Some people are at a higher risk for developing droopy eyelids. And while we’re on the topic, we should also mention that this article focuses on the cosmetic reasons for droopy eyelids — though, there are some more serious medical reasons for this condition, too. 

Older Adults  

Droopy eyelids are a part of the natural aging process, so it’s really no surprise that older adults are at a higher risk of developing this condition. 

Your skin loses its elastin and collagen as you age. Thus, you’re more likely to suffer from sagging skin the older you get.

Droopy eyelids are also the result of some vision problems and eye conditions such as styes, cataracts, and glaucoma. In these cases, cataract surgery or ptosis surgery should fix the problem. If you suffer from styes in your eyes, the drooping should go away after the styes do.


Some children also suffer from droopy eyelids. Often, children are born with this issue and the problem corrects itself. Some kids develop lazy eyes or other eye health concerns. Most of these issues correct themselves but some also require professional eye care. 

Serious Conditions 

Droopy eyelids can also be the result of more serious conditions and appear as the result of a stroke, nerve damage, or brain tumors. In some severe cases, they can also be the result of neurological disorders, too. 

In these cases, the eyelid muscles fail and cannot hold up the skin around the eyes any longer. 

Some patients that suffer from small strokes don’t realize it until their next checkup. If you’re concerned your droopy skin may be the result of a more serious condition, call your doctor or dial 911 if you’re concerned you’re suffering from a stroke. 


The good news is that there are plenty of ways to prevent droopy eyelids! Even if you’re already suffering from sagging skin around your eyes, you can reverse the effects of aging (and of past lifestyle choices).


If you’re not getting seven-to-eight hours of sleep each night (minimum), you’re going to want to start making sleep a priority. If you suffer from insomnia, you may want to talk to your doctor about getting tested for sleep apnea or a sleep disorder.

If you don’t get enough sleep each night because of lifestyle factors, you may want to try to start getting the recommended minimum hours of sleep each night. 


Making hydration a priority is another way to nip droopy eyelids in the bud. Drinking eight glasses of water each day, taking supplements, and eating foods high in water content can all help nix dehydration. 

You may also want to consider using a hydrating moisturizer with brightening agents, too, if you want to add even more moisture to your skin. 

Smoking Cessation

Smoking is another common lifestyle choice that can lead to sagging skin, wrinkles, and other cosmetic issues. 

When you stop using nicotine, you can actually reverse the damage. After nicotine has left your system, your body will be able to replenish water easier and produce collagen. 

Skincare Routine

Sagging skin is also the result of poor skincare hygiene. Creating a skincare routine that includes cleansing, moisturizing, and spot treatments can ensure your dermis is as healthy as it can be.

If you suffer from dry or oily skin, you may want to opt for a routine that balances problem areas. Sometimes dry skin can look even more wrinkled while using incorrect products on oily skin can lead to dehydrated skin. 


Luckily, there are plenty of treatments available for droopy eyelids and sagging skin. If you’re not suffering from an eye health issue like glaucoma or styes (or a more serious condition), you’re probably simply suffering from cosmetic issues. If this is the case, you can get either at-home non-invasive treatments or opt for eyelid surgery.

At-Home Skincare

One of the most popular ways to regain a youthful look is through at-home prescription skincare. 

These products rejuvenate eyelid skin, deliver plenty of hydration, and restore the skin’s elasticity — all without surgery. 

Companies like Musely and Rory hire dermatologists to prescribe specialized skincare that’s formulated for each patient. Products contain prescription-strength ingredients such as:

  • Tretinoin (for collagen production)

  • Niacinamide

  • Hyaluronic acid

  • Hydroquinone 

Product lines include dark spot treatments, creams for crepey skin, and skincare sets with a cleanser, moisturizer, and night cream to reduce pore size (another symptom of dehydration) and even skin tone. 

Eyelid Surgery 

If your droopy eyelids are more severe, you may want to opt for in-office eyelid surgeries (such as an eyelid lift) or injections.

Some surgeries such as blepharoplasty remove excess skin from the lower eyelids or upper eyelids. Other types of surgery such as plastic surgery or reconstructive surgery are considered more invasive and may require an overnight hospital stay. Treatments like Botox injections help return the skin’s elasticity without invasive surgery (though injections may come with other side effects).