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Puffy Eyes: What To Do About Puffy Eyes

Our eyes seem to be the most beautiful facial feature, yet at times they can look so unsightly that it’s a good thing we can’t see them without a mirror. Why Mother Nature made them so weak, it is unknown, but we are doomed to deal with the consequences of a not so well-thought-out process. Eye bags, droopiness, and circles can happen as easy as petals falling to the ground, giving us that extra-tired look. What causes puffy eyes and is there a way to deal with them? We are off to answering these questions, so stick around.

What Causes Swollen Eyes?

asian male man with big eye bag at the left eye

To understand how to treat puffiness, you need to know what triggers it in the first place. Swelling in the lower lids which is not caused by an underlying medical condition is a cosmetic concern requiring a cosmetic solution. It usually occurs as a result of excess fluid accumulation in the eye area. Of course, water retention has a bad effect on the whole body, however, since the skin around the eyes is so thin, the problem is more obvious there. The reasons for this are plentiful.

You had one too many last night

Alcohol can dehydrate the body and the same happens to your peepers. Even small changes to your diet can affect your eyes, so don’t be surprised if you wake up with a puffy face after a heavy night out.

You’ve been crying a lot lately

It’s as if having your eyes well up isn’t bad in and of itself, you actually have to deal with the bloating it leaves on your face. It turns out emotional tears are more watery than basic ones so when they move into the ocular tissues, which normally have more salt, the balance is ruined. As a result of this, the skin gets puffy.

You’ve fallen victim to seasonal allergies

When you are out in the open, your eyes come into contact with different allergens, which react with your antibodies. Then your immune system releases a chemical called histamine and it can lead to puffy eyes.

You’ve been depriving yourself of slumber

Z’s are important for your wellbeing and everything that happens with your body, your eyes included. Lack of sleep may make them appear swollen. Stress adds to the problem. This is when your system releases cortisol which affects the levels of salt in your system, creating water retention and swelling issues.

It’s that time of the month again

It is not uncommon for women to get puffy eyelids around the time of their periods. The good news is that it resolves on its own after a couple of days, so you don’t have to do anything about it.

You’re not doing your best to rinse your hair and face well

Conditioners, shampoos, and face cleaners come with a slew of ingredients that can get stuck in the corners of your eyes and lead to irritation. Additionally, all of the makeup products you’re using like mascara and eyeshadow contain fragrances that can further irritate the peepers. Then you rub them and involuntarily cause inflammation. Puffiness happens when the liquid in the blood vessels surrounding the eye region flows out to adjacent tissues.

You have oedema

If you feel that fluid retention has gotten out of control, it may be oedema. This is a condition of abnormal water accumulation and it can have an impact on your eyes. Typically, the episodes of bloating are more noticeable in the morning as you wake up. In most cases, once you start blinking, things go back to normal – at least visually.

You set the thermostat to heat

When the room temperature is higher than what your body needs, it can dry out the mucous membranes of your eyes. This often leads to irritation and puffiness. Everybody feels comfortable at different temperatures, but it is important to ensure that your house is not too hot or it can interfere with your peepers.

Something is amiss with your thyroid

Sometimes puffy eyes can be a sign that your thyroid is out of whack. This usually comes accompanied by other symptoms, so don’t jump to conclusions right away. If you suspect a health problem is underway, go see a doctor to rule out any medical conditions.

You’re just growing old

Whether you like it or not, age is adding up. There is no escape from this. Over time, the tissue and muscles around the lids can weaken. As a result of this, the fat begins to migrate from the upper areas to the lower ones, causing that unpleasant bloating.

It’s in your genes

If you are 14 and having annoying eye bags, it may as well be a hereditary condition. If one of your parents has it, then it’s safe to assume it’s in your blood. Blame genetics for this.

How to Get Rid of Puffy Eyes

woman eye bags before after

Depending on what’s causing swollen eyes, there are different ways to go. Some conditions can be fixed with home remedies, while others may require lower and upper eyelid surgery. Let’s go over the basic methods.

Minimise booze

As you know, alcohol has that magical power to pull water out of your system. And while a glass of wine is perfectly okay, going overboard is not. There is hardly any need to say that these kinds of beverages do harm to your entire body, not just your eyes. On your nights-out, make sure to drink water in between cocktails to fill up any deficiencies. Repeat before going to bed.

Get a good night’s sleep

Try to get around 7-8 hours of sleep each and every night. That number varies per person, but it is essential to get quality slumber regularly. It will not only reduce puffiness, but also ensure that you are full of energy and able to focus better.

Cut down on salty foods

Watch your salt intake to prevent water retention and body bloating. You may be thinking: “Wait, but I don’t even season my dishes.” However, if you like binging on processed foods, then you can be sure huge amounts of sodium enter your system on the daily. It is difficult to track down how much, actually. Almost every piece you buy from the store is loaded with the white substance. So, if you check out the labels and do the math, you will be bewildered to find out you’ve been overdoing it without even knowing it.

On average, an adult should take no more than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day. So, if you heavily rely on microwavable dinners and ready-to-eat foods like deli meat, crackers, frozen pizza, and different mixes, now is the time to think about replacing those habits with healthier ones.

Use a cold compress

Dip a clean washcloth in water and leave it in the freezer for a couple of minutes. Take it out and place it over the skin around the eyes for a little while. Alternatively, you can go for plastic ice bags wrapped with a towel so that they don’t damage your skin. Cold constricts blood vessels and limits fluid from flowing into the soft tissue. This helps reduce inflammation and swelling.

Apply tea bags to the affected area

Black and green tea are the best options. Immerse two tea bags in cold water and apply on the eye area. Caffeine contains antioxidants, which can rejuvenate and tighten your skin. As an added bonus, they help with dark circles. If you have herbal tea sitting around instead, you can use that too. It is capable of soothing irritation and redness. Chamomile would be the best option.

Stick with cucumbers

You probably learned this from your mother and granny: if your eyes are tired, place cucumber slices on them and let sit for 20 minutes or so. This helps to soothe any discomfort and also reduces bloating.

Go with non-surgical eye bag removal

There are different non-invasive or minimally invasive alternatives to surgery that can help you refresh the appearance of your eyes. The most common ones are injectable fillers and Botox. The former can be synthetic or biodegradable (hyaluronic acid, collagen, etc.) and they can be customised to suit your individual needs. The latter is used to tighten the skin, but since it has the ability to paralyse and shrink the muscles, it can help with puffiness. Along with that, the market offers a plethora of eye creams and other products that lift the skin, treat dark circles and uneven tone.

Opt for eye bag removal surgery

If the problem persists, you had better seek medical advice and perhaps an eyebag removal surgery might be the only way to get rid of them.. Based on your condition, your doctor may recommend that you go under the knife. Excessive bags under the eyes are anything but pretty, not to mention they can cause physical discomfort. And if the skin around the upper lids becomes excessively loose, it will hamper the vision.

In those cases, blepharoplasty is the best way to go. This is a type of operation which removes excess skin, muscle, and fat – anything that stands in the way – to freshen up the complexion or restore the normal function of the eyes. It is usually performed on older people, but youngsters are no exception. The latter are mostly interested in obtaining a double eyelid appearance.


To date, there are a host of ways to address puffy eyes – some are more invasive than others, some offer quick results, while others take time to work. But before you can swing into action, you need to figure out what is causing the pesky issue. If it is something that you are doing as part of your everyday routine, then cutting it out of your agenda will help deal with puffy eyes. If you think that the problem could be of medical nature, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor (preferably a board-certified dermatologist) about it.

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