Quit Looking Tired! 10 Tips for Naturally Reducing the Appearance of Puffy Eyes

puffy eyes bed sleep

It can be disheartening to get ready for a big event—a job interview, first date, or wedding—and look in the mirror, only to see tired, puffy eyes looking back.

Whether or not you’re really tired, you probably don’t want to look it. What can you do to lessen the appearance of tired, puffy eyes? Here are a few tips.

What Causes Puffy Eyes?

Puffy eyes may seem like a skin issue, since that’s where it shows up, but it's actually something that’s happening underneath the skin. The eye area is one of the most sensitive and thinnest places on our skin, so it can tell us a lot about what is actually happening internally.

Puffy eyes are actually a form of edema, or water retention, that shows up under the eyes and that can be caused by a lot of different things.

How does it happen?

Waking up with puffy eyes is extremely common because as you’re horizontal for several hours, excess water tends to settle there.

Bad/not enough sleep is one reason for puffy eyes, but it isn't the only one. Allergies, sinus problems, dust and pollution can increase inflammation and water retention around the eyes. Smoke, too much heat or air conditioning, and eye strain (including reading in the dark, staring at a computer all day, and being in lights that are too bright) are all guilty parties too—things that make your eyes water!

sleeping puffy eyes

Dehydration and puffy eyes

Some medications can cause eye puffiness because they affect the natural balance of water in the system, be it dehydration or water retention. It might seem counter-intuitive to think of dehydration as a cause of puffiness, but when we’re dehydrated, our bodies actually start to preserve the water that we do have, and our eye sockets are a place where we hold extra water.

System imbalances

A fluctuation in the body’s hormones, blood sugar, or hemoglobin can all be attributed to puffy eyes too. Our bodies are a set of systems all working together that are fed the same way, through our blood. When it comes to water retention and excavation, our kidneys take this on while they’re cleaning toxins from our blood and helping keep our levels balanced.

Fluctuations in our body chemistry affects our kidneys, which in turn affect our water balance and can cause puffy eyes.

As we age, our eyes also have a harder time adapting to all these conditions, which means we may notice puffy eyes more often than usual. On top of that, our skin around the eyes starts to weaken and thin, and puffiness becomes much more visible.

Tips to End Puffy Eye Woes

If you experience puffy eyes regularly, you may want to take a trip to the doctor, just to make sure the rest of your health is ship-shape.

Here are our top ten tips for reducing the appearance of puffy eyes so you look more awake and ready to go.

puffy eyes water glass

1. Stay hydrated!

Try lemon water first thing in the morning and throughout the day. It’s refreshing and will help hydrate you. Dehydration is one of the main causes of puffy eyes, and is especially common first thing in the morning.

2. Rose water

Rose is naturally soothing. We love it so much we use it in a lot of our products. For puffy eyes, soak two cotton balls in the rose water, then wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes or so, until chilled. Then remove the plastic and place the cotton balls over your eyes for 5-10 minutes. You can also simply dip two cotton balls in chilled rose water.

3. Cucumber slices

These really do work! A combination of the coolness, along with the vitamin C and caffeic acid in the vegetable, helps soothe skin and reduce the appearance of puffiness. Simply slice the cucumber and place the slices over your eyes for 5-10 minutes. You can also try chilled tea bags, as these will help to tighten and firm skin around the corners of your eyes. Another great one is sliced, chilled strawberries—they have natural alpha-hydroxy acids that help smooth the look of your skin while reducing the appearance of puffiness.

aaeyecream_1 puffy eyes

4. Anti-Aging Eye Cream

Use this product regularly and you’re likely to see a reduction in the appearance of puffy eyes. We use green tea for antioxidant protection as well as gotu kola to tighten and firm. Use it on all the skin around your eyes, morning and night, to lessen the look of dark circles and puffiness.

5. Avoid artificial sweeteners

Sweeteners like aspartame and saccharin have been implicated in some studies as potentially causing fluid retention. If you regularly have puffy eyes, try cutting back on diet soda drinks and see if it helps.

sunglasses puffy eyes

6. Wear sunglasses

Not only do they protect your eyes from UV damage, but they can shield your eyes from the glare of the sun, wind, dust, and other environmental conditions that can encourage puffy eyes.

7. Check your thyroid

Some people with consistently puffy eyes may have thyroids that aren’t performing as they should. Check with your doctor—a simple blood test can tell you.

8. Getting enough iron?

Iron deficiency anemia is another cause of fluid retention—check your iron levels. Most post-menopausal women don’t need extra iron, but if you’re pre-menopausal, an iron shortage may be a factor in puffy eyes.

eggs puffy eyes

9. Egg whites

Beat a couple egg whites stiffly, add a drop or two of witch hazel, and apply around the eyes with a brush. Leave on 5-10 minutes. You should feel a tightening sensation, and when you rinse off, your eyes may look much better.

10. Avoid salty snacks

Sodium encourages water retention, so if you notice your eyes getting puffy and baggy after lunch, rethink that bag of potato chips.

What’s your favorite remedy for puffy eyes? Share with us in the comments.

comments (17 and counting)


Reader Interactions


  1. Jo says

    I’m practising so many of these things ,think mine is to sinus problems during the dreaded peri menopause !
    I also swear by face yoga !

  2. Lisa says

    Thanks for the wonderful article. Eyes are an important organ of our body, I used to be health conscious and love to read various health-related blogs. I will surely keep these tips in mind and follow you for more interesting articles.

  3. Jeremy Thompson says

    My eyes are looking like a dead fish’s more and more each day which is why I am looking for ways to remedy this problem. Your tip to try out lemon water first thing in the morning as dehydration can be a cause of puffy eyes is something I would be happy to practice. I’ll be sure to keep these in mind and hope that these steps would be enough to provide the natural eye care my eyes are needing. Thanks!

  4. Patricia says

    My Eyes get puffy when I eat milk products. I believe it is from the poisons and the hormones also. I quit eating milk products this includes cheese, ice cream, cream, whey. All milk products.
    I have turned to coconut milk if I need an alternative. Milk products are also very mucasy which causes breathing problems for me.

  5. Diane H. says

    Great article! I would add two more tips I’ve learned:

    I believe a humidifier would help with keeping hydrated. I haven’t used a stand-alone humidifier myself, but I do use a CPAP machine with a built-in humidifier, and I notice a big improvement in my eyes on mornings when I’ve been good and used my CPAP the night before, which keeps my sinuses and airways hydrated all night.

    Also, how you apply eye cream/serum makes a big difference, I discovered. I only started using eye cream about 4 years ago, and at first I didn’t know any better and I slathered it on generously, under, around, and above my eyes, right up to the lash lines. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to do that. The eye cream got into my eyes and irritated them, causing puffiness! Talk about counter-productive!

    Since then I’ve learned a few things, such as: never put eye cream in the corner of the eyes (crow’s feet), and only put it under the eyes along the “orbital ridge” (edge of the eye socket) and only very sparingly, and never closer than an inch from the bottom of your eye; otherwise, not only can you irritate your eyes, but you can also clog the pores in the lash line and possibly lose lashes and/or get styes. The skin under the eyes will pull the cream upward like a sponge; it’s like that experiment where you take a big piece of white sidewalk chalk and place it upright in a pool of colored water, and the color starts rising up the chalk! Also, I never put eye cream above my eyes, as that eventually moves down into my eyes and irritates them; some can get away with that, but I can’t — my eyes are too sensitive.

    That’s all I can add — thanks again for an interesting post!

    • Patricia says

      I’ll have a small suggestion about salt. Check the type of salt you are ingesting, as bleached table salt is the cause of many medical problems, natural salt is not. I personally recommend to take Himalayan salt, which contains 84 minerals to balance out the sodium effect in the body. Salt is necessary to hydrate the body, otherwise it goes through it washing out other minerals. This will help you to improve your kidney function and the body won’t feel compelled to save every drop of water you have. The best amount of water to have is half your weight (in lbs.) in ounces of water and a maximum of 1/2 a teaspoon of natural salt. I do this and also recommend it to my clients. I’ve seen many cases where swelling disappeared fast! Of course, consult your doctor if you suffer any serious health issue. Good luck!

  6. sarabrenner says

    Cucumbers have a subtle, mild skin lightening effect. This is why cucumber on eyes is so often used for the dark circles under the eyes. This will reduce the swelling and puffiness around the eyes. I use raw cucumbers from the super market, but when i dont have time for that, I use Made from Earth’s Cucumber Cooling Gell. It has real cucumber in it, and its not cold like a real cucumber. Its my daily moisturizer now and I love how “fresh” it has made my eyes look.

  7. Tricia says

    Your puffy eyes suggestions are great. I have not tried lot of water with lemon or cold rose water. I get good sleep. Will give cucumber another chance, too.

    I use AnnMarie eye cream, just started.

    Hurrah! for your thougtfulness! Tricia

  8. Raj says

    SIT FOR 1hr and wash ..SEE THE MAGIC

  9. Ianna @ Unique Vision Sunglasses Philippines says

    Puffy eyes is one of my problems since college days, and I’ve been trying to find some remedy for this and came across to your article. Thank you for sharing this all of these tips and reminders it is very helpful.

  10. Stacey says

    Utmost important factor to avoid puff eyes and dark circles is to have minimum of 8 or 9 hours of sleep, Good sleep always better for health.

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