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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.