Eye creams, who needs them? Just about everyone, actually — no matter your age. While it’s beneficial to start using any anti-aging products in your twenties, eye creams are often the most forgotten when it comes to skin care.
What these blogs and YouTube videos never tell you is exactly what causes puffy eyes? Unless you understand the true cause of the puffiness and swelling you can never expect to remedy the symptoms. Puffy eyes are caused by 2 separate conditions:
Allergies can cause puffy, dark circles under your eyes. You may also experience redness or watery, itchy eyes. This reaction is caused by your immune system’s response to something that irritates it, or allergens.
Although cucumbers do reduce puffy eyes, it is the coldness of the cucumber that does the trick, not the cucumber itself. Coldness is known to constrict blood vessels, which reduces the flow of fluid into soft tissues.
Apply something cold to your eyes. Eye puffiness is a buildup of fluids in the tissues around your eyes, and like other types of swelling, it can be reduced with the application of a cool compress of some kind. Chilled cucumber slices are the perfect size and shape for your eyes, and the ascorbic acid in them works well to temporarily reduce puffiness. Lie back and place them over your closed eyelids for 15 minutes, or until they grow warm.[1]
Puffy or swollen eyes can be caused by fluid retention, stress, allergies, hormone changes, and other factors. Crying is often accompanied by swollen eyes because the tiny glands in the eyelids that produce tears become inflamed from overactivity.
Vitamin C Depends on factors such as one’s weight, activity level, metabolism, age, and ailments: 2,300 to 9,000 mg per day Maintains body’s collagen; reduces effects of certain allergens that may cause puffy eyes Fresh fruits and vegetables; citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons; rose hips; green peppers; acerola cherries
Fragrance sensitivity is nothing new: a March 2017 study published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports found that exposure to fragrances can lead to a host of negative reactions, like migraines and difficulty breathing. And 14% of people in the study reported having eye issues when they were within smelling distance of certain scents.
The main difference between Estee and Botanics is application style. The Estee is a thin, cream-based formula with a tiny pump, good for dispensing precise amounts of cream. The Botanics uses a squeeze tube with a metal roller ball. Testers reported that the roller ball felt wonderfully cool under their eyes, but this application style does make it trickier to tell exactly how much product you’re applying.
If you’re tired of plain water, infusing it with fresh fruit is a great way to stay hydrated and refreshed. Try adding your fruit of choice to a custom water bottle for infused water that lasts all day long.

Apart from aging, the other main culprit behind skin damage is the sun — which is why our faces and hands tend to look more aged than our chests or backs. Sunscreen is your biggest ally here. All of our experts agreed that you should wear sunscreen on a daily basis to prevent sun damage. But since the vast majority of the products we found didn’t contain SPF, we couldn’t make this a requirement. (Out of our starting list of 404, only eight advertised sun-blocking properties, and onlyMDSolarSciences made it all the way to our list of finalists.) If you do need a sunscreen recommendation, we’d suggest checking out our review of the best sunscreens.
Bromelain, which is an enzyme found in pineapple, has a positive effect on reducing inflammation throughout your body, and can also assist in fighting bloating and puffiness. Another one of our remarkable ingredients is known as quercetin, which is a type of antioxidant that is naturally found in plant foods like leafy greens, tomatoes, berries and broccoli. This has been proven to bring longevity, heart health and better endurance to those who take it, and it has been linked to preventing certain cancers from developing within the body. These are just a few examples of the super-food ingredients our water pills stem from.
Accept yourself. If you’ve checked with your doctor, then your puffy eyes are probably only a cosmetic issue. It happens with age, and sometimes it just happens. Learn to draw attention to other features that haven’t aged, such as the color of your eyes, the curl in your hair, or your attitude towards life.
Also worth considering are NIOD Fractionated Eye-Contour Concentrate, and Eco Your Skin VOLUFILINE15 EYE ESSENCE. NIOD was the only true eye serum that made it to our list of finalists — it’s a liquid that comes in a dropper. It doesn’t absorb as quickly as Drunk Elephant or Mizon, with all of our testers reporting moderately oily residue. Eco Your Skin is heavier still — we almost bumped it into our “heavy creams” category. Its standout features is the size of its bottle. Unlike most of our finalists, which usually cap at 15 mL, Eco Your Skin comes in a 50 mL bottle. This helps explain its higher price tag ($70).
Don’t like water? The good news is that all fluids count toward your daily total. Still, water is a low-calorie option. Try sparkling waters, flavored waters, or even water infused with fruit. Hot or cold herbal decaffeinated tea is another good choice.
A product with peptides or retinoids is the closest you can come to a true anti-aging eye cream, and research suggests that these ingredients truly are effective. But in either case, don’t believe products that promise miracles in five days. These chemicals take months of routine use before you’ll see results.
The most important steps you can take to prevent further swelling are not to rub your eyes and to seek medical attention if your condition is severe. Your doctor can prescribe you medicine that will reduce the swelling almost immediately.
Like regular sugar, artificial sweeteners such as saccharin and aspartame promote inflammation all over the body, including in the eye area. Inflammation happens when your immune system floods your body with white blood cells, a defense mechanism for fighting off foreign organisms such as bacteria or a virus. When your immune system does this often, it can have a spillover effect that leads to “joint pain, fatigue, and damage to the blood vessels,” Scott Zashin, MD, clinical professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, told Health in a previous interview.
I am a huge fan of coconut oil and make all my own hand and face creams with it. We live by “if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth why would you rub it into your skin and into your blood stream?”. For some reason the cream will go bad though if left on the counter. It takes about 2 months or so but it will go dark and break up around the edges. It must be because it has had things added. So its important to only make what you will use.
“When choosing products, try to use products that are fragrance-free,” says Dr. Jaliman. When you spritz on perfume in particular, aim it away from your face to keep scented particles as far from your eyes as possible.
“I get dry skin on my eyelids—I think because the skin there is so sensitive already and when I’m putting moisturizer on, I tend to forget about my eye area. This fixes that. I especially like that it’s all-natural and I know exactly what’s in it, rather than some sort of ‘amazing vitalizing serum’ that has vague descriptions of what it actually does.” —Emily Geraghty, senior producer
As you age, the tissue structures and muscles supporting your eyelids weaken. The skin may start to sag, and fat that is normally confined to the area around the eye (orbit) can move into the area below your eyes. Also, the space below your eyes can accumulate fluid, making the under-eye area appear puffy or swollen. Several factors cause or worsen this effect, including:
Talk with your doctor if you have year-round or seasonal allergies. Allergies can cause your eyes to redden, swell, and puff up. This prompts you to rub your eyes more, resulting in further puffiness. Your doctor can help create a treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms. This may include eye drops and over-the-counter or prescription medication.
If you really struggle with dark under-eyes, this concealer is worth trying. It’s extremely pigmented and infused with vitamins that reduce the appearance of dark circles and discoloration, so you’re both concealing and actively treating your under-eyes throughout the day. Be careful though — it’s extremely pigmented on my light skin (make sure to find the right tone), so a little goes a long way. Before I realized, I put it on the way I would any other concealer and saw how I looked in a photo later — discolored — and learned my lesson: Just use a tiny bit.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler’s educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Of course we have all heard about the famous chilled cucumbers over the eyes. Not only is this common in blog posts and YouTube, but it was made famous in several movies and television shows. The theory is that the enzymes and astringent properties in cucumbers are anti-inflammatories which help reduce inflammation and swelling. Some blogs even claim they will get rid of wrinkles and tighten the skin. There is absolutely no scientific support for these claims. However, chilled cucumbers do feel nice on swollen eyes.
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Brain basics: Understanding sleep. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep. Accessed Aug. 25, 2017.
“It is thought that the tears secreted while crying have a slightly different composition in addition to a different hormonal response,” explains Dr. Manusis. It doesn’t help that after a crying jag, you might rub your eyes to dry them or mask the tears, and that puffs your eyes up as well.
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