To help you uncover what’s behind your puffy eyes, we spoke with a team of doctors, including a dermatologist, ophthalmologist, allergist, and optometrist. Read on for the reasons why fluid accumulation happens and how to combat it—and wake up looking fresh, gorgeous, and like yourself again.
There’s a third form of pink eye that can cause eye puffiness too: allergy-related pink eye, which tends to affect both eyes at the same time and typically causes watery discharge and itching in the corners of your eyes. If you also experience a runny nose or sneezing when you have pink eye, it’s probably allergy-related, says Dr. Manusis.
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.
“I have monster bags under my eyes every morning (#nightowlproblems), so I depend on this shea butter and caffeine-packed cream to help with both long term hydration and immediate results. I roll the cooling massage tool up and outward under my eyes to quickly de-puff, then lightly tap on the cream with my ring finger to nourish. It’s basically a masters class called Faking Sleep 101.” —Jen Mulrow, assistant beauty editor
If you don’t get enough sleep once in a while, try to resist the urge to try to rub your eyes awake in the a.m. This reflexive habit many of us have after a night of tossing and turning pulls the sensitive skin around the eyes and contributes to swelling.
Yes, it’s expensive. But La Mer’s Lifting Eye Serum really does deliver, using kelp-infused actives and the brand’s Stretch Matrix Complex to lift, tighten and contour the area around the eyes. The formula is lightweight, gel-like and refreshing – apply to drooping lids to lift and smooth.
Starting to see signs of too much work and too little sleep in the bags and circles under your eyes? Readers say these eye creams are the best way to banish fine lines, puffiness and discoloration for good
We’ve taken the eleven that remain and grouped them based on type (day cream or night cream), and weight (light, medium, or heavy). To find the best eye cream for you, you might have to try a couple, to find out which one feel best to you — our testers can only take us so far when it comes to personal preference.
Artificial sweeteners have also been linked to body bloating, which will have an effect on your eyes as well. Go easy on the diet sodas and other products containing fake sugar substitutes, or give them up completely. You can also try easing the eye puff caused by this fake sugars by consuming more inflammation-fighting foods like berries, tomatoes, and ginger.
The skin around the eyes is more fragile, more prone to dryness, and quicker to show age and fatigue. Squinting and constant movement of the eyes also hasten the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and fluids collect under the eyes and cause puffiness and dark circles. Eye creams can address some of these issues.
As we get older, our skin regenerates more slowly, loses elasticity, and can appear sunken. Moisturizing helps skin look fuller — minimizing wrinkles — and gives it the water it needs to repair and regenerate itself.
Persons who suffer from diseases such as hypothyroidism may benefit from a daily dose of levothyroxine (synthetic thyroid hormone). Again, talk with your doctor about possible causes and treatments for puffy eyes.
Science has yet to discover a single ingredient that can reverse the aging process. Often “marketing tool” ingredients like caffeine, peptides, or collagen are added to an eye cream formulation to enhance sales. But there is no scientific evidence that these ingredients have any real benefit or that they can reverse the aging process. On the other hand, dermatologists say these breakthrough anti-aging products are the real deal. The ability of an eye cream to improve the appearance of skin around the eye is more dependent on the product’s ability to increase the water content of the skin, which is basically its effectiveness as a moisturizer.
I mix beeswax pellets with just a little bit of rosehip oil (don’t want it to be greasy) and some quality frankincense oil (I order my oil through Tropical Traditions). The beeswax doesn’t melt into my eyes quite as quickly as the coconut oil, thus it stays off my eyeballs and I don’t get blurry vision. I’ve come to know that using this at night before bed is the best way. During the daytime I mix frankincense with grapeseed oil (soaks in right away) and use it under my powdered mineral make-up and it works out fine. At night I want something heavier though, so I stay with the beeswax.
Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism – Facial puffiness and periorbital swelling occur due to infiltration with the mucopolysaccharides hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate, pulling fluid into the interstitial space by osmosis.
If your eye puffiness is severe, and if lifestyle changes or other remedies don’t work, you may want to consider cosmetic surgery. One type of surgery is blepharoplasty, which is eyelid surgery. This procedure involves a doctor moving or removing excess fat, muscle, and skin in your eyelid.
If you’re looking for a peptide-based formula that can be worn during the day, coupled with middle-of-the-road absorbency, you’ve got four options. The two frontrunners during testing were Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum and Mizon Collagen Power Firming Eye Cream. We had no trouble dispensing the right amounts with either cream, either through Drunk Elephant’s sleek-looking pump, or with Mizon’s basic squeeze tube. Testers noted that their skin felt smooth and a little oily from the residue, ranking both creams as similarly absorbent. In fact, the most noticeable difference is their price: Mizon retails for $10, and Drunk Elephant for $60. If you don’t have existing brand loyalty, we’d suggest starting with the Mizon.
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).
This is also a simply way to get rid of puffy eyes. For this remedy take a glass of warm water and add half teaspoon of salt in it and mix it properly. Make sure the water is not too hot. Now soak cotton balls or wool eye pads in this warm saline water and apply them over your eyelids for a few minutes. Repeat the process for at least half an hour. After some time, your eyes will not have the puffiness.
And don’t forget this indirect way pounding one too many back can cause swollen eyes. Although alcohol is a depressant, it actually makes it harder to sleep for most of us, making us toss and turn or wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to go back to dreamland. A poor night’s sleep can cause fluid retention, leading to inflated eyes.
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1.6 mg for adult males per day; 1.2 mg for adult females per day; 1.5 mg to 1.7 mg for pregnant or lactating women Prevents itchy eyes, which can cause puffiness; helps to maintain good vision Fish; egg yolks; brewer’s yeast; liver; whole grain cereal
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.