While it’s hard to totally avoid allergens, reduce your exposure and prevent eye puffiness by staying indoors as much as possible—especially in fall and spring, when trees and plants release more pollen and symptoms can get worse. Keep windows shut, change into another outfit when you come in from outdoors, and consider getting an air filter to cut down on pet dander in your home.
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:
Because the skin around the eye area tends to be thin and fragile, it requires products specifically formulated for that area. Your go-to moisturizer and serum may work wonders on the rest of the face, but they’re not the right consistency for the thinner skin surrounding the eye. In fact, heavy moisturizers can actually make eyes puffier.
If you have pink eye, you would think you’d know it—this super contagious eye condition usually causes the mucus membranes that line your eyes to turn pinkish-red and swell up, releasing discharge as well.
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.
Vitamin K 90 mcg per day for adult women; 120 mcg per day for adult men; 10–20 mcg per day for infants; 15–100 mcg per day for children and teens Regulates blood clotting; used in creams to reduce puffy and aging eyes Spinach; swiss chard; kale; broccoli; avocado; grapes; kiwi; soybean
And of course you can always cheat and use the “Secret to the Stars” which is SwellNoMore, the #1 Natural Dietary Supplement formulated specifically to reduce puffy eyes. SwellNoMore quickly draws out retained fluids and reduces tissue inflammation commonly experienced around the eyes and face. It is doctor trusted and guaranteed to work within 1-3 days. Visit swellnomore.com and say goodbye to puffy eyes for good.
“I have pretty bad dark circles (genetics, unfortunately) and have tried everything from super expensive to drugstore brands. It wasn’t until this that I noticed a difference—literally, after a day of using it. It’s super lightweight and makes it looks like I hit snooze just a little longer each morning.” —Azadeh Valanejad, social video producer
The skin around your eyes is very thin, making them extremely sensitive. When skin here comes into contact with allergens floating in the air such as pollen, animal dander, or dust mites, swelling is the result. Adding to the puffiness are allergens that reach the eyes through your nose.
If I don’t wear makeup, it is inevitable that someone will approach me and ask if I had a late night. Something about my under-eye skin says, “I’ve never slept a day in my life.” And it’s not just me, either — my mother and sister are the exact same way. Last year, we held a conference over Christmas to discuss our collective genetic flaw: sunken, dark Robert Durst eyes. Since I’m the skin-care expert of the bunch, I promised I’d do all I could to figure out what would help. And as a result, I’ve tried just about every eye product out there. As it turns out, my sensitive skin is especially sensitive to eye treatments — I’ll often get redness and irritation when I’m trying new eye products. But after months of research (and more than a few rashes), I feel I’ve finally reached a place where I can confidently share with you (and the long-suffering female members of my family) the best eye products for dark, dry, puffy-in-the-morning serial-killer eyes.
Belli Eye Brightening Cream ($39) and MDSolarSciences Daily Eye Repair Emulsion ($82) were more controversial. While MDSolarSciences was a top pick in our previous review, a number of testers found that it crossed the border from “luxuriously moisturized” to “uncomfortably greasy.” Belli, meanwhile, received multiple complaints for leaving a sticky residue.
You may have noticed that common cucumber and tea bag treatment methods are not mentioned here. This is because these items are not recommended by eye care professionals. Cucumbers are over 90 percent water, and the rest is mainly inert fiber.
“I love this little cream because I basically live out of my gym bag, and it’s the only eye cream I’ve found that comes in a teeny mini size. The tiny jar alone is so helpful when I’m getting ready on the go. Plus, it really, truly works. This stuff is no joke—they mean it when they say it’s potent! I look less sleepy the second I put it on.” —Sara Gaynes Levy, health editor
Can you wear retinoids during the day? Yes and no. Retinoids have an exfoliating effect on the skin, scrubbing away dead skin, and the more powerful they are, the more effective they are. This means that they can make your skin more sensitive to UV radiation, but it depends both on how sensitive your skin is, and the strength of the retinoid in your eye cream. An easy fix is to wear sunscreen overtop to protect your skin. However, we still recommend wearing these creams at night, because there is some research that sunlight can degrade retinols and make them less effective.
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.
Some people swear that using a neti pot can help remove your under-eye bags and dark circles. A neti pot is a device you fill with a saltwater (normal saline) solution. You place the spout in your nose and irrigate your sinuses, removing mucus and other debris.
Tea bags can help soothe irritated and puffy eyes as they contain anti-irritant properties that can help reduce swelling – as well as relieving redness and irritation. Simply put two used teabags in the fridge for half an hour and then put them on your eyelids for 15 minutes.
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
Some of the causes of this fluid retention are relatively harmless and unrelated to a more serious issue, such as not getting enough sleep or consuming foods with too much sodium. Other times, the puffiness is a sign something that needs to be addressed by a doctor, like an infection, says Randy McLaughlin, OD, a professor of optometry at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.
Puffy eyes are usually only a temporary cosmetic worry, but occasionally, individuals become concerned about the cosmetic effect of periorbital swelling and seek surgical correction. Severe and persistent puffiness may be a sign of other serious medical conditions.
Why does it happen? Many things can contribute to eye puffiness, but the underlying cause has to do with fluid accumulation. For unknown reasons, fluid has collected around your eyes and the surrounding skin tissue. This tissue is among the thinnest in your body, so any swelling there is easy to see and hard to hide.
Get blepharoplasty surgery. As a last resort, this surgery removes fat deposits around the eyes and is followed by laser treatment on the skin. The overall result is a tighter look and permanently reduced puffiness. This surgery usually runs in the thousands of dollars with a recovery period that lasts several weeks.
Determine if you have a condition associated with puffy eyes. Sometimes the swelling is a side effect of another condition. Getting treated for the condition may help cure your puffy eyes. Here are a few conditions that commonly lead to eye puffiness:
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.
If hollow or aging eyes are your issue, try these collagen eye patches. They’re great for plumping, softening, and hydrating your under-eyes to make you look visibly more awake throughout the day. Again, these are best when stuck in the fridge overnight. I also love putting these on during the final stretch of flights, so I look a little more awake when I land.
Elevating the head while sleeping can prevent the gravitational redistribution of fluid that is associated with eye swelling. A low-carb diet can prevent eye puffiness by preventing water retention. Eating foods rich in vitamins, especially A, C and E, helps to reduce eye puffiness and to maintain clear, moist skin.
Some say forgetting to wash your face may cause wrinkles or damage the skin in other ways. How exactly? When you sleep in makeup, you’re exposing your skin to free radicals. This has the potential to create what’s called oxidative stress, which may prematurely age your skin.
If puffy eyes are your problem, you should try ice-rolling. You know the old trick of putting cold spoons under your eyes? Well, this is a modernized version of that. Keep it in the freezer, and when you want to use it, let it sit out for a second so that it’s not painfully freezing, then roll it gently over your under-eyes. This also can be used on places other than just your under-eyes — it can actually help with inflammation and redness from breakouts and rashes as well. Also, I’ll just say — this feels incredible on your head when you’re hungover.
We also made a couple of one-off cuts at this stage: Lumene Hehku Radiance Restoring Recovery Eye Cream is only available in the United Kingdom; and Cicatricure Eye Cream has artificial dyes. We were left with 33 contenders.
If your pink eye is triggered by a viral infection, you might also have cold symptoms, explains Kira Manusis, MD, an ophthalmologist at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, in an email to Health. “In such cases it can be associated with an upper respiratory infection,” she says. “It often starts in one eye and spreads to the other.”
Before you choose, you’ll need to decide when you want to use your cream: Night creams contain retinoids, the most fast-acting and well-researched anti-wrinkle agent on the market — but this class of ingredients quickly breaks down and becomes ineffective when exposed to sunlight. Day creams contain peptides, a more recent addition to the skincare arsenal: Peptides are less sensitive to sunlight and less likely to irritate if you’ve got sensitive skin, but expect to wait longer for results. We’ve found picks in both categories.
There are hundreds of so-called ‘remedies’ for puffy eyes floating around the Internet. It seems that almost every day someone is posting a new blog or YouTube video about: HOW TO GET RID OF PUFFY EYES. Or, GET RID OF PUFFY EYES NATURALLY. Or, HOME REMEDIES FOR SWOLLEN EYES. The fact of the matter is that almost all of these home remedies are urban myths. But it also seems that people like to fabricate new urban myths simply for web recognition.
We’ve all experienced getting a slight shock when you check your face in the mirror and find your eyes are looking swollen or puffier than usual. However, puffy eyes are extremely common and can be caused by a variety of different things – from environmental factors to underlying health problems.
So although it can be inconvenient, the best advice is to make sure you take them out before hitting the sack. Instead of waiting until the last sleepy minute, one trick is to remove your contact lenses in the late afternoon or evening—so you don’t forget or get lazy, doze off in them, and wake up looking like a blowfish.