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.
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 are plenty of eye cream ingredients that claim to improve blood circulation (like caffeine) or blood coagulation (like Vitamin K) which will theoretically reduce puffiness and dark circles. But the outer layer of your skin does such a good job protecting against invaders that it prevents most of these ingredients from penetrating deeply. You may be better off adding a cup of coffee or a spinach soufflée to your diet than waiting and hoping that these ingredients will sink in.
Periorbital puffiness, also known as “puffy eyes”, or swelling around the eyes, is the appearance of swelling in the tissues around the eyes, called the orbits. It is almost exclusively caused by fluid buildup around the eyes, or periorbital edema. Minor puffiness usually detectable below the eyes only (although at times they could be present all around) is often called eye bags. Such transient puffiness is distinct from the age related and gradual increase in the size of the fat pad lying below the lower eyelids (suborbicularis oculi fat – “SOOF”) which can also be colloquially referred to as eye bags.[1]
Fine lines and wrinkles come from both sun damage and your skin making less collagen as you age. Collagen helps maintain skin’s elasticity. Vitamin C, peptides, and retinol have boosted collagen production, studies of skin creams show. Ceramide and hyaluronic acid also help; these are moisturizers that help prevent water loss in the skin and improve elasticity.
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.
If propping up your head hurts your neck or you can’t fall asleep, you may also consider elevating the entire top end of your bed by a few inches. You can use bricks under the bed posts or buy special bed risers that are specifically made for this purpose.
There are two types of alcohols in cosmetics. The good guys are the “fatty alcohols,” like cetyl alcohol. This group of ingredients soothes and moisturizes and is a great addition to many moisturizers. The “bad” alcohols include denatured alcohol, methanol, benzyl alcohol, and ethyl alcohol. These ingredients are sometimes added because they help active ingredients penetrate further into your skin — which sounds great, until you learn that bad alcohols achieve this by breaking down the outer layers of your skin. They can eventually hurt the skin’s ability to retain moisture. We took a hard line on these drying alcohols, cutting any products that included them.

Handle your face with care. The skin around your eyes is fragile, and it can get stretched out and damaged by rough handling and exposure to chemicals. To prevent the skin around your eyes from getting loose and filling with fluid, change your routine so that you’re treating your face more gently.
Dermology Eye Cream is the most complete eye cream on the market since it reduces* the appearance of dark circles, eye bags, fine lines, wrinkles and eye puffiness. Also, almost all of the customer feedback and reviews are positive saying it is really a fast-acting and highly effective eye cream.
I don’t recommend coconut oil as eye cream. I had a light crease under my eye yesterday.. After one night of this mixture under eye, it’s deep and huge. It’s kind of a disaster. I’m guessing but the extreme greasiness on such delicate skin might cause wrinkles. I thought it couldn’t hurt to try something once.–It did.
Bags under eyes are usually a cosmetic concern and rarely a sign of a serious underlying medical condition. At-home remedies, such as cool compresses, can help improve the appearance of bags under eyes. For persistent or bothersome under-eye puffiness, eyelid surgery may be an option.
When my dark circles are looking extra bad, I’ll start my under-eye concealing off with this neutralizing pen from Saint Laurent. The peachy pigment of this product will cancel out blue or purple tones of your under-eyes and provide a more radiant, even base for your concealer.
Combining two powerful anti-ageing actives, Dr Dennis Gross Skincare’s Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream is a potent formula devoted to firming, brightening and tightening the delicate eye area. Use every evening for the best results – the effects are cumulative as well as immediate.
Eyes are more prone to dryness, so it’s important to keep the eyelid and undereye hydrated. Dark circles or puffy eyes can develop as a result of poor diet, lack of sleep, allergies or genetics. And the eyes are usually the first to show signs of aging in the form of fine lines and wrinkles. The earlier you start addressing these issues the better, though it’s never too late to start using an eye cream or serum specifically tailored to your needs.
Although eye creams may seem like they are expensive for the amount, they last a long time. A little goes a way. You only need a pea sized amount. Apply it with your ring finger with light patting and let your skin absorb it well.
This is my favorite under-eye product, and don’t make me tell you again why I love snail so much! Its regenerative properties not only work wonders on blemish scars, but also help with any kind of hyperpigmentation, including dark under-eye circles. It’s also super beneficial for helping with wrinkles and dryness. I keep these in the fridge, so they’re nice and cold when I use them — adding another level of luxury to the experience.
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SwellNoMore is the most widely-known and trusted company to specialize in reducing the appearance of puffy eyes. It also offers several other types of water retention remedies that can allow you to look and feel more energetic, healthy and youthful. Edema, which is swelling caused by your body’s inability to properly expel itself of excess water, is one of the main reasons swelling and puffiness occurs. By taking advantage of our amazing all-natural water pills, you can rid yourself of water weight and enjoy the healthful benefits of doing so.
If your eyes are guilty of betraying your lack of sleep, treat them to This Works’s No Wrinkles Tired Eyes which – as the name suggests – is dedicated to hiding the signs of late nights and early starts. No, it’s not as good as getting your full eight hours, but it does include hyaluronic acid to plump, plant extracts to encourage cell renewal and a secret “superblend” to tackle dark circles.
 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.
Blinking for eyelids is like walking for legs. When idle, some people develop swelling in their lower extremities that goes away as soon as they start walking and muscles in the legs begin “milking” the trapped fluids (edema), which are released back into circulation.
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.
Next, decide whether you prefer a lightweight lotion that absorbs quickly — like Youth to the People (retinoid) and Botanics All Bright (peptide) — or a richer cream that lingers on the skin, like Skin Laundry (retinoid) or SkinMedica (peptide). If you’re not sure where to start, we’d suggest the medium-weight coverage offered by Kate Somerville’s Line Release retinoid cream or Mizon’s peptide cream.
Bags under eyes — mild swelling or puffiness under the eyes — are common as you age. With aging, the tissues around your eyes, including some of the muscles supporting your eyelids, weaken. Normal fat that helps support the eyes can then move into the lower eyelids, causing the lids to appear puffy. Fluid also may accumulate in the space below your eyes, adding to the swelling.
“While technically not an eyes-only cream, I use Sunday Riley Tidal around my eyes and it’s pure gold. It’s very lightweight and doesn’t have a strong scent, which is great. It seriously pumps up the hydration in my face and around my eyes, and makes my skin super soft too.” —Nina Bahadur, branded content editor
Those who prefer to use organic or natural skincare products should try Uma’s Absolute Anti Aging Eye Oil, which blends oils such as rose, frankincense, geranium and sandalwood all harvested on the family-run company’s own estate. The luxurious formula absorbs quickly, and has noticeable effects on puffiness.
Fluid may also be more likely to get trapped in your lower eyelid as you age. Fluid retention is known as edema. The thin skin around your eyelid can cause fluid retention to be very prominent, resulting in puffy eyes.
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.
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.[citation needed] Eating foods rich in vitamins, especially A, C and E, helps to reduce eye puffiness and to maintain clear, moist skin.[9]
Obviously once you have identified the cause of your puffy eyes it’s easier to adjust your lifestyle habits to tackle them. Or alternatively, you can seek medical advice if you think it may be an underlying symptom for something more serious. However, you can always try these natural remedies for reducing the appearance of puffy eyes:
Hi and thank you for this recipe! I have started using it and looking forward to the results.. I was wondering, can I use it for the rest of my face too or the dry patches around the mouth at least? Is it good for fine lines around the mouth? I have very very dry skin by the way. Thanks!
When your body is dehydrated it desperately tries to retain water, causing your under eye area to swell. Drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day can also help flush toxins out helping to clear up your eye area.
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.
We also used Paula’s Choice Ingredient Dictionary (a cosmetic ingredients database) to identify products that contain known skin sensitizers: These ingredients include things like lemon or mint — compounds that smell great and are totally fine for occasional use. But if you’re using a skin sensitizer on a daily basis for months at a time, your skin may develop an allergic reaction. We found 44 sensitizing ingredients in our remaining eye creams.
Often eye cream formulas have heavier moisturizing ingredients, and some night creams can be used safely around the eyes. You still have to be careful applying any of these creams since even if they don’t damage the eyes, they may still hurt if you get some of the cream in your eyes. Eye creams may also be sold as oils or serums instead of creams, which some people find easier to apply.
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.”
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