Ordinary swelling around the eyes means you have an excessive accumulation of fluids, called edema, in surrounding skin tissue. Because the skin around the eyes is the thinnest skin in the body, swelling and discoloration can be quite prominent.
Do you wake up every morning with puffy eyes? If you’re tired of looking sleepy or under the weather, there are plenty of things you can try to give your eyes a lift. Read on to learn about quick fixes, long-term strategies for reducing puffiness and a few permanent solutions, too.
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.
You eat well, avoid alcohol, and always score a healthy 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Yet your undereye area sometimes resembles a tiny pillow. What’s going on? Some of us are simply genetically prone to eye puffiness, says Dr. McLaughlin. And this inherited predisposition tends to not show up until later in life, well into your 30s or 40s (though it can strike at younger ages as well).
In the United States, Congress passes laws to protect consumers’ health and safety. The Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) clearly states “articles…intended to affect the structure or function of…” skin are considered drugs, and as such, must get FDA pre-market approval before going to market. In addition, the manufacturer must prove safety and efficacy of that product. An eye cream, however, is not a drug—it is a cosmetic and doesn’t require FDA pre-market approval or need to demonstrate its safety or efficacy. Cosmetics are defined as “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied…for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance.” By law, manufacturers of cosmetics, including eye creams, may claim that their product improves the appearance of the skin, as many well-formulated moisturizers temporarily do, but they cannot legally claim that their product actually alters the structure or function of the skin, as this would make the product a drug and require FDA pre-market approval.
The Green Tea Seed Eye Cream is rich in antioxidants, which help fight off skin damage. This helps keep your under-eye skin healthy. It contains squeezed Jeju green tea seeds, which help moisturize and nourish your under-eye skin. The product is rich in minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants.
If you are drinking water late in the day your body may not have time to flush it out before bedtime, resulting in morning puffiness. This should resolve itself in a few hours. Otherwise you are probably retaining water due to consuming too much salt. Try to reduce your sodium intake.
Certain personal care products, like soaps, makeup, or hair dyes, may be allergens. If you’re having trouble identifying the cause, consider keeping a diary to see what substances or other things cause the most reaction. If this is a chronic problem talk to your doctor about allergy testing.
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.
Eye care professionals recommend using a washcloth dipped in cold water, which has the same effect. The reason cucumbers are not recommended is that food sometimes contains bacteria. Putting a possible bacteria source directly onto the eyes can lead to eye infections. The same is true of tea bags.
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A great all-purpose formula for everyday use, Olay’s Ultimate Eye Cream acts on fine lines, dark circles, puffiness and crow’s feet – as well as using a colour-correcting formula to tackle uneven skin tone. It makes a brilliant base for make-up too, and all for under £30.
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.
Store shelves groan under the weight of creams and lotions made to reduce puffy eyes. Try them out to see if one works for you. Here’s one product to avoid: Don’t use old-fashioned hemorrhoid cream. It can irritate the skin around your eyes. Try a retinol eye cream instead.
Forest Essentials’ Intensive Eye Cream With Anise has been specially formulated to treat the delicate under eye area. It helps reduce dark circles and diminish dark circles, while also toning and firming the skin around your eyes. This herbal product contains extracts of papaya and potato starch, both of which help provide your skin with hydration.
Peptides are a more recent entrant into the field of skin care, which means that they’re not as well documented. Kevin Gallagher told us that peptides were derived from medical research into wound healing, and he recommended them over retinoids because they have less risk of irritating the delicate skin around the eye area. “Peptides are small fragments of collagen and proteins that are meant to ‘trick’ the skin into thinking that its collagen is broken, and that it needs to make new collagen to replace it. Over time, it can help thicken skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles,” explains Shainhouse.
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.
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One of the most common home remedies, as mentioned above, is the temporary use of hemorrhoid creams and ointments to reduce the puffiness in eyelids. A common active ingredient in these preparations is phenylephrine, a medication that constricts blood vessels, reducing their diameter.
“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.
You can find neti pots inexpensively at most drug stores or online. If you choose to try this method at home, be sure to use distilled or sterilized water to create your saltwater solution. You may also use boiled tap water that has cooled to a safe temperature.
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Some eye cream types contain ingredients that help firm the skin, like caffeine, retinol, or vitamin C. These may temporarily provide a firmer look to the eyes. Those creams that help to lighten skin around the eyes, especially dark circles may contain ingredients such as hydroquinone or Vitamin K. Occasionally you’ll find creams that offer anti-aging or firming benefits and reduce dark circles.
Toss out those pricey creams. Relief from dark circles may be as simple as using a cold compress you make using materials you already own. Applying cold to the area can help the blood vessels constrict quickly for some temporary relief.
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
All of our consulting dermatologists and cosmetic chemists agreed that there is not currently enough scientific data to conclude whether parabens are actually harmful. That said, they encouraged those wary of parabens to seek out alternatives. The challenge is that there aren’t many. We could only find three paraben-free options, after nixing other potentially harmful ingredients: Both of the glittery Olay eye creams are paraben-free, as is Youth to the People’s medium-weight night cream. There’s also a fourth, if you can find it: Perricone MD Cold Plasma Anti-Aging Eye Treatment. But it’s not widely available from retailers like Amazon, Ulta, or Sephora, and we weren’t able to bring it in for testing.

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.
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.
Get some exercise. This improves circulation, which will help your body move fluid through your body, rather than letting it accumulate. If you have time, go for a run, do some yoga, or simply take a brisk walk.
Someone suffering from severe allergies may benefit from prescription-strength antihistamines, while someone suffering from a skin disorder that is affecting the skin around the eyes may benefit from topical creams.
Tvam’s Olive And Soya Under Eye Cream contains the goodness of olive oil, almond oil, nutmeg oil, and aloe vera. Its unique formulation helps treat the delicate under eye area effectively. The product helps minimize dark circles, reduce puffiness, and smoothe out wrinkles and fine lines.
Ingredients can vary depending on what type of issue the eye cream is trying to address. But there are some common components to keep an eye out for, including those that encourage collagen production, like niacinamide and retinol. Caffeine will help decrease puffiness by constricting blood vessels and light reflectors will illuminate those pesky dark areas.
If you have the same puffy eyes as your mother or father, you probably inherited the trait — so you can blame your parent! In this case, you will need to learn to live with the look or consider cosmetic options that might help reduce the puffiness.
“I’ve got plenty of undereye concerns that need correction: puffiness, dark circles, and an general look of exhaustion are pretty much regular fixtures on my face. After tapping a single pump of Auto Correct under both eyes with my fingertips, there’s noticeable deflation and lift to my sleep-deprived skin in under 5 minutes. I still use concealer, but I don’t have to layer it on the way I used to.” —Amber Rambharose, beauty editor
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