How to Cure Puffy Eyes

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Disgusted with the bags around your eyes? Not a fan of cosmetic surgery? If you can be satisfied with looking a lot better, as opposed to surgical perfection, there are several ways to approach reducing the puffiness under your eyes without going under the knife.

  1. Reduce swelling directly. Eye puffiness is a type of fluid build-up (edema) in the tissues around your eyes, called the orbits. Therefore, the steps taken to reduce puffiness are similar to those taken to reduce any kind of swelling. The following are "quick fixes" to temporarily encourage fluid to drain away from under your eyes.
    • Place cold cucumber slices on your eyes. It is the cold temperature that is helping rather than the product itself. The aroma, however, can be soothing and relaxing. Slice them into 1/8" discs and let them float in cool tap water for a few minutes. Shake them off well before applying to your eyes.
    • Use cold, refrigerated used tea bags. Like the cucumber slices, the coolness reduces circulation, but the tea actually has a slightly astringent (tissue-shrinking) effect as well.
    • For a less messy alternative, try putting 2 metal tablespoons in the fridge and use them daily by placing the backs against your eyes.
    • Rinse your face in cool water and pat dry.
    • Strange as it sounds, hemorrhoid cream, which is meant to reduce swelling, may work well. Be careful not to get it in your eyes. (This only works if you live in Canada. Hemorrhoid creams in the U.S. are no longer made with the active ingredient that reduces swelling.)

  2. Get enough sleep. If you have puffy eyes all day, it could be that you're simply not getting enough sleep, or the quality of the sleep you are getting is poor. Puffiness under the eyes is a common symptom of sleep deprivation.
  3. Elevate your head when you sleep. It's not unusual to have puffy eyes upon waking. A possible explanation for this may be that when you are laying down for several hours in a horizontal position and then stand up, the fluid that was resting under your eyes is suddenly being pulled down by gravity.[1] This swelling, however, should subside shortly. To reduce it, you can try elevating your head while sleeping so that the fluid is not as drastically drawn down when you get up.
  4. Cure puffy eyes from the inside out. Puffiness is a manifestation of excess fluid retention. By addressing your body's tendency to tuck fluid away, you may be able to indirectly reduce swelling around your eyes.
    • Reduce your salt intake. A high intake of sodium may be causing you to retain more fluid, in which case reducing the salt in your diet may produce good results (not only for your eyes, but also for your health in general).
    • Snack on bananas and raisins, both of which alleviate fluid retention.[2]
    • Consume cabbage or cranberry juice. Both are diuretics, which will help you "evacuate" some excess fluid.[2] Don't turn to caffeine as your diuretic of choice, as it can interfere with sleep and bring back the puffiness.
    • Exercise to improve circulation, which will help your body move fluid through your body, rather than letting it accumulate.

  5. Determine if you have any of the conditions associated with puffy eyes. Sometimes the swelling is a side effect of another condition, which is temporary, or must be treated individually.
    • pregnancy - commonly associated with fluid retention
    • hormonal variation in the menstrual cycle - commonly associated with fluid retention
    • dermatitis - sensitive skin is more likely to swell in response to irritants
    • allergies - can cause leaks in the subcutaneous capillary beds around the eyes[3]
    • mononucleosis - puffy eyes may be an early symptom of infection
    • medication - puffiness or water retention could be a side effect
    • more serious medical conditions - see Warnings below

  6. 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.
  • You may notice that puffiness is worse in hot weather--The body is less efficient at removing fluid from tissues when it's warmer.[4]
  • Alcohol and tobacco use can cause puffy eyes indirectly by affecting your sleep and hormonal cycles (among other things).
  • If the swelling is extreme and/or persistent, it may be a symptom of a serious illness, such as a blood clot, thyroid disease, or renal failure.[5] Check with a doctor to investigate if the puffiness won't go away.
  • Be careful about what type of tea you use. If you have allergies, an herbal tea like chamomile might swell your eyes.
  • Do not apply ice or extremely cold water directly to the skin around the eyes for more than a couple of seconds.
  • Exercise caution when using a new cosmetic product or trying a home remedy. If the condition worsens, or if you exhibit other symptoms, discontinue use immediately and contact your primary care physician or dermatologist for severe or persisting symptoms.
Sources and Citations:

  2. 2.0 2.1



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