Full-Proof Remedies For Puffy Eyes
From classic cucumber slices to the latest beauty tool sweeping Instagram, it’s time to take action against your unwanted eye baggage.
What is it with puffy eyes? Sure, they might not be your biggest skincare concern – frown lines and hormonal breakouts can fight for that crown – but waking up with bags under your eyes that would put the Kardashians’ weekend luggage to shame is not how we like to start the day.
Like many skin issues, there are a number of reasons you might be blighted by under eye bags. Think genes, lack of sleep, allergies and smoking. But one thing’s for sure, puffy eyes become much more common as you age. How so? Because skin becomes looser thanks to a lack of collagen, while supporting tissues and muscles around your eyes weaken, allowing fat and fluid to accumulate.
OK, so that’s the bad news. But it’s not all doom and bloom because there are countless ways you can quickly and simply improve bags under your eyes...
1. Invest In A Depuffing Eye Treatment
Skincare is a very personal thing and if there’s one product that consistently splits opinion, it’s eye cream. If you’re a bit of a cynic in this department, hear us out for a minute. Sure, regular moisturizer is just about passable for the skin around your eyes. Until it’s not. And the reasons are simple. The skin in this area is way thinner and more fragile than the skin on the rest of your face which makes it extremely susceptible to the visible signs of aging such as lines, wrinkles and sagging. It also has fewer sebaceous glands, so it can quickly feel dry and irritated unless it’s looked after. Then there are more specific eye issues like dark circles and bags – both of which don’t need to be addressed on the rest of your face.
This is why a specific eye treatment – one that’s been carefully created to deal with issues around your eyes – is so important.
When it comes to reducing eye bags, look for ingredients like caffeine, licorice, cucumber, hyaluronic acid and green tea which all help to hydrate the skin and reduce puffiness. Both Hyaluronic Acid Eye Cream and Peptide Eye Gel are also formulated with an ingredient cunningly called eyebright. This is a herbal extract that contains tannin to naturally tighten and refresh the skin while helping to reduce inflammation.
Apply your eye treatment to cleansed skin every morning and night and use your ring fingers to tap a small amount around both eyes. Using your ring fingers rather than your forefingers lessens the amount of pressure you put on your skin which reduces dragging. Meanwhile, the gentle tapping motion helps encourage lymphatic drainage.
2. Chill Out
One of the most effective and cheapest ways to instantly reduce puffiness is to apply something cold over your eyes. Cold temperatures make your blood vessels contract which reduces blood flow and immediately reduces swelling and inflammation. It’s simple science.
Of course, you could place two teaspoons (taken straight out of the refrigerator), a couple of cucumber slices or even some cold, used teabags over each eye for 10 minutes. These will all do the job nicely. But, if you love to embrace beauty tools, you might want to try out some facial ice globes.
Ice globes are a little bit like jade rollers but, as their name suggests, they have balls on the ends and are designed to be kept in your fridge or freezer. They can be used over your entire face to minimize inflammation and puffiness, but they’re particularly awesome for the eye area as their globe-like shape makes them easy to negotiate around the orbital bone. Use them in the morning to help waken up tired, puffy eyes, but be sure not to press too hard as this could drag and damage your skin. A gentle touch is all you need.
3. Be A Better Sleeper
Puffy eyes can be the result of many things, but more often than not poor or not enough sleep are the major culprits. The exact science behind this is kind of hazy but a lack of sleep causes the skin around your eyes to become dry and irritated, so there’s that. It also dilates the blood vessels which increases blood retention, and increases your levels of cortisol which makes your skin retain water.
The answer is simple. Get. More. Sleep. The American Sleep Association recommends between seven and nine hours. Not only that, but try to optimize any shut-eye you do get by sleeping on your back with your head slightly raised. Sleeping on your back helps reduce friction and any consequent inflammation and irritation to your skin from your pillowcase, while keeping your head elevated reduces fluid retention.
4. Embrace In A Little Gua Sha Therapy
You may have seen gua sha crystals popping up on your Insta feeds over the last year or so, but this ancient Chinese therapy has been around for hundreds of years. Using flat, smooth crystals like jade or rose quartz to massage your skin, gua sha is known to help remove a build-up of lymphatic fluids from the face.
To specifically work on puffy eyes, you basically hold your crystal almost flat against cleansed skin, then sweep it under your eye and out to your temple area. Repeat this three or four times, then do the same thing on the other eye and finally repeat the whole process above each eye, working just underneath your brow area. For even better results, always apply eye cream first.
5. Drink More Water, Eat Less Salt
While drinking water doesn’t directly hydrate your skin, if your body is dehydrated it will hold on to all the fluid it can, making your eye bags ten times worse. This means it’s super important to drink plenty of fluids. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, a healthy adult female should consume around 2.7 liters of fluids every day, while men need around 3.7 liters. That may sound like a lot, but some of this will come from your food, with 80 percent being required from drinks like water, milk, juices and herbal teas. Still confused? Then go for eight glasses a day - it's much easier to remember!
One last thing before we go: try to reduce the amount of salt in your diet. Salt is just as dehydrating to your body as a lack of fluids because excess sodium causes it to retain water. This is bad news not only for puffy eyes, but for bloating as well, so decrease your salt intake, especially in the evenings. Fancy a cheeky packet of Cheetos before bed? Nope.
About Georgia Gould
Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.