How to Get Rid of Puffy Eyes Fast
Puffy eyes make you look tired and older, not to mention they can be dry and irritating. They’re also pretty common, and pretty much everyone is going to wake up with puffy eyes at least once in their lives. In this guide, we’re exploring what causes puffy eyes, explaining how to get rid of them fast with eye care products and offering tips for preventing puffy eyes in the first place.
What Causes Puffy Eyes?
First of all, we want to clarify that puffy eyes are different from dark-colored under-eye bags, although they can occur at the same time. Having dark patches below your eyes is mostly caused by genetics, and may persist even after you relieve your puffiness.
Puffy eyes are also different from swollen eyes, which are usually a sign of allergies, colds or another medical condition, and are often accompanied by itching and involuntary watering of the eyes. Swollen eyes are treated by addressing the underlying condition. While trying to directly reduce the swelling of your eyes may temporarily relieve your symptoms, if your eyes are swollen instead of puffy, eye swelling won’t completely go away until you address whatever is causing it.
If you’ve determined that you truly have puffy eyes, there are multiple factors that could be causing them. The most common is crying, which irritates the eye area and dehydrates it, resulting in a puffy appearance. Even if you don’t cry, holding back tears can also cause the eye area to appear puffy.
Many people also experience puffy eyes upon first waking up in the morning because the lack of blinking all night has caused fluid to gather around the eye area, which can contribute to a feeling of puffiness. Paradoxically, lack of sleep can also result in puffy eyes because sleep deprivation causes the retention of blood and other fluids in that area specifically.
Eating too much sodium can lead to fluid retention in any part of the body, which also includes puffy eyes. Usually, this will be accompanied by swelling in other parts of the body as well, but not always.
Finally, physical changes due to aging can lead to the appearance of puffy eyes. That’s because as we age, the fat deposits around our eyes begin to break down and the collagen in our skin is not replenished at the same rate. This causes the fat around the eye to move out of place and the skin around the eye to sag. This can sometimes result in a puffy or baggy appearance around the eye area.
How to Get Rid of Puffy Eyes Fast
Woke up with puffy eyes and need to make them go away — fast? Here are five strategies that can make your puffy eyes look better quickly.
Apply a cold compress.
The best way to reduce any kind of swelling fast, including eye puffiness, is to apply some sort of cold compress to the area. There are many different options for this, from the classic ice cube to a cold wash rag to a spoon that has been frozen for a couple of minutes. If you often experience puffy eyes, then you might want to invest in some eye Joe packs or another dedicated item that you can keep in your freezer for regular use. Be sure to sanitize these items before placing them on your face to avoid accidentally transferring germs and bacteria to your eye area, which can potentially lead to infection and make the swelling worse.
Use an eye product with caffeine.
When used in skincare products, caffeine acts as a vasoconstrictor, which means that it will temporarily tighten up blood vessels and reduce the appearance of puffiness and swelling. Some DIY home treatments seek to harness the power of caffeine by placing black teabags directly on the eye area — but you’ll have better results if you choose an eye cream for puffy eyes that contains caffeine instead. Carefully dab the eye cream on the affected area, being careful not to actually get it in your eye. The effect won’t last forever, but it is a great way to temporarily reduce your puffiness and make your face look more awake.
Give yourself a facial massage.
Massage helps stimulate blood flow and reduce fluid retention. Giving your face a gentle massage is a great way to reduce eye puffiness. For best results, first, moisturize the area using a fragrance-free lotion or an eye cream specifically designed for the eye area. Then, using the tips of your fingers, gently massage the swollen area to help stimulate blood flow and reduce swelling. Be extremely gentle with your movements and keep your fingers away from your eyeball. Always wash your hands before touching your face — especially before getting close to your eye area — to prevent infection.
Treat your allergies.
If allergies are contributing to your puffy eyes at all, then treating those allergies will be the fastest way to get rid of your puffy eyes. In many cases, taking an over-the-counter allergy product such as an antihistamine will quickly (though temporarily) treat your symptoms, including puffy eyes. If your allergies are not responsive to over-the-counter treatments, then you may need to seek help from an allergist or other medical expert who can prescribe you a stronger treatment that will help alleviate your allergies, puffy eyes and other related symptoms.
Check your skincare products.
The area around your eyes is extremely sensitive and may react to skincare products that work well for the rest of your face. Your eyes are especially sensitive to fragrance, alcohol, acids and other potentially irritating ingredients. That’s why it’s always a good idea to use products specifically formulated for puffy eyes and be careful about applying other facial products directly to the eye area. If you have been doing that recently, check the ingredient list on those skincare products to see if they include any potentially sensitizing ingredients. If they do, that could be why you have been struggling with puffy eyes. Consider switching to eye care products that are meant to be used in that area.
How to Prevent Puffy Eyes
Puffy eyes often have underlying causes that can’t be treated in just a few minutes. Here are seven lifestyle changes that will help reduce your chances of waking up with puffy eyes.
Get enough sleep.
We know that this is easier said than done, but getting enough sleep really is one of the best ways to both treat and prevent puffy eyes. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, and some people need even more depending on their individual circumstances. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, try making some changes to your nighttime routine, such as staying away from screens for an hour before bed and making sure to sleep in a completely dark room. Taking melatonin in the short term can help you fall and stay asleep. But it isn’t a long-term solution, so you shouldn’t rely on it indefinitely.
Rethink your sleep position.
If you are getting enough sleep, but still waking up with puffy eyes, then your sleep position might be to blame. If you are a side or stomach sleeper, then you press at least one side of your face into the pillow all night, which can lead to puffiness and swelling, including around the area. Try sleeping on your back without pressing your face to the pillow. You might also want to try slightly elevating your head by sleeping on two pillows stacked on top of each other, which will discourage fluid from draining toward your face and potentially cause a swollen appearance when you first wake up in the morning.
Remove your makeup before sleep.
If you’re not very dedicated about removing your makeup before you sleep, that could also be contributing to your puffy eyes first thing in the morning. Makeup can be very irritating if it gets directly in your eye, and when you sleep, you move around which can cause it to transfer from your face to the pillow and back again. Make it a priority to completely remove your makeup before getting in bed each night, and change your pillowcase often to boot — at least once a week. If you tend to get back late, try keeping some makeup wipes on your nightstand right next to your bed so you don’t have to worry about washing your face in a pinch.
Wearing sunscreen every day is one of the best ways to prevent age-related skin changes — and that includes puffy eyes. This is because constant exposure to UV rays can hasten the creation of wrinkles and sagging of skin, which contribute to the appearance of puffy eyes. Choose a sunscreen that has at least SPF 30 protection, apply it every day and reapply it every two hours when out in the sun. Be cautious of sunscreens that are high in alcohol, fragrance and other potentially irritating ingredients. If your eyes are extremely sensitive to sunscreen, try a mineral sunscreen, which tends to be less irritating than a chemical sunscreen. Don’t skip putting sunscreen on your eye area though. The skin around your eye is the most delicate of your entire face and will be one of the first areas to start wrinkling.
If you are dehydrated, then your body will retain fluid, which can cause swelling in many different areas of the body, including your eyes. Most people need somewhere between three and four liters of water a day, and some individuals may need more if they sweat a lot. Try to drink at least that much each day. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, you can freeze it with fruits and vegetables to make it taste more exciting without adding sugar or sodium. Be careful of beverages such as caffeine and alcohol that contribute to dehydration. More on alcohol in a later section.
Watch your sodium intake.
Eating too much sodium can cause your body to retain water in an effort to balance it out. Sodium does not only come from table salt but it is also present in many different foods — especially prepackaged foods. If you suspect that your diet is high in sodium, watch how much salt you’re adding to your meals and also check the nutrition labels on your food to see how much sodium they contain. You might be surprised to see that even foods that do not taste salty can actually contain very high levels of sodium. Finding lower sodium substitutes will help to lower your levels and encourage your body to retain less water.
Drink less alcohol.
We love a good cocktail as much as the next person, but, unfortunately, alcohol contributes to dehydration, which in turn can cause your body to retain fluid in both the eye area and the rest of your body. Alcohol also disturbs your sleep cycle, making it harder to both fall and stay asleep and further contributing to puffy eyes. Try to make alcohol drinks an occasional indulgence instead of a regular habit, and don’t be surprised if your eyes start looking less puffy as you start drinking less.
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