What Causes Puffy Eyes (And How To Treat Them)?

by Gio
how to treat and prevent puffy eyes

Do you wake up with puffy eyes, too?

Every time I look in the mirror in the morning, there they are, staring back at me. Why the heck is this happening?! It’s like a curse, I tell you.

One I’m determined to break. Are you with me?

Great. Let’s start by finding what causes puffy eyes so we can finally get rid of them… and not a moment too soon!

Puffy Eyes Cause #1: Lymph Buildup

Lymph is a fluid that circulates through your body’s lymphatic system. On its journey, it picks up all kinds of unwanted stuff  (think bacteria and fats) and gets rid of it so it won’t cause infections or anything nasty.

Problem is, sometimes, this lymph gets stuck and starts to build up. Hello, puffiness!

Usually, gently massaging the eye area is enough to get the circulation going again. I pick up a bit of eye cream (because, why not go the extra mile and hydrate skin, too, while you’re at it?), and start from the outer corner, moving inwards.

This movement follows the natural direction of the lymph flow. Going in the opposite direction just doesn’t work!

P.S. You can use your face moisturiser for this step, too. It doesn’t need to be labelled “Eye” cream.

Best Picks:

Related: What Are The Best Eye Creams And Serums?

Puffy Eyes Cause #2: Bad Sleeping Position

Are you blaming puffiness on lack of sleep? That plays a part – a very small one.

What really causes puffy eyes is the position you sleep in. Sleeping flat or on your belly cause lymph buildup. You know where that leads, right?

If you sleep on your belly, stop right now! Do you like to sleep on your back or tummy? Keep doing it. But get an extra pillow. Sleeping with your head up helps the lymph flow as it should.

Puffy Eyes Cause #3: Too Much Salt (And Alcohol)

Don’t worry, I’m not gonna tell you to give up salt. Can you imagine how bland food would taste without it? Just don’t go overboard. Too much salt makes your eyes all puffy.

P.S. Too much alcohol has the same effect. 🙁

Use salt in moderation and drink as little alcohol as you can. I know, boring. But, it works.

Related: I Went On The Low Glycemic Diet And It Transformed My Skin

Puffy Eyes Cause #4: Allergies

If you’re prone to allergies, you know this all too well. They can make your eyes swell up like crazy (among so many other unpleasant things.)

Avoid the trigger, and see a doctor to get the appropriate meds, if needed.

Related: Is Skin Irritation Or Allergy?

Puffy Eyes Cause #5: Genetics

Sometimes, your eyes are simply naturally puffy. Or, they become so as we age.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but, if your eyes are naturally puffy, there really isn’t anything you can do to make the puffiness disappear…

But you can make them look less puffy. Keep reading to find out how.

How To Make Puffy Eyes Look Less Puffy

Now you know the cause of your puffy eyes, you can now prevent them. Yay!

But, what if your eyes are already puffy? Here’s how to reduce the puffiness:

1. Tea Bags, Cucumbers, & Compresses

Turns out, our grannies knew a thing or two about getting rid of puffy eyes. Their trusted old remedies, like tea bags and cucumber slices, can really help reduce the puffiness fairly quickly.

FYI, there’s nothing special about cucumber & co. It’s their coolness that does the trick and reduces puffiness.

If you prefer a more modern version, buy some gel pads, keep them in the fridge, and apply them whenever you need them. It’s more expensive, but, it works, too.

Want more DIY skincare tips? Subscribe to the newsletter below to receive the “5 DIY Skincare Hacks That Really Work”:

2. Thick Cat Eyes

This is a trick I’ve recently picked up from one of my fave bloggers, Karen of Makeup And Beauty Blog. When your eyes are puffy and you don’t have time to put anything on them to take down the swelling, draw a thick cat line on the upper lash line. This dramatic look helps draw attention away from the puffiness. Thanks, Karen!

How do you prevent and treat puffy eyes? Share your tips in the comments below.



Connie April 20, 2010 - 12:36 pm

Those are helpful tips! Tea bags help reduce swelling when I have a sty. For puffy eyes I use a cold spoon (refrigerated)
.-= Connie´s last blog ..Short Hiatus =-.

Tavia April 20, 2010 - 3:19 pm

This photo really made me laugh but I guess tea bags can be a solution. I have a gel mask with a blue liquid inside that I keep in the fridge and try to use it when I need it, but I guess I only used it 1 or 2 times. My mother uses more often. :))
.-= Tavia´s last blog ..Smashbox Naked Beauty Collection for Summer 2010 – Preview, Photos, Swatches =-.

All Women Stalker April 20, 2010 - 7:42 pm

The teabag remedy is awesome. Works for sties, too.

beautifulwithbrains April 20, 2010 - 8:15 pm

Connie, I use tea bags for sties too, they’re very helpful 🙂

beautifulwithbrains April 20, 2010 - 8:21 pm

Tavia, I thought the photo was funny too and appropriate as well. I love those gel masks but I haven’t used them in a while. I tend to use tea bags or cucumber slices cos I’m lazy and I already have them at home. But I’m glad to hear you don’t need to use them often, lucky you. 🙂

beautifulwithbrains April 20, 2010 - 8:23 pm

All Women Stalker, it really does. I’m glad tea bags work well for you too. 🙂

Nikki April 21, 2010 - 12:38 am

*sigh* I need to do all those!!! I have puffy eyes! Thanks for this post
.-= Nikki´s last blog ..Nail Art Tutorial: "A Splash of Color" Nails =-.

beautifulwithbrains April 21, 2010 - 12:24 pm

Nikki, I feel your pain! I hope these tips help hun 🙂

Mylanqolia April 21, 2010 - 7:58 pm

Oh yeah, I have this syptom when I have the typical “lady’s malady”. The only way that helps is a massage and tea bags (thank God, I love to drink tea). Besides, my glasses hide this annoying blemish, so I can cope with it. But hon, I’d love to see a bold cat eye look on you someday. *yeah, I’m a pain in the neck sometimes* XOX
.-= Mylanqolia´s last blog ..I feel like a millionaire or My Sleek Make Up prize =-.

beautifulwithbrains April 22, 2010 - 11:02 am

Mylanqolia, I’m sorry to hear that, it must be a real pain. But I’m glad you found something that helps. 🙂

And you’re not a pain the neck! I like it that you encourage me to try new things, it makes me become better at applying makeup, esp eyeliner which is something I only started to use this past year. I’m not sure how a bold cat eye will look on me since I have small eyes but I’m always willing to try something new, you never know. I have a couple of requests to fulfill first (one of which I’ll post tomorrow and it’s a look with a pink eyeliner) but I’ll get working on it as soon as possible so stay tuned. 🙂

Pamela October 4, 2010 - 2:03 pm

My eye doctor recommended Prep-H ointment. In the past, I tried it in the morning with little immediate effect. He told me to use it at night before bed. It made a HUGE difference! Now I use it whenever I need to look fresh in the moring. (PS…LOVE your website!)

beautifulwithbrains October 5, 2010 - 12:51 pm

Pamela, thank you for your recommendation. I’m glad you’re getting such great results with this ointment. 🙂

NGaire July 6, 2013 - 7:26 pm

Isn’t the Prep-H a haemharroid cream?

beautifulwithbrains July 7, 2013 - 10:35 am

Ngaire, yes, it is. I know that some people use it for puffy eyes but I haven’t tried it myself so I can’t personally vouch for its efficacy.

angelalouise_ January 31, 2011 - 12:51 am

Im turning 14, i kinda do have a badd diett but im eating healthy now and drinking the right amount of water i excercise about 5 times a week. and im pretty healthy. But every morning i wake up and have puffy eyes and there small it makes me look tired messy and ugly. its pretty annoying so ive tried everything cold things cucumber but it makes it a whole lot worse im sick of it any more tips 😕

beautifulwithbrains January 31, 2011 - 9:01 pm

angelalouise_, if your eyes are always puffy even if you exercise, eat healthy and sleep well at night then you might be allergic to something. It would be best to visit an optician to know if an allergy or irritation can be the cause. Hope this helps.

Dave Miller October 12, 2012 - 1:48 pm

Proper diet, enough sleep and relaxation exercises will definitely lead you to a healthy lifestyle and I think this page is a must shared information because I believe I am not the only one looking for this kind of stuff.

beautifulwithbrains October 12, 2012 - 8:25 pm

Dave, thank you and I agree with your tips!

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