What Causes Puffy Eyes, Tips to Visibly Reduce

What Causes Puffy Eyes, Tips to Visibly Reduce

Haven’t we all looked in the mirror at some point and thought, “OMG! Why are my eyes so puffy?” On occasion, we can somehow end up with what look like little pillows under our peepers, and usually we can’t quite figure out how they got that way. That’s why, in this article, we’ll discuss what causes puffy eyes, how to help prevent puffy eyes, and how to reduce the appearance of puffy eyes. With a little attention, your eyes will go from pillows to perfect!


Main Takeaways: Puffy eyes can be caused by everything from heredity to lifestyle. The trick to getting rid of them is figuring out what’s causing yours.

Good to Know: A few little lifestyle changes supplemented by a great eye cream can drastically reduce the appearance of puffy eyes.

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What Causes Puffy Eyes

Lack of sleep - We’ve all woken up after an all-nighter, a bachelorette party that went on a little too long, or just a restless night of sleep to find our poor eyes have paid the price for our sleeplessness. For some of us, a lousy night of sleep is pretty much a guarantee that we’ll be dealing with puffiness the next day!

Allergies - Those of us who have allergies are well acquainted with puffy eyes, and there is almost nothing that won’t trigger this: hay fever, dogs, cats, dust, pollen, perfume, mold, dust mites, certain foods, detergents--you name it, if you have allergies, you most likely have experienced puffy eyes.

Why is this? Well, to make a long story short, your eyes are basically trying to fight the allergens and stop them from irritating you. As a result, your eyes react by getting puffy and even watery.

Alcohol - Let’s face it: alcohol just isn’t good for the skin and one of the biggest problems it causes is puffy eyes. Because it robs your skin of water, alcohol causes your body to try to compensate by retaining it. Thus, you end up with puffy eyes.

Not taking off your makeup - We all know we need to take off our make-up each night as part of our skin care routine, but even the most conscientious of us forgets from time to time. When we do, everything from mascara to eyeliner to eyelash glue gets lodged in our eyes, making them puff up like nobody’s business.

Medication - If you usually don’t have puffy eyes but you suddenly find yourself dealing with them, it may be because of a medication you’re taking. If this happens to you, make sure to check with your doctor (rather than just stopping the meds) to see if an adjustment can be made or if they think it’s just a matter of getting used to a new script.

Age - We hate to say it, but like just about everything skin related, age plays a huge part in how our eyes look, especially if you’ve engaged in unhealthy lifestyle habits. And as strange as it sounds, fat and muscle in your eyes move and become weaker as you age, which can cause your eyes to look puffy.

Diet - It really is amazing how diet affects our skin and puffy eyes are no exception. Eating foods that are particularly high in salt like fast food, smoked or cured meats, canned foods, etc, will definitely make you more susceptible to puffy eyes. Also, for some of us, eating dairy is a sure-fire way to end up with super-puffy eyes!

Genes - Heredity is just one of those factors we can’t control and it has a lot to do with whether or not we are prone to undereye bags and puffiness. If your parents or grandparents have puffy eyes, it might be an indication that at some point, you will, too.

Smoking - If anything good comes from smoking, we have no clue what it could be and puffy eyes are just one more reason to stop. Nicotine can cause eyes to become puffy (not to mention that it also causes major bags), and if that isn’t reason enough to get you to stop, consider this: smoking can even cause vision problems over time.

Crying - Yes, the next time you see a sad movie, experience a break-up, or just feel stressed out, don’t be surprised if you experience a little puffiness. Crying is a big culprit when it comes to eye puffiness!

How To Help Prevent Puffy Eyes

Although we can’t do anything about heredity or, sometimes, even our emotions, we can lower our chances of getting puffy eyes with a few little lifestyle changes. Here are a few ideas about ways to stop or at least tame your puffy eyes!

Get more sleep - You would be shocked at what just a little extra sleep does for your appearance! If you’re not a great sleeper, don’t try to go from four to eight hours a night. Just make it a goal to get, say, one more hour of sleep a night and see if you notice a change in your eyes.

Cut down your alcohol consumption - Again, you might not necessarily need a full lifestyle change to stop alcohol from affecting the way your eyes look. Just cutting down a bit will most likely yield change!

Increase your water intake - Just an extra glass or two a day will help reduce the appearance of puffy eyes!

Take off your eye make-up every night, without fail - When you think about it, this really isn’t that big a deal, it’s just that when it’s time to do it, we’re usually too tired. A good trick is to take off your makeup as soon as you get home instead of waiting until bedtime.

Change your diet - If you’ve never made diet modifications before, we think you’ll be happy to find that even changing one or two problem foods could drastically help get rid of your eye puffiness. Dairy, gluten and sugar are few of those problem foods that are common in many people’s diets.

Quit smoking - Getting rid of puffy eyes is just one of the many reasons you should stop smoking- but if that’s what’s really bothering you, then why not use it as an incentive? You’ll feel better, you’ll look better, and you can spend that money on something fun!

How To Reduce the Appearance Of Puffy Eyes

Now that we’ve discussed what causes puffy eyes and how to prevent them, let’s chat a little bit about how to reduce their appearance once you’ve got them!

  1. Use a really great eye cream - Even if you’re never used eye cream before, an eye cream like our Eyes Eyes Baby vegan anti-aging eye cream, is a great way to help reduce puffiness! Meant to illuminate the eye area and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, it will also get to work on your puffiness! And remember, you don’t have to wait until you have puffy eyes to use this--you can use this preventively as well!
  2. Get a hold of some spoons - It seems simplistic, but if you just need a little immediate help, run spoons under cold water and press the convex side to your eye. Give it just a minute, and we think you’ll see that puffiness subside pretty quickly.
  3. Buy some cucumbers - There’s a good reason spas use cucumbers on your eyes--they actually do help reduce puffiness so if your eyes are swelling a bit, try cutting a few up and placing them over your eyes when closed. Take this time out to relax for several minutes while the cucumbers do their trick!

We hope this gives you an eye-opening view (literally and figuratively!) about what causes puffy eyes and what to do once you’ve got them!