Puffy eyes are the bane of most women's existence. No one wants puffy eyes! The culprit? Could be anything. Too much salt the day before. Too little sleep. Who knows? For one reason or another, you wake up to find you have puffy eyes... and you want to get rid of them.
Puffy eyelids make you look tired and old. While they are usually temporary, they may last days or even weeks. If you are sick or puffy eyes result from irritation, you may find your eyes persistently take on a marshmallow like appearance. What can you do? First and foremost, don't fret! Let's look at the puffy eyes phenomena more in detail to figure out what we can to do help.
Puffy Eyes Causes
What causes puffy eyes? There are all manner of insidious reasons people develop puffy eye syndrome. Here are some typical causes for puffy eyes:
Fluctuating hormone levels, increasing the likelihood your body will retain fluid around the thin skin underneath your eyes.
Edema or fluid retention throughout the body. Some causes for this include illness, inflammation and fatigue. Pregnancy also causes increasing edema in women.
Dehydration, whether from drinking too little water or from a hangover. Either way, the only cure is more water.
Puffiness resulting from medication use.
Heredity (yes, your genes can influence your susceptibility to puffy eyes!).
Allergies, which may also result in itchiness and redness of the eyes and surrounding tissue.
Because the skin underneath our eyes is so delicate, there are almost too many causes to list. Your best bet in the fight against puff? Treat your eyes like queens. That means getting plenty of rest, and avoiding excessive irritants. Consider the skin around your eyes as you would the skin of a newborn baby, and you'll go a long way toward combating under eye puffiness. Let's learn more about eye puffiness...
Signs and Symptoms
What are some of the more common signs and symptoms of puffy eye syndrome? Here are just a few:
Swelling under the eyes or around the eyes and eyelid.
Bags or excessive skin under the eyes that appears to puff out or hang.
Itchy, red or irritated eyes.
Inability to open or close eyes completely due to puffiness.
Dark circles accompanied by sagging skin under the eyes.
How one defines puffy eyes really depends on the person. For some a slight discoloration in the early morning is enough to qualify for puffy eye syndrome. For others, puffy eyes are described only when giant water sacks hang from beneath their peepers. You know best how to quantify your eyes and thus are the best judge of whether you suffer from puffy eye syndrome.
Reducing Puffy Eye Syndrome
Fortunately, you don't have to live with puffy eye syndrome. In fact, if you have puffy eyes because you retain fluid, the simplest way to reduce puffiness is by drinking more water. There are other tips you can follow to help relieve puffy eyes depending on the cause. Here are a few:
Try applying some hemorrhoid cream under the thin skin of the eye. This cream contains anti-inflammatory agents that can help alleviate puffy eyes.
Gently tap your skin where puffy, as this can encourage fluid build up to release and drain more easily.
Apply cold compresses to your eyes. Many stores and boutiques sell gel filled eye packs. Stick them in the freezer for a few minutes and apply to your eyes.
Grate some potatoes or place cucumber wedges on your eyes, and lay down for 10 minutes. This may help reduce swelling and help brighten your skin.
Soak a cloth or some nursing pads in cold milk and apply over your eyes for 10 minutes. This will help reduce puffiness and, like above, help brighten dark circles under your eyes.
Drink water until you feel like a water fountain. When you are retaining fluid, you simply can't drink enough water to reduce puffiness. Also avoid beverages with lots of caffeine and bubbly beverages including soda, as these can contribute to edema.
Avoid artificial sweeteners, as these can cause your body to retain more fluid.
Be sure you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep at night, because too little sleep will lead to dark circles and puffiness.
Try an ordinary ice pack. The cold temperature may help reduce swelling.
Always wear UV sunglasses during the day. Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside, even on cloudy days. Excessive exposure to the sun or unexpected sunburns often contributes to puffy eyes and leave you feeling bloated the next day.
Avoid overly windy conditions. Wear glasses or goggles to help protect your eyes and act as a buffer against intense environmental conditions.
What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation, whether localized or systemic, can also contribute to excessive bloating and edema. Inflammation involves a reaction of tissues to irritation, infection or even injury. Your eyes may swell up for example, in response to an accidental bump. This inflammatory response is best-controlled using ice and rest.
Signs you may be suffering from systemic inflammation include pain, swelling or fluid retention in the eyes, in your joints or throughout your body. This may result from an illness or autoimmune disorder, from too little sleep, from chronic stress or from various other factors. An allergic response can sometimes trigger inflammation.
If you are concerned you may be experiencing systemic inflammation, you should visit your health care provider to rule out disease or illness.
Many medications help control inflammation. An example includes NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents). If inflammation results from allergens, an antihistamine like benadryl may help reduce inflammation. Be sure you consult with your doctor before you self-prescribe any medication for your eyes.
Dietary Changes To Help Improve Vision And Reduce Inflammation
There are also dietary changes you can take to help improve your vision and reduce the likelihood of puffy eyes. Remember we are all a reflection of what we eat. Eat too much sodium during the day and you'll likely suffer from puffy eye syndrome the next day. Most people consume far too much sodium, as much as 5,000mg each day. Interestingly, most people should get no more than 2,500mg of sodium every day.
Eating extra essential fatty acids, including those found in flax seed or fatty fish, can also help combat puffy eye syndrome. Essential fatty acids are important for reducing inflammation throughout the body, so eat up. If you can't get enough fatty acids from your diet, try supplementing with 1,000-5,000IU every day.
Certain foods contribute to inflammation and can make puffy eyes worse. These include:
Processed foods - Processed foods contain high levels of sodium, unhealthy saturated fats and chemicals including gluten than may contribute to inflammation. Over time consumption of too many processed foods can leave the body sluggish and unable to eliminate waste efficiently. This can contribute to inflammation and puffy eyes.
Potatoes, Tomatoes and Eggplant - While most fruits and vegetables contain fiber and are touted for their health benefits, members of the nightshade family including potatoes and tomatoes may contribute to puffy eyes and inflammation. If you experience chronic inflammation reduce your dietary intake of these vegetables.
To help reduce inflammation, it also pays to stay away from eating too much red meat and deep fried foods. Instead of eating processed foods, adopt a diet that includes more green leafy vegetables and other produce with high water content (like water melons, oranges and apples). These will all help combat dehydration and eye puffiness.
Last but certainly not least, if you are prone to under eye puffiness stay away from heavy creams or under eye make up that can cake up and irritate your eyes. Instead of concealer simply apply a small dab of hemorrhoid cream until the puffiness subsides. This will help reduce irritation and help your eyes return to their normal, non-puffy state much faster!