Whether you’re going through a rough breakup, or you stayed up late sipping one too many cocktails, you probably just woke up with puffy eyes. Crying and lack of sleep are just a couple causes that impact the appearance of upper and lower eyelids. Genetics, fluid retention, allergies, sun exposure and poor diet can also play a role in the signs of bags under your eyes. That being said, if you want to learn how to get rid of puffy eyes, we’ve got you covered. Our eyes are the first thing people notice about us, so let’s get you on the road to looking as full of life as possible.
Say Bye to Puffy Eyes, So You Look Like You Got Beauty Rest
What Causes Puffy Eyes?
As we noted above, there are many contributors to what causes bags under eyes. This swollen look is often a result of the natural aging process, or due to buildup of fluid in the thin layers of skin and connective tissue surrounding your eyes.
As with anything related to our appearance, lifestyle must be taken into consideration. If you don’t get much sleep or exercise, and you eat poorly and/or drink alcohol frequently, you’re more susceptible to this occurring. Another factor? Salt, ugh. Unfortunately, eating that bag of chips (although amazing at the moment), can lead to fluid retention in your eyes, face and body.
In regards to alcohol, we recommend watching your water intake to help balance this out. Because hey, we’re not going to tell you to cut out your cocktails completely. When your body becomes dehydrated, it tries to store as much water as possible in survival mode. Unfortunately, it may not realize your version of survival mode might just be those cocktails after a long work week…
To help combat this body versus mind situation, try having a glass of water between cocktails to help keep you hydrated.
Similarly, if you don’t get at least seven hours of quality sleep, you have an increased chance of waking up with that fluid around your eyes. If you typically operate on a lower amount of sleep, try adding in an extra hour a couple times a week, and you’ll be sure to note a difference!
And while out of our control, allergies, too, can lead to inflammation and swelling around the eyes—thanks to the release of a chemical called histamine. So if you’ve ever heard of “antihistamine” in commercials, that’s referring to allergy medication that can help reduce these reactive signs, like Allegra and Zyrtec.
Another out-of-control factor here is nature – aka aging. You may notice your grandparents, for example, with bags under their eyes. It’s just something that accompanies life as you get older, but the good thing is that by taking proper care of yourself now (sleeping, hydrating, working out) you can prolong the time until you truly start seeing those signs appear.
Techniques to Reduce Puffy Eyes
All of our favorite tips + tricks to get rid of puffy under eyes – Because, you can’t hide out at home all day! It’s okay, we’ve got you covered.
Cold Spoon or Face Roller
No one wants to wake up with eyes that will barely open, but if you do, we’ve got the trick… And it’s as easy as going to your kitchen. One of our favorite hacks is grabbing two spoons and popping them in the freezer. Have a face roller at home? Even better – Stick it in the freezer the night before you head out, or stay up late binging TV, and you’ll feel prepared in the morning. Once they’re truly cold, put them on your eyes, or roll your face with your roller to help calm down the swelling. This helps to constrict the vessels around your eyes and therefore reduce inflammation in the area.
If you have a gua sha, it’s time to grab it next. However, if you’re at a loss for physical supplies, the simple touch of your fingers will do. Lightly tap and massage the pressure points on your inner eyes to encourage lymphatic drainage. Then, with your hands or gua sha, rub your eyes in a circular motion from the top eyelid, to around the outer corner of eye and back towards your inner eyelid. This will help to move extra fluid into those lymph nodes, so it drains from your face.
Also, ensure you use a light, feathery touch to the skin while doing this, so you don’t pass your lymphatic system by applying too much pressure into the skin. If you have face oil on hand, it will make the process more seamless and effective, and will avoid tugging on your skin.
Apply Tea Bags
Wait, tea bags? Yes, you read that correctly. It’s no secret that tea is generally great for your overall health, but did you know it can actually decrease puffiness, too? Caffeinated tea contains powerful antioxidants and can increase blood flow to your skin. Green tea, in particular, has been touted by researchers for its potential anti-inflammatory effects, as shown in a 2020 research review..
1. Steep two tea bags for 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Let the tea bags chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
3. Squeeze out extra liquid and apply it to your under-eye area.
4. Leave the tea bags on for 15 to 30 minutes.
Clear Your Sinuses
If you’re wondering how to get rid of bags under eyes, bet you never thought of clearing your sinuses out. But, hear us out… Some people actually swear that using a Neti Pot can help remove your under-eye bags and dark circles. A Neti Pot is a device you can get at any drugstore. It comes with a saline solution, so you can properly drain out your sinuses to remove mucus and other debris. Gross, yes, but effective.
As we mentioned with that bag of chips, if you’re trying to depuff, limiting your sodium intake can be a real solve. So, what does this mean for you? Swap processed foods (a la cured meats, cheese, bread and instant soups—we know, we know, sorry!) for more fruits, veggies and potassium-rich foods like bananas, yogurt, beans and leafy greens that actually prevents fluid buildup and swelling.
If there’s one thing we all struggle with, it’s sticking to a strict nighttime sleep regimen and actually getting a full 8 hours in our busy lives. If you’re working late hours, have kids, a busy social life (or maybe all of those), then you know how difficult it is to commit to a strict bedtime, especially one with no distractions.
But if you’re really looking to clock in those Zzzs (and get rid of puffy eyes), start by kicking caffeine to the curb at least six hours before bed. Also, try to have dinner 2-3 hours before bedtime to ensure proper digestion and get your body into rest mode. Also, finishing an exercise at least a couple of hours will also help your body switch from active to relaxation. The big difference? Put down electronic devices 30 minutes to an hour before bed (that means no Instagram, no texting), or even longer if possible. Plan your hours of sleep, so you can ensure a proper 7-9 hours of beauty rest.
Drink More Water
When in doubt, water is your way out! But seriously, have you noticed water seems to be the answer to everything? Sipping on H2O is one of the best ways to keep your body from stockpiling fluids and thereby eliminating puffiness. Aim to drink at least eight glasses (just a little shy of two liters) of water daily to keep your skin well-hydrated and your eyes looking alive.
Products to Reduce Puffy Eyes
If your lifestyle seems balanced and you’re still left wondering how to get rid of eye bags, you may want to turn to the professionals and opt for some physical aids.
Caffeine Eye Gels
Caffeine has been recognized as a hero ingredient among creams, gels and other products aimed at treating the eye area. Eye gels, in particular, are often developed with active ingredients like caffeine, licorice and other antioxidants that work to all depuff. Pro tip? Cool the gels before application. Try chilling your favorite caffeine-infused under-eye gels overnight, and apply them in the morning, while also sipping on espresso.
Unfortunately, our lymphatic drainage system under the eyes isn’t the most efficient for draining fluid, and it needs some assistance to kick the excess. As we mentioned, ice rollers or jade rollers are designed with under eyes in mind. Each tool has a different method for draining, but it’s relatively simple, quick and effective for each. Try using a stainless steel roller or gua sha to apply with a light face oil and gentle massage into the skin.
You’ve probably heard the word “antihistamines” float around during allergy season. These over-the-counter medications can reduce allergy-driven under-eye bags. So if you think this may be the cause, look into the following options with your doctor:
- diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- cetirizine (Zyrtec)
- loratadine (Claritin)
We’ve talked about retinol many times, praising the active for its high-level effectiveness. Retinol-based eye cream, though? Yes, that’s a thing and it helps. This Vitamin A derivative comes in cream, gel or liquid form to improve collagen deficiency and elasticity. It can generally be applied once a day, about a half an hour after washing your face. Special note: if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, skip retinol creams… For now.
Go Ahead, De-Puff Away!
The occasional bout with puffy eyes is pretty common for everyone, (thanks to fluid retention, allergies and skin aging), so don’t feel like you’re struggling alone. However, with the proper lifestyle changes and additions to your daily routines, you can work to reduce the look of puffy eyes, and reveal your true inner glow.