I despise those mornings when I wake up, stagger to the bathroom and stare in the mirror at some seriously puffy, tired eyes. Not a great way to start the day! If your under-eye bags and dark circles are dragging you down, give them a wake-up call with these simple, natural remedies.
What causes puffy eyes
The good news is that experts say eye puffiness is not necessarily a result of lack of sleep. The bad news is that your daily habits and even genetics are to blame. Fortunately, genetics accounts for only 20% so you actually have 80% control by modifying your habits into a healthy routine.
Eye puffiness is most often caused by under eye water retention, either excess water or a buildup of lymphatic fluid. Irritation and redness could be caused by rubbing, allergic reactions to makeup or something in our environments (allergies, pets, etc.)
How to prevent puffy eyes
Get gravity on your side by sleeping with your head elevated, and preferably on your back, to prevent excess fluid buildup.
Get an air purifier for your bedroom, and change your pillow case and wash your pillow often to reduce allergens. If your eyes are itchy, try not to rub them and take an antihistamine to help curb any redness or itchiness. Rubbing your eyes may lead to hyperpigmented dark circles – another problem – so definitely avoid that. If you think you might be sensitive to something in your eye makeup, try a simple mineral clay eyeshadow and switch to a nontoxic mascara.
Cut down on salt during the day and before bed. Extra salt = water retention. Drink plenty of water to keep your system flushed as this can also help prevent eye puffiness. Water itself will help remove toxins from the body but water displacement will cause puffiness.
Have your Thyroid Checked
If you notice upper eyelid puffiness, especially if it is associated with loss of the outer 1/3 of your eyebrow, you may have a low functioning thyroid.
12 Natural Remedies for Puffy Eyes
1. Cool cucumber
Cucumbers have been used for years and years as a home remedy for puffy eyes because of its detoxifying and diuretic properties. Cucumbers contain ascorbic acid, antioxidants and flavonoids that help with redness, swelling and irritation.
Use cool cucumber for extra puffy eye relief. Place a cool slice on your closed lids and take a rest for 15-30 minutes. Or try this cucumber rose eye mask blended to reach the inner and outer corners of the eyes. Afterward you’ll feel nice and refreshed.
2. Raw potato slices
Try using sliced potatoes in place of cucumbers. They stay cool longer and contain an astringent that helps remove the water from under the eyes. You can also make a finely ground potato poultice by grating raw potato and placing it in a few layers of cheesecloth. Lay over the eyes and reap the benefits.
Whole milk is most commonly used, but soy milk works too. Dip a cotton ball into cold milk and squeeze off the excess. Place on eyes to help shrink the under-eye tissue.
4. Green or black tea
Tea bags are another popular home remedy. Green and black teas contain caffeine which constrict the tiny blood vessels in the skin around the eyes. Caffeinated tea also contains tannins which stimulate blood circulation.
To make it work, place two tea bags in a mug of hot water. Remove and let the tea bags cool to room temperature and place on eyes for 15-30 minutes. Doing this once or twice a week can help tighten the skin under the eyes, as well as provide soothing benefits.
5. Chamomile tea
Chamomile tea doesn’t have caffeine but it does have significant anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Chamomile is used to treat maladies all over the body so no surprise that it also revives tired, puffy eyes and reduces redness. It can also provide relief for conjunctivitis and pink eye.
6. Egg whites
Beat up an egg white mask and apply it with a brush or your fingers under the eyes. As it dries, it will tighten and tone the skin. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes then gently rinse. It can also stimulate circulation and reduce inflammation. For a serious de-puffing eye treatment, puree an egg white, some cucumber and a tablespoon of rose water together. Dab under your eyes for cooling relief.
7. Aloe vera gel
It’s not just for burns! Aloe contains 18 essential amino acids and has numerous antibacterial, anti fungal and other healing properties. It can help soothe tired eyes by moisturizing the skin and providing relief. It might also help minimize wrinkles.
Rosewater contains vitamin C and A, as well as flavonoids. It is a natural astringent with anti-inflammatory properties. It is also incredibly rejuvenating and refreshing.
Simmer rose petals in just enough distilled water to cover them. When the petals have lost their color, strain the liquid and let it cool. Pour into a jar or bottle. Saturate a cotton ball with the rosewater and dab under eyes to reduce dark circles and refresh the skin.
9. Witch hazel
Witch hazel is a well-known astringent often used to reduce swelling and redness. Chilled witch hazel is extra refreshing. Apply a bit to a cotton pad or ball and let sit on closed eyes for 5 minutes for an instant refresh.
10. Cold water
Refresh your face with a cool water wash first thing in the morning. It will definitely wake you up! If your eyes feel extra puffy, dunk your face in ice water or dip a washcloth in cold water, squeeze out excess and lay over eyes. The cold water works as a vasocontrictor to restrict blood flow to the area, which in turns reduced redness and swelling.
11. Chilled spoons
If you’re not a fan of cold water, try putting spoons in the refrigerator and pulling two out in the morning and placing over eyes. It will produce the same effect as cold water. And while we’re at it, jelly teething rings are also great. :)
Erase late nights and tired eyes by adding a dose of coffee to your morning skincare routine. The caffeine in a homemade mask for puffy eyes acts as a diuretic to reduce swelling and puffiness. Whip a teaspoon or two of ground coffee into an egg white and apply under they eyes. Or try a coffee-infused eye cream. You’ll shrink both eye bags and fine lines.
What’s your favorite remedy for treating pesky puffy eyes?
Because so many of the ingredients used to treat tired eyes are ones commonly found in your kitchen or medicine cabinet, it’s easy to make your own masks and eye creams. Here are some of our favorite recipes:
When no DIY is in sight, you can try our recommendations for creams and serums below: