Puffiness is a wonderful thing went it comes to marshmallows and duvet covers. But eyes? Not so much. Many of us unfortunately wake up to puffy bags under our eyes. Chalk it up to hormones, stress and too many late nights as well as good old genetics.
Related: Best Eye Creams for Under Eye Bags
There’s no one single cause of under eye bags, which affect both men and women, but some of the most common ones are due to lack of sleep, salty foods and stress – and of course a good cry. Age is also a factor. As we get older, collagen production and blood flow decreases, which can lead to puffiness under the eyes. People with olive skin are more likely to have bags under their eyes, and there’s also a genetic component. If your parents have them, you might too. Lifestyle choices also factor in. If you smoke, drink excess alcohol and spend too much time in the sun, it can show up as puffiness under the eye. Allergies and intolerances, such as wheat intolerance, can also show up as puffy eyes.
The skin under the eye is also the thinnest and most sensitive in the body, so treat it accordingly. The eye area shouldn’t be an afterthought in your beauty routine. Apply all products, including eye creams and makeup, with a gentle tap and press motion and never rub or tug on the skin. Use your pinkie, which is the most gentle and avoid stretching the skin, or a soft makeup brush when applying powders.
Nobody likes the look of puffy eyes but there are plenty of ways to get rid of them, including home remedies and the right cream so you don’t have to resort to surgery. While a tube of eye cream cannot replace a good night’s sleep, there are plenty of ways to depuff eyes and improve their appearance. Here’s how to get rid of undereye bags and prevent them from happening again. Consider your bags packed.
1) Apply Chilled Tea Bags
Tea is wonderful as an afternoon pick-me-up but it can also help depuff eyes. The caffeine in tea is a powerful antioxidant that can help shrink undereye bags by increasing blood flow to the area. Green and black teas have the highest levels of caffeine. Start by steeping two bags and then let them chill in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. Squeeze out the extra liquid and then apply the bags to the eye area. Let the bags sit for about 15-20 minutes.
2) Eye Massage
To break it down simply, puffy eyes are caused by a buildup of fluid in the eye area so draining the fluid is one way to shrink the bags. Use your fingertips to gently pat and tap on the area, starting from the upper lid to the inner and then outer corners. Another way to do this is with a beauty roller, where the stones are often made from jade or quartz. Use the smaller stone and gently roll it under the eye in an outward motion to encourage blood flow. Keep your beauty roller in the fridge for extra cooling.
3) Cold Compress
Applying something cold to the eye area can help depuff by restricting the blood vessels. You can buy a compress at the store but there are many household items that can do the trick. Cold cucumber slices and chilled teaspoons will work, while some people prefer a raw, sliced potato. In a pinch, try a chilled washcloth or even a bag of frozen veggies. If you’re using a frozen item, try to wrap it in a cloth so it isn’t too cold against the skin.
4) Switch Up Your Sleep Position
How you sleep can affect everything from wrinkles to bags under the eyes. If you sleep on your side (and favor one particular side,) gravity may be working against you to collect fluid under your eyes. Try to sleep on your back. A special pillow that keeps your body in place can help.
5) Take An Antihistamine
Allergies, especially seasonal allergies, can wreak havoc on eyes and cause puffy bags to form, as well as dark circles. Try an over the counter antihistamine but it’s also a good idea to speak to a doctor if your allergies are severe.
6) Ice, Ice, Baby
Another natural remedy that is easy to have on hand is to make your own batch of green-tea ice cubes. Brew a few cups of green tea and once it has cooled, pour it into ice cube trays and freeze. Pop out a green cube as needed to soothe and depuff eyes.
7) Cut Back on Alcohol
A glass of wine is good for you, but don’t overdo it with alcohol. Moderation is key, as too much alcohol can cause everything from dehydration to puffiness in the eye area. If you do indulge too much, drink plenty of water before going to sleep.
8) Aloe Vera To The Rescue
Aloe vera is known for its skin soothing properties and is one of the best ways to treat sun and wind burnt skin. Keep a bottle stashed in your freezer when you need to depuff in a hurry. Let the bottle sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before squeezing a few drops out. Gently massage the gel into the eye area and massage to help reduce swelling.
9) Flush Out Your Sinuses
If you don’t like to take antihistamine and you think your puffy bags are caused by allergies, consider using a neti pot to flush out the sinuses. Don’t know what a neti pot is? It’s a vessel that resembles a tea pot. Fill it with a saline solution, pour it into one nostril and let it drain out the other. The theory is that it removes mucus and other debris that could potentially cause allergies leading to puffy eyes.
10) Essential Oils
Another natural remedy to combat puff eyes is essential oils. Many of them, including rosemary, fennel and lavender, can help deflate under eye bags. Mix a few drops of the essential oil with a base like coconut oil and gently massage into the eye area.
11) Soy Milk
If you love soy milk in your morning cappuccino, save a little bit to tackle puffy eyes. Soy milk contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients, and is all natural so it won’t irritate the skin. Add a few drops of soy milk to a cotton ball and gently press it along the eye area to de-puff and manage swelling.
12) Drink Up
Our bodies are made up of about 60 percent water, and if you’re dehydrated or out of balance, this can show up in your eyes. Keep your body well hydrated by drinking 8-10 eight ounce glasses of water a day. If you don’t love water, keep in mind that fluids such as teas also count towards your daily intake, or try a sparkling water with a slice of lemon.
13) Patch Test
Move over, sheet masks. One of the most popular beauty routines to share on Instagram are under eye patches. These crescent shaped pads are soaked with good for you ingredients to help depuff tired eyes, and give them an instant (although temporary) lift. The pads contain everything from caffeine and hyaluronic acid to 24-karat gold.
14) Hold The Salt
As much as we all love salty, crunchy foods, it’s important to watch your salt intake. Too much salt can show up exactly where you don’t want it- such as under your eyes. So hold the salt, and try to prepare your own food as much as possible so that you control how much salt, sugar and fat is in it.
15) Load Up On Vitamin C
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but an orange a day may also keep the bags away. Loading up on vitamin C rich foods, which include citrus fruits (oranges, strawberries, kiwis) as well as some vegetables (broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage) can help your body produce collagen. Collagen is a protein that keeps skin hydrated and healthy- including the skin under your eyes.
16) Remove Your Eye Makeup
We shouldn’t have to remind you but it’s worth repeating to always, always remove your makeup before going to bed. That also includes eye makeup. If you go to sleep with mascara and eyeliner, it can lead to waking up with puffy, gunky eyes. Buy a good, oil free makeup remover and a stack of cotton pads (or cotton buds) and remember to remove makeup gently without pulling on the delicate eye skin.
17) Dab On Concealer
If you can’t make it, fake it – at least when it comes to minimizing the appearance of under eye bags. A good under eye concealer can help reduce the appearance of puffiness, and also work to shrink them if they contain puff zapping ingredients such as caffeine. Apply the concealer lightly to avoid creasing and set it with a pressed powder so it has staying power. Some concealers contain light diffusing particles to help “blur” this area. A serum concealer is one of the lightest formulas available.
18) Apply The Right Eye Cream
The right eye cream can be the difference between a puffy eye or not. When picking a formula, look for one packed with antioxidants and moisturizers to nourish the area, as well as de-puffing ingredients such as caffeine, green tea extract, or antioxidants like vitamin C. These ingredients work to constrict blood flow to the area, which results in a reduction of swelling. For an added dose of de-puffing, store your eye cream in the fridge which will also have a cooling effect.
Apply the eye cream with the tip of your pinkie in a gentle patting motion. Do not rub or tug on the skin. Some people like the cool feel of an eye cream with a metal applicator – it can also prevent touching and rubbing of the eye.
Eye creams that help depuff under eye bags come in various formulas, such as creams, gels, balms and serums. Gels are more lightweight and glide onto the skin, while creams have a richer feel. Some eye creams come with their own applicator, to avoid contaminating the product with your fingers.