The Truth About Puffy Eyes
Recommended Products for Puffy Eyes
What Paula's Choice Customers Are Saying
Gentle Touch Makeup Remover leaves my eyelids feeling refreshed. I had almost stopped wearing eye makeup because other products left me with irritated lids that would then get puffy. This better than anything else! -Christina
Top 10 Causes of Puffy Eyes—and What You Can Do to Treat Them!
Puffy eyes most often are caused by fluid retention, allergic reactions, skin inflamed by irritation, too-prominent fat pads distended around the eye area, or a combination of these factors.
The cosmetics industry's frequent solution—roller-ball eye-cream applicators—only redistributes the fluid around the eye. The roller-balls are no more effective than a gentle fingertip massage, but definitely more expensive!
Following are the details about the main causes of puffy eyes and what you can do to correct them:
- Sleep Position
Keeping your head flat while you sleep allows fluid to collect in the tissue around your eyes. Sleeping with your head slightly elevated (making sure your neck is properly supported) can help prevent fluid retention in the eye area. Gentle fingertip massage around the eye area when you get up can help relieve this kind of swelling.
Alcohol consumption and a diet high in salt causes water retention and increases puffiness around the eyes, puffiness that can linger throughout the day. What can you do about it? You can moderate (or eliminate) your intake of alcohol, sodium, and processed foods; add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet (e.g., fruits, vegetables, salmon); and drink plenty of water. All of these can make a HUGE difference.
- Contact Lenses
Even under the best of circumstances, contact lenses can cause irritation, swelling, and, of course, increase your risk of an eye infection. Ensure you are wearing the most comfortable type of contacts for your vision correction. Follow exactly your eye-care provider's recommendations for cleansing, wear, and disposal. Keeping your eye lubricated with the appropriate eye drops also is a helpful preventive step.
Exposure to allergens, either in the air or by rubbing your eyes with allergen-laced fingers, can cause redness and lasting puffiness. It's best to avoid touching your eyes, because rubbing not only pulls at the skin (which encourages sagging), but also increases inflammation, making puffiness worse. Also, talk to your physician about taking an antihistamine to control your allergy symptoms, such as runny, itchy eyes. Applying a cool (but not ice-cold) compress to your eyes also can help.
- Dry Skin
Dryness around your eyes can contribute to swelling, and make them look wrinkled and tired. A well-formulated moisturizer can make a remarkable difference, but remember, there's no need to purchase a product labeled "eye cream"—in fact, many so-called eye creams are either poorly formulated or don't contain sunscreen, which is bad for the eye area. Check out Beautypedia to find well-formulated moisturizers of all kinds that The Paula's Choice Team has analyzed and reviewed for use around the eyes.
- Makeup Residue
Makeup, when left on overnight, or even a bit too long, can cause irritation, a sure way to cause puffy eyes! Be sure to meticulously remove your makeup every night. Start with a mild, fragrance-free cleanser, and then remove the last traces of eye makeup (including mascara) with a gentle, fragrance-free eye-makeup remover (colorant-free remover is best for the eye area). Remember not to rub or pull the skin around your eyes when removing your makeup.
Are you going through a rough time? Did you just watch a tearjerker? No doubt about it, when the tears start to flow, puffiness often results. Why? The physical act of crying causes inflammation around the eyes. That irritation, plus a person's natural tendency to rub and wipe their eyes while crying, leads to puffiness. There's no remedy for this. Just know one thing … the longer you cry, the worse the puffiness.
- Exposure to Irritants
If your makeup or skin-care products (especially those you use around your eyes) contain irritants of any kind, you are causing irritation and inflammation, which almost guarantee puffy eyes. Ingredients like menthol, camphor, alcohol, essential oils, fragrant plant extracts, or any kind of fragrance shouldn't come anywhere near your skin—let alone near your eyes. Check out The Paula's Choice Team reviews on Beautypedia; we explain at length whether or not a product contains irritants that you may be unaware of, especially given the claims.
- Fat Pads
For some people, puffy eyes may just be their natural appearance, based on genetics. Typically, this results from overly large fat pads around the eyes or because the fat pads, over time, have pouched through the facial muscles. If that is the case, the only way to get rid of the problem is with cosmetic surgery,which almost always is incredibly effective.
- Sun Damage
There are many reasons you need to be diligent about protecting your skin from the sun, but the primary reason is that sun damage causes wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity, and dark skin discolorations. If you suffer from puffy eyes, be aware … your eye area is even more susceptible to the negative impact of unprotected sun exposure. The resulting sun damage causes the skin around your eyes to lose its elasticity, which in turn allows more fluid to accumulate in the area. In addition, sagging skin just tends to look puffier. Wearing a sunscreen every day is crucial, but remember, many eye creams don't even contain sunscreen. Go to Beautypedia for our analysis and reviews of great products you can use that do contain appropriate sunscreen ingredients and are beneficial and safe for use in the eye area.
Sources: Orbit, December 2009, pages 313-316; The Netherlands Journal of Medicine, September 2009, pages 338-339; Annals of Plastic Surgery Aesthetics, February 2009, pages 57-70; The Surgery-Free Makeover, Brandith Irwin, 2008, pages 68-69; American Family Physician, December 2007, pages 1815-1824; Plastic Reconstructive Surgery, April 2005, pages 1395-1402; Optometry, January 2001, pages 36-44.