Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Puffy Under Eyes

Puffiness under the eyes or under-eye swelling is often just a cosmetic concern, and hardly ever a critical condition. Most times puffy eyes don’t require any special treatment. Nevertheless, it might be a symptom of a major or minor underlying medical condition. Sometimes under-eye swelling can be linked to genetics or just aging. As you age the tissues around the eyes and the muscles supporting your eyelids become feeble. The fat that is usually meant to support the eyes becomes loose and moves to the lower eyelids, hence the lids appear puffy. At times fluid also accumulates on the lids causing them to appear swollen. Simple home remedies can help with getting rid of bags under eyes.

puffy under eyes

Puffy under eyes symptoms

 ● Loose or saggy skin.

 ● Dark circles.

 ● Mild swelling.

You shouldn’t be alarmed by puffy eyes, because they’re usually not harmful and don’t require medical treatment. An eye infection might cause severe symptoms among other health conditions. You should see a doctor if you have the following symptoms:

 ● Blurry vision

 ● Pain

 ● Pus or white fluid

 ● Bulging of the eyes

 ● Redness

 ● Fever

 ● Vision loss

 ● One eye swelling

 ● Weight loss

 ● Watery eyes

 ● Redness of the eye. 

Puffy under eyes causes

There are various causes of under-eye swelling. The following are some of the main causes of puffy eyes.

 1. Lack of enough sleep

If you don’t get enough sleep and rest enough you might get puffiness under your eyes. Lack of sleep will also show through other symptoms including dark circles around the eyes, saggy eyelids, red eyes, a droopy mouth and also pale skin.

A lack of enough sleep causes puffy eyes because it makes the muscles around your eyes weak. Collagen is also reduced when you don’t sleep enough, it is the tissue that causes elasticity around the eyes. When collagen is reduced fluids start to build upon your lower lids, hence making them swell. 

The under-eye swelling that results from lack of usually lasts for 24 hours or less. If you continuously deprive yourself of enough sleep, you might end up with permanent puffy eyes. 

 2. Consuming too much salt

When you include too much salt or sodium in your diet, your appearance will be affected. Consuming too much salt leads to water retention in the body. The retained water will lead to the face and body swelling up. The area that’s more prone to swelling in the skin around your eyes, hence the appearance of puffy eyes. 

Typically, the body naturally gets rid of the swelling caused by water retention, and eventually de-puff the skin around your eyes. The process might take a few hours.

 3. Eye infections

Eye infections can occur either in the eyes or eyelids. Puffy eyes can be caused by eye infections. If the infection occurs, it starts with one eye and then gradually spreads to the other eye. 

You should avoid touching and rubbing the infected eye, it can lead to the infection spreading faster. Eye infections don’t last longer than a week and can be treated by antibiotics.

 Puffy eyes can be caused by the following infections.

 ● Pink eye (conjunctivitis) – caused by bacteria, chemicals or other irritants. It can affect adults and children. 

 ● Periorbital cellulitis – usually develops from the sinuses or from an injured eyelid. 

 ● Stye – affects the year glands or eyelashes follicles. Causes swelling, redness and pus build up around the eyelid or in the eye.

 ● Chalazion – it is brought about by a blocked oil gland in the eyelid area. Causes swelling when infected. 

4. Allergies

Fluid retention around the eyelids can be brought about by eye allergies, which in turn leads to puffy eyes. The protective cells in the eyes called mast cells, produce histamine (immune proteins) that fight against allergens. 

The process makes the eyes watery, which leads to puffy eyes. Some of the most common eye allergies include animal fur, chemicals, smoke, mold, pollen, dust, perfumes etc.

 5. Clogged tear duct

If your tears aren’t drained out naturally by your tear ducts when they are clogged, they will accumulate in the eye. This is how the puffy eyes are caused by the tear ducts. Clogged tear ducts are common in children and adults are also affected. It is commonly caused by eye injuries or make-up particles. A clogged tear duct often heals naturally by itself after a few days. Symptoms of a clogged tear duct include pain, swelling, pus, redness, watery eyes, infections, and blurred vision.

 6. Smoking

If you’re a smoker or passive smoker, you might suffer from puffy eyes. The smoke from either cigars or cigarettes among others might cause an allergic reaction that leads to your under eyes swelling due to water accumulation. 

 7. Crying

Puffy eyes are caused by crying, usually heals fast and on their own. When you cry fluid is retained under your eyes which leads to puffy eyes that don’t last too long.

 8. Grave’s disease

It’s also known as thyroid eye disease, occurs when your thyroid hormones aren’t balanced by the thyroid gland. Excessive thyroid medication can also cause Grave’s disease. The symptoms connected to thyroid eye disease include puffy eyes and bulging eyes. It causes swelling because it affects the tissues around the eyes.

 9. Injuries

Small injuries like getting scratched and getting hit on the eye can cause under-eye swelling. An injury causes a slight movement of the eye, this leads to blood and fluid build-up around the eye hence causing puffy eyes. 

 10. Mononucleosis

It’s also known as the “kissing disease” and is caused by a virus. One of the signs of mononucleosis is puffy eyes. The symptoms in the eye include pain, swelling, and redness. 

How to get rid of puffy eyes?

There are products on the market that help with getting rid of puffy eyes. However, adapting some few lifestyle changes work out much better. The following are some of the highly effective ways to get rid of the puffiness under and around your eyes.

 1. Drink water

Increasing your water intake will help with removing puffy eyes. About 60% of our body weight is made up of water. Hence, not staying hydrated can be a major cause of puffy eyes. For men, it is recommended to drink 13 cups of water a day and for women, it’s 9 cups.

 2. Use retinol cream

Retinol creams ( vitamin A) help with a variety of skin problems. Some of the skin problems include acne, psoriasis, and aging. Applying retinol to your skin helps with fighting collagen deficiency, hence reducing the swelling of the under eyes. Apply it once a day around thirty minutes after washing your face. 

 3. Get enough sleep

Lack of enough sleep not only causes puffy eyes, but it also makes your skin pale as well, making dark circles and shadows more visible. You should try and get at least seven or eight hours of sleep every day. If you have trouble sleeping try some of these Mayo Clinic techniques:

 ● Finish meals at least two hours before going to sleep.

 ● Have a regular sleeping schedule.

 ● Don’t consume caffeine 6 to 12 hours before bedtime. 

 ● Turn off devices and electronics an hour before bedtime.

 4. Apply sunscreen daily

Sunscreen helps protect your skin from premature aging, among other conditions. Ensure you use sunscreen daily, in order to get rid of puffy eyes. Get sunscreen that is water-resistant and SPF 30 or more.

 5. Ingest an antihistamine

Puffy eyes and dark circles around the eyes can be caused by allergies. Taking over the counter allergic medications would help treat the allergies. This reduces the risk of puffy eyes, and if you already have some they heal. 

 6. Try skin lightening products

Skin lightening products contain hydroquinone which slows down melanin production. Thus, they reduce the appearance of swollen eye bags. You can buy them over the counter, online, or get a prescription. 

 7. Cleanse your face before bed

Ensure you wash your face before going to sleep to get rid of swollen eye bags. If you sleep without washing your face you might get wrinkles amongst other skin related problems. For ladies, ensure you take your make-up off before sleeping. Eye make-up may cause infections or allergies when not removed. Also, you expose your skin to radicals when you sleep with make-up still applied to your face. 

 8. Reduce the intake of salty foods

Cutting down on salty rich foods will help in reducing water retention in your body. Due to the accumulation of water in the body from salt intake, you become puffy.

It is recommended to consume no more than 2300 milligrams (mg) of salt daily. Ensure you check the salt composition in some of your favorite foods, to avoid consuming excessive amounts. Try eating more whole foods than processed foods. 

 9. Give up smoking

Your body is deprived of vitamin C which helps in collagen production when you smoke. If you’re a smoker you will be prone to skin conditions including swollen eye bags.

You will not only clear eye bags if you stop smoking, but you’ll get a lot of other health benefits. When you quit smoking you reduce your chances of developing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes or some forms of cancer, among other things. You can try for support on giving up smoking.

 10. Intake of collagen-rich foods

As you continue to get older, the muscles and tissues supporting the eyelids become weak. The eyelids end up sagging, and all the fat from the skin around your eyes goes down to the under eyes. Increase your vitamin C intake in your diet in order to absorb more hyaluronic acid. 

Vitamin C rich foods will boost your collagen production to get healthier skin and help heal puffy eyes. Some vitamin C rich foods include broccoli, strawberries, oranges, brussel sprouts, kale, and red peppers. 

Home remedies for puffy eye bags

Puffy eyes usually heal by themselves mostly without any medication. However, the following home remedies will help clear the puffy eyes quickly and naturally.

 1. Use tea bags

You probably have a lot of tea at your disposal in your home. Tea has a lot of benefits on the skin. It contains antioxidants from the caffeine that increase blood flow to your skin. It has anti-aging properties and it secures the skin from UV rays.

Use green tea to heal your swollen eye bags, since it has anti-inflammatory properties. Soak the tea bags in cold water for around 3 minutes, squeeze out the extra water and apply it to your eyelids. Leave the green tea bags on eyes for approximately 15-30 minutes. 

 2. Cold compress

You can get rid of eye bags by simply using a cold compress. You will use items that are already in your home. The cold compress will help with contracting the blood vessels faster for some relief. There are a lot of homemade cold compress options that work perfectly. Some options include a wet washcloth, chilled tablespoon, cool cucumber and a bag of frozen vegetables.

Ensure you wrap your cold compress with a soft cloth before using it. To prevent your skin from getting frosty. This method works fast and you’ll see the results in just a few minutes.

 3. Massages

Another simple home remedy is gently massaging the affected area. You increase blood flow to the affected area around your eyes when you gently tap and massage.

In order to reduce the inflamed area, apply pressure in your brows and sweep your fingers in the corner of your eye using an outward motion.

Begin tapping on your sinuses using two fingers on both hands. Massage your lymph nodes situated on the neck gently to move fluid. Massage the affected area for approximately 3 minutes daily, as much as you need to. 

The bottom line.

Swollen eye bags (puffy eyes) are a cosmetic concern for most people, but they aren’t harmful. They can sometimes be caused by underlying medical conditions, and if symptoms get worse you should consult a doctor. Several different causes bring about swelling on the under eyes. Infections are one major cause of swollen under eyes. Mostly, the eye bags are caused by genetics or simply from aging.

You should learn to take care of your skin to avoid such complications. If you suffer from swollen eye bags, there are several effective ways they can be treated including staying hydrated. Watching your diet is a vital step towards healing from puffy eyes. Apart from over the counter drugs and other ways to treat puffy eyes, you can comfortably treat swollen eye bags at home. You can make DIY remedies that work using materials that you can’t miss on a person’s home. 

Unless it’s from natural causes, you should avoid all situations that would lead you towards getting puffy eyes in every way.


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