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Puffy Eyes: What Causes Puffy Eyes?

  • Dehydration. When the body gets dehydrated it begins storing up water, which can cause puffy eyes.
  • Diet. Drinking alcohol or eating salty foods before going to sleep. Alcohol can cause puffy eyes because it lowers anti-diuretic hormones (ADH) in the body, but the levels will normalize and the puffiness will usually subside at about the same time your hangover subsides.
  • Insufficient sleep.
  • Allergies. If your puffy eyes are accompanied by redness and itching, the cause may be associated with an allergy. Possible contributing factors include feather pillows, linen fabric, face-creams, dust, pollen, or food.
  • Aging. As you get older the skin begins to loose elasticity, causing swollen eyes.
  • Hormonal changes. The days just before and during menstruation cause hormone levels to fluctuate, this can result in water retention around the eyelids.
  • High blood pressure, which pushes fluids into the tissue around the eyes, can result in swelling.
  • Eyelid dermatitis, a rash on the skin which just affects the eyelids, that is usually caused by an allergic reaction to make-up or skin-care products.

Puffy Eyes: Treatment and Prevention

Puffy eyes and bags under the eyes are common with aging. As we age, the tissues and muscles around the eyes weaken. Fat cells that helps support the eyes may then migrate forward and fall into the lower eyelids, causing the skin below the eyes to appear bulged or puffy. This space below the eyes can become a repository for fluids to accumulate, adding to the appearance of puffy eyes.

Puffy Eyes: Treatments and Home Remedies

For normal puffy eyes that is not caused by other eye conditions, there are many ways to get rid of puffy eyes. The following list is only a few of the remedies and may not work for everyone.

  • Wash face with ice cold water
  • Place cold cucumber slices on your eyes. It is the cold temperature that is helping rather than the product itself. The aroma, however, can be soothing and relaxing. Slice them into 1/8" discs and let them float in cool tap water for a few minutes. Shake them off well before applying to your eyes..
  • NYC dermatologist Ariel Ostad, MD, says that the alkaloids in potatos help reduce redness and inflammation. Slice a cold, raw potato into thin slices and place one on each eye for 10 minutes.
  • For a less messy alternative, try putting 2 metal tablespoons in the fridge and use them daily by placing the backs against your eyes.
  • Hemorrhoid cream, which is meant to reduce swelling, may work well. Be careful not to get it in your eyes. (This only works if you live in Canada. Hemorrhoid creams in the U.S. are no longer made with the active ingredient that reduces swelling.)
  • Moisten two tea bags in cold water, chill them in the refrigerator and place them over closed eyelids for several minutes. Like the cucumber slices, the coolness reduces circulation, but the tea actually has a slightly astringent (tissue-shrinking) effect as well.
  • Try a soothing eye cream with aloe and Vitamin E, which can be applied to the eyes

Puffy Eyes: Prevention

There's a lot you can do to prevent or reduce the appearance of puffy eyes:

  • Get enough sleep. If you have puffy eyes all day, it could be that you're simply not getting enough sleep, or the quality of the sleep you are getting is poor. Puffiness under the eyes is a common symptom of sleep deprivation.
  • Drink more water! Most people who find that they are prone to puffy eyes are usually dehydrated. Try this over a long term period and see the results. It's very effective.
  • Elevate your head when you sleep. It's not unusual to have puffy eyes upon waking. A possible explanation for this may be that when you are laying down for several hours in a horizontal position and then stand up, the fluid that was resting under your eyes is suddenly being pulled down by gravity. This swelling, however, should subside shortly. To reduce it, you can try elevating your head while sleeping so that the fluid is not as drastically drawn down when you get up.
  • Reduce your salt intake. A high intake of sodium may be causing you to retain more fluid, in which case reducing the salt in your diet may produce good results (not only for your eyes, but also for your health in general).
  • Snack on bananas and raisins, both of which alleviate fluid retention.
  • Drink cabbage or cranberry juice. Both are diuretics, which will help you "evacuate" some excess fluid. Don't turn to caffeine as your diuretic of choice, as it can interfere with sleep and bring back the puffiness.
  • Exercise to improve circulation, which will help your body move fluid through your body, rather than letting it accumulate.
  • Identify allergies that are causing your puffy eyes. For allergies and puffy eyes, find out the item causing the allergic reaction and minimize its use; doctors may also provide medication in the form of shots or prescription drugs.

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