Most people have experienced waking up with puffy, swollen eyes at some point in their lives. As long as the puffiness is in both eyes and is not the result of any trauma, it will likely go away on its own with time. Overall, this issue is more of a cosmetic concern than a serious medical problem, but it can still be frustrating. Puffy eyes may feel tired or heavy, which can impact your daily life. In addition, they can cause anxiety about appearance. Luckily, there are many steps you can take to remedy swollen eyes at home.
Apply a Cold Compress
Cold compresses are excellent treatments for inflammation of all types, and puffy eyes are no exception. If you have an ice pack, wrap it in a thin cloth and gently place it over your eyes for 20 minutes. This is best done when lying flat, as it allows the compress to rest in one spot and reduces jarring. If you do not have a regular ice pack, any cold items will do: frozen peas, cold hand towels, even chilled spoons. Your eyes are very fragile and susceptible to bacteria and germs, so be certain to use a clean compress each time.
Get More Sleep
One of the most common causes of puffy eyes is a lack of sleep, which is why a popular home treatment is to get more rest. Aiming for eight hours of shut-eye every night is a good way to reduce inflammation around the eyes, and can be extremely beneficial in reducing puffiness. We use our eyes all day, especially while looking at computers, televisions, and phones. These habits can lead to eye strain, which can increase your risk for sore, puffy eyes. Try to avoid electronics for an hour before bedtime to get better sleep.
If your eye puffiness is not the result of fatigue or vitamin deficiency, it may be the result of allergies. Those who have allergies to environmental factors like pollen, pet dander or dust may notice that they experience puffy eyes when they are exposed to these allergy triggers. Puffiness caused by allergens is usually accompanied by itchy or burning, as well as redness and watering, so it will typically be easy to identify. If this happens to you, antihistamines can be a useful tool. This inexpensive over-the-counter medicine will reduce inflammation, as well as your other allergy symptoms.
Elevate Your Head
A simple solution to decrease puffiness around the eyes is to elevate your head at night. When you sleep, blood pools in areas of your body that are not elevated, which can cause swelling and inflammation. Using two pillows to keep your head elevated above your heart is a good way to avoid this. In addition, if you sleep on your stomach or side, be aware that this may lead to puffiness on one or both eyes. Whenever possible, it is best to sleep on your back with your head resting above your heart to promote healthy circulation.
Reducing puffiness may be as simple as reducing your sodium intake. Most people consume large amounts of sodium each day without realizing it. Salt is used to preserve and flavor everything from snacks to frozen dinners, so it is easy to have too much in your diet. However, salt also increases water retention, which can lead to puffiness and swelling. This is more obvious in areas with thin skin, such as around the eyes. To reduce sodium consumption, try to cook with fresh foods, and use spices like garlic and lemon for flavor instead of table salt.
While it may seem counterintuitive, drinking more fluids is a good way to reduce puffiness as well. Staying hydrated will help your body to flush toxins out of your system quickly, and will actually decrease water retention long-term. In addition, drinking lots of water will allow the skin to retain elasticity. This means that the bags that often appear under puffy eyes will decrease as well. Water consumption is good for your health overall, so this is a good habit to get into for many reasons. Try to drink eight glasses, or 96 ounces, of water every day to improve hydration.
While this is more of a precaution than a remedy, removing all makeup before bedtime is a good way to avoid puffy eyes. Even for those who wear makeup every day, it is a foreign substance to the skin and eyes. Over time, it can cause permanent damage to the skin if not properly removed every night. This can make the skin thinner and more easily inflamed later in life. To reduce puffiness, use a cleanser or remover that is appropriate for your skin and makeup types, especially if you have used eye makeup or concealer under the eyes.
Vitamin K has many valuable properties, but one of them is improved blood flow. Vitamin K is easily absorbed through food, so supplements are not needed. Instead, stock up on foods like spinach, kale, and other leafy dark green vegetables. Vitamin K can also be found in meats and dairy products, so there are plenty of creative ways to add more to your diet. Eat a green salad at lunch, or replace fries with asparagus when choosing dinner sides. Increasing your Vitamin K intake will help improve circulation, and will consequently reduce puffiness and swelling around the eyes.
Chilled cucumber slices are an excellent way to eliminate puffy eyes. These dark green vegetables have many vital nutrients, including vitamin K, which makes them a natural remedy for swollen, tired eyes. After cooling the cucumber in the refrigerator, cut two slices and place on closed eyes for 20 minutes. Remove and rinse away any residue with cold water. The coolness of the cucumber slices will work as an anti-inflammatory, while the skin will absorb the vitamins and nutrients. This will make your skin and eyes feel refreshed and will reduce visible puffiness.
One important remedy for relieving puffy eyes is to track allergens that may trigger them and eliminate those triggers from your diet or environment. Research has shown that allergies and intolerances to common ingredients like gluten, wheat, and soy may cause inflammation and puffiness, including around the eyes. If you notice that your eyes are puffier on days when you consume these foods, try eliminating them from your diet temporarily to see if it corrects the issue. Most stores sell gluten-free and soy-free products that can be substituted into your diet permanently if one of these allergens is the issue.