Puffy eyes are a common problem for many people. Scientifically known as preorbital puffiness, they are most commonly experienced when we first wake up in the morning. Although usually mild and purely cosmetic in nature, they can leave us feeling self-conscious about our appearance, especially if they are accompanied by dark rings. For those of us that do suffer from puffy eyes, the good news is that there are simple, natural treatments that can be utilized to reduce their appearance.
Puffy eyes are caused by a build-up of excess fluid, known as edema, in the tissue around the eye. The skin around the eye is the thinnest in the body and so any swelling or discoloration in the underlying tissues is very obvious. Many people notice that their eyes are puffiest in the morning. This is because the lack of blinking during the night allows the fluids to settle into the cells. Once we wake up and start blinking, the fluids are released back into the general circulation.
Fluid accumulation around the eyes can be caused by a number of factors, and the most common one is tiredness from a lack of sleep. Another frequent cause, perhaps surprisingly, is dehydration. When we are dehydrated, our body tries to keep hold of the water it has, storing it in our cells and causing the cells to swell. Dehydration can be due to low fluid intake, drinking caffeine, eating foods containing high levels of sodium or potassium, or an over-consumption of alcohol. Other causes include crying, stress, allergies and, unfortunately, aging.
It is worth noting that there are some more serious causes of puffiness or swelling around the eyes, and any significant swelling should be investigated by a doctor.
As a prevention, you can try sleeping on your back. This helps to stop fluid buildup as you sleep, because the position makes it easier for fluids to drain away from the area.
It’s also important to watch what you apply to your skin. Use cosmetics that suit your skin type, and cleansers that are designed specifically for the delicate eye area. Also be sure to use natural moisturizers to keep your skin hydrated.
In addition, make sure that you are getting enough vitamins A, C and E, whether in your diet or in any creams that you use around your eyes. These vitamins will help promote smooth, firm and moisturized skin.
If you do wake up with puffy eyes then a number of simple treatments can be utilized, most of which will be readily available at home.
Applying a cold compress helps to reduce swelling and it has the added benefit of helping you to feel more awake and rejuvenated in the morning. The coldness will constrict blood vessels and therefore the flow of fluid into the area.
Soaking a washcloth in cold water, or wrapping two or three ice cubes into a washcloth, provides a cheap but effective compress. However, applying anything cooling to the eye area will have the same effect, and alternatives include a cooling eye mask, cold teaspoons, or even a bag of frozen vegetables.
Cold tea bags are a great natural way to combat puffiness. Whether you opt for camomile, or black or green tea, they all have the same effect. Camomile is naturally anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. Green and black tea contain tannins, which are natural astringents and so they help to reduce swelling. To get started, brew two cups of tea as normal, remove the bags, chill, and apply them to your eyes.
Cucumbers or Potatoes
Cucumbers are great for skin, and Cucumber slices are a traditional method for reducing eye swelling. There’s barely a spa advertisement that doesn’t feature a woman wearing cucumbers over her eyes. It’s believed that the combination of coldness, antioxidants and flavonoids reduce swelling.
Perhaps a less glamorous option, potatoes can also help. Slice or grate some raw potatoes, put them into cold water, and keep them in the refrigerator until they are cold before applying.
Fluids are carried in the lymphatic system, which includes small, thin walled capillaries, some of which are around the eyes. A very gentle massage, known as a lymphatic massage, can help to disperse the fluid from around the eyes. Before attempting this, study a good tutorial like the one below, and remember to use a very light touch on your delicate skin.
Eye creams are another way of reducing puffiness, particularly if, despite your best efforts, puffiness is a regular occurrence. There are a number of natural eye creams available on the market, but our recommended brand is Poppy Austin’s Eye Cream. This product contains green tea and vitamin C, both of which have been proven to help reduce eye puffiness.
Poppy Austin is well known for their natural products, particularly their argan oil. Their environmental credentials are supported by their use of recycled packaging with product information and branding screenprinted onto the bottle to remove the need for paper or polythene labels.
Poppy Austin’s eye cream contains 72 percent organic, natural ingredients which include: grapeseed oil, organic jojoba oil, green Tea, lemon citrus, organic rosehip oil, and vitamins C and E, all of which are proven to be effective in the treatment of puffy eyes. It is a lightweight cream that absorbs quickly into your skin without clogging pores. While the product is not completely natural, it contains one of the highest percentages of natural ingredients compared to other products on the market.