Puffy eyes (or periorbital swelling, if you want to sound really fancy about it) refers to swelling of the tissues around the eyes-above, below, or all around. The actual puffiness itself is almost always caused periorbital edema, or fluid build-up around the eye, although aging, weight, and genetics all play a role. What’s triggering the fluid build-up can be a number of things, including illness (such as mononucleosis), sleep deprivation or over-sleeping, diet, allergies, and as mentioned above, aging/weight/genetics. Figuring out what the underlying cause is for you is extremely helpful when it comes to really targeting the problem, instead of just masking it. The below home remedies for puffy eyes will cover several of the most common causes.
1. Get Less Sodium
Ingesting too much sodium is a common cause of water retention, even if you don’t have a preexisting condition that would make you prone to it (such as kidney disease.) Because of the imbalance of salt and water, water gets drawn out of your cells and puffs up your tissues. The resulting bloating can affect even your eyes, filling out the tissues around the eye cavity, and causing puffy eyes. Less salt = less puffiness
If you’re worried about how you’ll possibly flavor your food, don’t panic. Steady research has shown that the less salt you eat, the less you want. Your taste buds will adjust to the lower levels over time. A month or so after you’ve made the change, sample your food with the amount you used to eat, and you’ll probably be disgusted!
You will need…
-Self-control and perseverance 🙂
2. Chamomile Tea Bags
Chamomile is effective for reducing puffiness caused by allergies. While it can help with inflammation in general, when it comes to your eyes, it’s really the properties that soothe itchy and irritated skin that make the difference with any swelling. It also works wonders when it comes to tired or strained eyes. Resting the tea bags directly over your eyes can help reduce discomfort and the appearance of irritation/swelling, and you have two options when it comes to what you use. I like to bulk order my own tea bags and fill them with herbs-in this case, of course, I’d fill them with dried chamomile- so I know exactly what I am putting on my skin. However, you can use store bought as well if you’re looking for something more convenient, just be sure there isn’t a bunch of other herbs added!
You will need…
-2 chamomile tea bags
-Approximately ½ cup of fresh water
-A place to lie down
Boil the water and then soak the tea bags for about 5 minutes. After removing the bags let them cool off, and then squeeze out any excess liquid. Lie down and place them over your eyes for at least 10 minutes twice a day.
A cold compress can temporarily diminish the appearance of the puffiness. The cold constricts blood vessels, which slows down the flow of fluid into the tissues and reduces the puffiness. You can obviously just pop some ice into a bag, or make a compress (link to post) that can be used for both heat and cold, but I really enjoy gel packs for some occasions. And while I really truly do not like corn syrup, it makes for a dandy DIY cold gel pack.
You will need…
-A small plastic zip lock bag
-Food or natural coloring (optional)
It’s pretty straightforward. Simply fill up the bag with corn syrup and add a little bit of coloring if you want to make it fun-like the classic blue color of store bought cold packs. Pop it in the freezer and use when necessary. Because of the high sugar content, the syrup will not freeze solid, but it does get close. I let it sit out for 5-10 minutes to soften up first.
*If you don’t have time for resting a compress on your eyes, splash your face with cold water in the morning.*
4. Do The Elevator
If you tend to wake up with bags under your eyes that diminish as the day goes on, elevating yourself while you sleep may help reduce the appearance first thing in the morning. It depends on the individual, but fluid can pool and build up around the eyes when you’re lying flat and sleeping. Propping yourself up or even just sleeping on your back can help keep everything in circulation, which diminishes the puffiness first thing in the morning. As a plus, propping yourself up can help with snoring as well.
You will need…
-An extra pillow OR wood blocks to rest under your bed legs
Use an extra pillow to elevate your head or, if you’re worried this may make you wake up with sore muscles, place small blocks of wood beneath the legs at the top of the bed to raise it slightly. Just a reminder-make sure it’s extra steady if you do the latter. It’s not fun to wake up in the middle of the night if your bed slides off and thumps down.
But What About Dark Circles?
Unfortunately, when it comes to home remedies for dark circles, there aren’t as many options. Really, your best bet is to find (or make your own) under eye brightener- or get more rest, if that’s the cause for you. More likely it’s simply genetics or aging that is causing the dark circles. The skin underneath our eyes is incredibly thin, and shows blood vessels easily. As you age, the loss of collagen and thinning of skin/deepening of hollows under eyes can enhance this appearance. Some people (myself included) are just prone to dark circles, no matter how much sleep we get. Embrace it!
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