What causes puffy eyes? Basically it is edema (fluid retention) in the fat tissue above the bones encircling your eyes that causes puffy eyes. Those pockets fill up with fluid causing puffiness, probably due to inflammation. Inflammation comes from many different things: food allergies, alcohol consumption, smoking, sugar, among others.
How can I treat my puffy eyes? Prevention or avoiding the causes of puffiness are the first steps to alleviating puffy eyes. But since we live in the real world, I’ll give you a few things you can do to treat the puffiness you may be experiencing.
First, if you wake up in the morning with puffy eyes, before jolting out of bed, take it slow. Sit up in bed supported by your pillows with your back straight. Just sit there for a few minutes and give your body a chance to adjust to this more vertical position. If you get up quickly, the fluids that have settled around your eyes don’t have a chance to drain from this area, or at least not as efficiently as they would if you sit up and let them drain first.
Using something cool on the eyes will help to reduce some of the puffiness. Do not use ice or anything extremely cold—you can damage the capillaries. But ice with a heavy cloth over it or some of the gel packs available for the eyes would be OK. You just don’t want to use anything ice cold directly on your skin; cool is acceptable.
Cosmetic surgery is the only way to truly get rid of the fat pockets underneath your eyes. If you are through having to deal with excessive puffy eyes, you may want to consult with a few plastic surgeons and see what your options are. If you contend with puffiness every day and you are eating foods that are inflammation-inducing, I highly recommend starting with your diet before you consider going under the knife. It is the harder road, but truly it is the one that your body will benefit most from in the long run.
Keep in mind, foods that are causing puffy eyes are creating an inflammatory response in more than just your eye area. Sugar, among others, causes inflammation—not just in the form of puffy eyes, but body-wide. Always look to your diet (what you are consuming) as probable causes of inflammation and therefore puffiness. (Tomatoes, shrimp, and drinking alcohol are other known causes of puffy eyes in many people.)
Preparation H®. I’m sure you’ve heard about the use of hemmoroid cream, specifically Preparation H, around the eye area to help decrease puffiness. If not, it really is a thing! It is one of the many shall I say interesting uses for this cream meant for something far, far away from your eyes. To read about my experience with this product on my own puffy eyes and how it worked for me (or not), see Hemorrhoid cream for puffy eyes, listed below. That information used to be part of this puffy eyes article, but I thought it got lost here so I made a separate piece for better exposure.
At the end of the day, there are many ways to help puffiness, some better than others. No matter what you choose to use or what you find works best for you, please be careful with the undereye area: it is very thin skin, delicate, and susceptible to aging more so than other places on your face.
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