- Puffy eyes are a result of fluid retention in the eye area.
- Some essential oils, such as eucalyptus and peppermint oil, have anti-inflammatory or astringent properties which may help improve puffy eyes.
- As there are many essential oils to choose from, selecting the right one will depend on the cause of your puffy eyes, symptoms and skin type.
Puffy eyes can be a result of several factors including lack of sleep, overconsumption of alcohol or a high-sodium diet. Of the many options for treating puffy eyes, essential oils are one such method that is cost-effective and natural. While no oil is guaranteed to be effective in treating puffy eyes, they are a popular choice for many.
Often associated with aromatherapy, essential oils are nutrient-rich, concentrated oils derived from herbs, leaves, bark and other plant life. They are typically extracted via steam distillation or a grating process known as expression.
While many of these oils share similar characteristics, not all essential oils are the same. There are many essential oils with a range of uses that are determined by what they were derived from and how they were extracted.
What Causes Puffy Eyes?
Puffy eyes are a common issue, and are usually the result of a buildup of fluid in the surrounding eye tissue.
In most cases, puffy eyes are triggered by a salt imbalance in the body. Consuming too much salt can cause water retention, which may lead to puffiness in the eyes. Stress, dehydration and some medications can also contribute to an increase in salt levels, as well as a lack of sleep or seasonal allergies.
Benefits of Essential Oils for Puffy Eyes
Essential oils can be an effective and natural treatment for a number of skin issues, including puffy eyes. Each essential oil has unique properties that distinguishes it from its counterparts. That said, many share certain common features.
Most essential oils have anti-inflammatory properties, meaning that they can reduce swelling. Eucalyptus, thyme, bergamot and clove oil are particularly potent anti-inflammatory essential oils, however several others can also be effective at reducing swelling.
Additionally, some essential oils are natural astringents. These oils constrict the skin and underlying blood vessels which results in skin appearing moe taut. Lemon, peppermint and Roman chamomile oils all have astringent properties to help reduce puffiness.
Can Essential Oils Treat Puffy Eyes?
Although there are no studies which review the effects of essential oils on puffy eyes, they are still a popular ingredient in many puffiness treatments due to their anti-inflammatory and astringent properties.
The effectiveness of essential oils in treating puffy eyes depends on the cause of puffiness and the oil used.
Oils with anti-inflammatory properties may help treat inflamed puffy eyes caused by allergies. Anti-inflammatory topicals, including certain essential oils, usually work by preventing the effects of enzymes that naturally create prostaglandins, compounds that cause swelling and pain at the site of an injury or severe irritation. The essential oils that are capable of blocking these enzymes work to reduce puffiness.
Astringent essential oils may treat puffy eyes caused by a buildup of fluid, such as those caused by a lack of sleep, allergies, or in some cases, water retention. These oils constrict the area around the eyes to help prevent additional fluid from pooling.
How to Use Essential Oils for Puffy Eyes
The first step in finding an effective treatment is identifying the cause of your puffy eyes, and choosing the oil that is best suited to addressing your symptoms.
Once you have selected your oil, it must be diluted with a carrier oil before application. Carrier oils are typically vegetable oils such as avocado or coconut oil and are used to deliver concentrated essential oils safely to the skin.
While the exact dilution will vary by oil, for most, combine 12 drops of essential oil with one fluid ounce of carrier oil.
Since essential oils are relatively safe to apply topically, you can incorporate them into a daily skin care routine. However, as some individuals may experience irritation, it is advised to perform a patch test with your diluted product on the inside of your wrist to determine any sensitivities. If you see no signs of a reaction in the next 24 hours, it should be safe to use.
Be aware that it is very dangerous to apply essential oils, diluted or otherwise, directly to the eyes. This can lead to eye scarring and even blindness. Therefore, when applying the essential oil to this area, be sure to keep a safe distance, and use a minimal amount to avoid any dripping into the eyes.
Typically, essential oil should be applied after cleansing. To use the oil:
- Moisten a cotton ball with a small amount of diluted oil and apply around—but not too close—to the eyes
- Allow the oil several minutes to penetrate the skin
- Gently wipe around the eye area and rinse your face
- Continue with your skin care routine
Choosing an essential oil for puffy eyes
There is a wide variety of anti-inflammatory and astringent essential oils to choose from. The most effective ones for relieving puffiness around the eyes are eucalyptus, thyme, bergamot and clove oil. Tea tree oil also has anti-inflammatory properties, and has been shown to reduce eye puffiness when applied in a gel formulation.
Astringent oils such as lemon oil may also be effective in tightening up loose eyelid skin to reduce puffiness.
Because of the wide variety of options, it is also important to consider which essential oils will work best with your skin type. Certain oils have drying effects, while others can aggravate oily skin. Sandalwood and frankincense oils are best suited to dry skin; lemon and Roman chamomile oils are best for oily skin.
Some options, depending on your skin type include:
|Skin Type||Astringent Essential Oils||Anti-inflammatory Essential Oils|
|Dry skin||Avoid astringents||Sandalwood|
|Combination skin||Lemon balm||Bergamot|
|Sensitive skin||Avoid astringents||Sandalwood|
When used properly, most essential oils are safe for use on skin. That said, it is important to understand that each essential oil is different and directions pertaining to that specific oil should be followed closely, particularly with regards to dilution.
Using a carrier oil is critical when with topical application as applying undiluted oil can, in some cases, cause serious skin damage and be detrimental to your overall health.
Age should also be considered. Certain diluted oils may be safe and effective for adults in good health, but the same oils can lead to life-threatening heart rhythm changes if used by children or pregnant and nursing mothers.
Phototoxic essential oils such as lemon oil can cause severe skin damage when exposed to sunlight. Ensure you have removed such oils thoroughly before going outdoors to avoid irritation and skin damage.
As with any skin care products, essential oils can cause an allergic reaction. Before using an essential oil for the first time, determine how your skin will react by performing a patch test.
Essential Oil Alternatives
There are several other topical products that can be used to treat puffy eyes. These alternatives can address puffy eyes by tightening skin, treating allergies, or by offering more potent astringent and anti-inflammatory effects.
Many over-the-counter (OTC) products are formulated to treat puffy eyes efficiently and effectively. Eye creams formulated with vitamin C are particularly effective at alleviating puffy eyes and providing an energized appearance.
Vitamin C eye creams work to alleviate puffy eyes by improving collagen production. This helps address the weakening under-eye muscles typically associated with lack of sleep. The result is a tighter appearance in the eye area, making it more difficult for fluids to pool and cause puffiness.
Eye creams with natural ingredients such as caffeine and green tea can improve eye puffiness as they function as vasoconstrictors, moving excess fluids out of the eye area and evening out the skin. Aloe can also improve puffiness due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Antihistamine eye drops can reduce eye puffiness caused by allergies. One study found eye drops to be effective in treating allergy-induced eye symptoms for up to 24 hours.
However, you may want to consult with a doctor before using eye drops for puffy eyes, as they can sometimes cause symptoms to worsen.
Witch hazel combines the two key properties that essential oils use to treat puffy eyes. It is a natural astringent that can be used to reduce the flow of fluids to the area around the eyes and it’s also an anti-inflammatory. These properties may help reduce the under-eye swelling associated with allergies.
Having a combination of both properties means that witch hazel may be more likely to be effective at treating your puffy eyes.
While there is little scientific evidence to support the efficacy of essential oils in treating puffy eyes, it is believed that the anti-inflammatory and astringent properties of some oils can be used to relieve puffiness around the eyes due to fluid retention, fatigue and allergies.
Some oils to consider are eucalyptus, tea tree, sandalwood and roman chamomile. When choosing an essential oil, it is also important to consider your skin type, as some essential oils are more abrasive or drying than others.
When diluted correctly, many essential oils are safe to apply topically, however, improperly diluting an essential oil prior to topical application can lead to skin irritation and, in some cases, health concerns.
Additionally, essential oils should never be ingested, and pose serious risks if they come in direct contact with the eye. Individuals who choose essential oils to treat puffy eyes should proceed with caution.
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