- Natural treatments for puffy eyes can temporarily reduce swelling.
- Cold compresses, cucumber and green tea are safe and effective remedies.
- Getting more sleep and eating a healthy diet may also help in reducing the appearance of puffy eyes.
Puffy eyes are typically caused by fluid retention around the eyes. Fluid retention occurs as a result of a salt imbalance in the body which causes the body to hold additional fluids, in some cases resulting in a pooling of fluids beneath the eyes. This salt imbalance can be triggered by a number of different issues including crying, overconsumption of salt and elevated stress levels.
For a quick and convenient solution, various natural remedies such as cucumber slices, green tea and raw potato can provide temporary relief from puffiness. Everyday ingredients like these contain compounds to tighten the area around the eyes, address swelling and regulate the movement of fluid in the region.
Natural Treatments for Puffy Eyes
There are a number of purported home remedies for puffy eyes that fall into three broad categories: astringents, vasoconstrictors and anti-inflammatories.
Astringents are products that constrict cells and tissue to provide a tighter appearance. When applied to puffy eyes, they work to tighten skin and reduce inflammation, helping to treat and eliminate puffiness.
Vasoconstrictors are anything that causes veins to constrict. They can be applied topically, taken orally or through the use of cold temperatures. Vasoconstrictors primarily address the redness associated with puffy eyes by managing the flow of blood to the area.
Anti-inflammatory agents are effective in inhibiting the activity of enzymes, called cyclooxygenases. These enzymes respond to damage in the body by producing inflammatory chemicals known as prostaglandins. By disrupting this natural process, anti-inflammatory agents are able to prevent and reduce swelling and puffiness.
Cucumber juice contains a number of flavonoids, a type of phytochemical with several skin care benefits. The flavonoids found in cucumber—kaempferol, apigenin and quercetin— work as anti-inflammatory agents by disrupting the enzymes that naturally cause inflammation in the body. This leads to a reduction in swelling and puffiness when applied topically.
Placing cucumber slices over puffy eyes can relieve puffiness. Additionally, if the cucumber slices are cold, they can double as a cold compress, which helps to address puffiness through vasoconstriction.
- Cut two thick, half-inch slices from a refrigerated cucumber.
- Lie down and place one slice over each eye for 15 minutes.
Potatoes also contain phytochemicals to help combat puffy eyes. Like cucumbers, potatoes contain the flavonoids kaempferol and quercetin, and additional flavonoids—luteolin, myricetin and rutin—which all have anti-inflammatory properties.
Additionally, potatoes contain phenolic compounds including ferulic acid and caffeic acid—which also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Slicing washed raw potato rounds and placing them over your eyes, allows the phytochemicals to reduce swelling and puffiness in the surrounding area. Like cucumber slices, cold potato rounds can be used as a cold compress for vasoconstriction.
- Cut two thick, half-inch rounds off a refrigerated potato.
- Lie down and place one round over each eye for 15 minutes.
Green tea bags
There are anti-inflammatory flavonoids and tannins in green tea. Moreover, green tea contains caffeine, which reduces puffiness and redness due to its vasoconstrictive properties. If tea bags are allowed to cool, they can also act as a cold compress.
- Steep two green tea bags in cold water for 10 minutes.
- Lightly squeeze to remove excess water from each.
- Lie down and place one tea bag over each eye for 15 minutes.
Aloe vera has natural anti-inflammatory properties. While there are many aloe vera-based gels, lotions and creams available commercially, the plant itself can be used raw.
The green and spiky leaves of the aloe vera plant can be prepared and placed directly onto the skin or turned into a light topical gel for quick and easy application.
- Cut a leaf off the aloe vera plant near the base of the plant.
- Wash it and carefully remove the pointed ends of the leaf using a knife.
- Divide the leaf into 2–3 inch slices and peel off the leaf’s exterior to reveal the aloe gel.
- Lie down and place 1 piece of leaf over each eye for 15 minutes with the gel side down.
Alternatively, the gel can be scraped off of the aloe leaf and combined with water to make a smoother and lighter topical gel.
Egg whites are a popular but controversial natural under-eye topical.
While eggs whites have mild astringent properties which may help to tighten the area around the eyes and may work to reduce inflammation, the bacteria present in some raw eggs can have a serious impact on your health.
This method should generally be avoided if other options are available. If you choose to proceed, be sure to avoid contact with the eyes and to thoroughly rinse the area using a diluted antibacterial soap 15 minutes after application in order to minimize the potential risks of this treatment.
- Separate one pasteurized egg white.
- Using a cotton swab or small brush, apply the egg mixture to the skin around the eyes.
DIY Caffeine Topical for Puffy Eyes
Caffeine is believed to reduce puffiness through vasoconstriction, and is therefore the basis of many homemade eye topicals. This recipe for a simple caffeine oil uses only two ingredients:
- Warm a cup of coconut oil in a small pan over low heat.
- Add a tablespoon of coffee grounds and allow the mixture to infuse for 30 minutes.
- Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth.
- Once cool, dab the oil around the eye area.
There are many variations of this caffeine treatment. Some use cocoa butter or beeswax to create a firmer product, while others make use of essential oils for added effect.
Are Natural Treatments for Puffy Eyes Effective?
Natural treatment options like cucumber slices, tea bags, aloe vera and potato slices, contain compounds that have been proven to be effective puffy eye treatments. The vasoconstrictive, astringent and anti-inflammatory properties of certain natural treatments have a proven track record of improving puffy eyes and, in some cases, eliminating them altogether.
As opposed to other options, natural remedies have the added benefit of being relatively safe and tend to have few serious side effects aside from potential allergic reactions.
Many creams and over-the-counter (OTC) topical products made for the eye area contain additives that may cause irritation. By using simple natural treatments, you minimize the risk of your skin reacting to your puffy eye treatment.
Alternative Puffy Eye Remedies
Cold compresses reduce blood flow and help bring down swelling, and lifestyle changes can reduce or eliminate harmful habits that may cause puffy eyes.
A cold compress can be used to reduce swelling and include cool, damp washcloths or cold spoons.
A lack of sleep can contribute to the buildup of fluid beneath the eyes. Fluids naturally move in and out of tissue, particularly during sleep. A reduced sleep cycle may disrupt this process and lead to a buildup of fluid, causing puffiness.
A chronic lack of sleep may also impact the muscles around the eyes, contributing to sagging that can also lead to puffy eyes.
Most adults require 7–9 hours of sleep on a regular basis to feel properly rested and to minimize sleep-related eye puffiness.
Manage your stress levels
Elevated stress levels result in higher levels of cortisol in the bloodstream. This hormone alters the salt balance in your body, which can lead to water retention and puffiness.
Properly managing your stress levels by reducing your workload, practicing mindful meditation or through other changes to your daily routine, may help to reduce puffiness.
Many eye creams contain the same natural ingredients previously mentioned such as green tea and aloe vera. These ingredients are typically included to address puffiness and bolster the effectiveness of eye creams..
One of the most common ingredients in eye creams designed to reduce puffiness is vitamin C. This vitamin improves collagen production, helping to keep the area beneath the eyes tight and preventing fluids from pooling.
By refrigerating eye creams, they also provide a cooling vasoconstrictive effect that further reduces redness and puffiness.
Witch hazel can be applied to the skin below the eye using a cotton ball. After application, rinse off any remaining witch hazel. Throughout this process, avoid contact with the eyes as witch hazel can cause irritation to the eyes and a stinging sensation.
Some of the safest and most effective natural home remedies for puffy eyes are cucumber slices, aloe vera, raw potato and green tea bags. These, and OTC options such as witch hazel, can help reduce and eliminate puffy eyes through their astringent, vasoconstrictive and anti-inflammatory properties.
Lifestyle changes such as improved diet and getting enough sleep can also help you approach puffy eyes as preventative measures. Combining these changes with natural topical options may further improve your results.
Be sure to consult a dermatologist if your puffiness continues to get worse or if you feel pain around the eyes.
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