You’ve been crying. You haven’t had a good night’s sleep. Your allergies are acting up. Whatever the cause, the effect is the same: tired, puffy, red eyes. It can happen to all of us for a number of reasons, some less well known than others. Fortunately, there are things you can do to get some relief from those unsightly browns, greens, or blues.
The area around the eye is the most sensitive part of the face. Only half the regular number of layers of dermis separate the elements from the delicate blood vessels, nerves, and tear ducts. Eyes are prone to dryness, since they have fewer oil glands, but also to redness and puffiness from inflammation, since they are full of blood vessels. And properly treating the eyes is a delicate business. Before you start looking for a cure, however, you have to identify the most likely cause.
The Puffiness Problem
As discussed, many factors can result in eye puffiness, some more easy to cure than others.
Bloating. Too much alcohol or salt can cause your body to retain water everywhere, including the soft tissue surrounding the eye. Because the area is so delicate, the effects are more dramatic and can show up overnight.
Crying. Producing tears is strenuous on the eyes, causing swollen tissue or broken blood vessels.
Blood Pressure. High blood pressure pushes fluids into the tissues around the eye area.
Stress. Hormones released from stress can irritate the eyes.
Allergies. Sneezing, congestion, and watery eyes cause under-eye swelling.
Heredity. If your family all have puffy eyes, chances are good that you’ll inherit them as well.
The Soothing Solution
Once you know why your eyes are puffy and seemingly miserable, it’s much easier to treat the problem (rather than the symptom!) Counteract each of the above problems with one of these quick and easy solutions:
Hydrate! Nearly every cause of puffiness can be counteracted with lots of water. A good daily intake of water flushes toxins from the eye area and relieves water-retention from the face.
Chill! The best way to fight inflammation is to soothe it with cold. Cold cucumber slices, cold tea bags, wet cotton balls, or a cold washcloth provide instant relief from discomfort and will eventually reduce redness. If you’re in a hurry, try splashing ice cold water on your face.
Medicate! If you suffer from allergies, take an antihistamine to relieve some of that extra pressure from your sinus cavities and, thus, your eye area.
Moisturize! Specially formulated eye creams, especially those containing caffeine, cucumber, yeast, aloe, or vitamin E will soothe your symptoms.
Surgery. If puffiness is hereditary and other treatments have not worked, there are surgical options available. Blepharoplasty is a common procedure, where excess skin and fat are removed from around the eyes. This can be a very expensive option, and should only be considered if there are no alternative treatments that will provide relief.
Eye puffiness should be a temporary condition and it will eventually go away on its own, even without treatment. If your eyes are chronically puffy or red, and none of the basic treatments are helpful, consult a physician.