Waking up in the morning with swollen puffy eyes and dark circles under them is not an ideal way to start your day. Puffy eyes (medical name periorbital edema) can send out a completely wrong message about your lifestyle and habits, and make you look like somebody who is not very healthy and balanced.
There are many reasons for unsightly eye bags, ranging from allergies and lack of sleep to genetic factors that you can’t do so much about. Luckily, there are many simple and scientifically proven ways to treat puffy eyes and make you regain your healthy-looking and glowing appearance.
Causes of Puffy Eyes
Some reasons behind baggy eyes are more obvious than others.
It’s hardly surprising to have swollen and red eyes if you had a late night, little sleep or you are harboring a hangover.
Allergies and chronic sinusitis can be another culprit behind puffy eyes (periorbital edema). And then there is also stress and different modern-day habits, such as staring at the computer screen for prolonged periods of time.
Some factors you might not associate immediately with excessively swollen eyes. These include a bad diet dominated by salty foods and hormonal changes.
Also, different irritants that you put on your body can play a role in developing eye bags, such as chemicals found in perfumes, cosmetics and detergents.
And then there are some who are just prone to puffy eyes. Genetics can sometimes be blamed for having to put up with black circles day after day.
Effective Natural Treatments For Puffy Eyes Backed by Scientific Studies
Most people wouldn’t think that the same ingredient that’s used to brew their morning cup of coffee could also help to get rid of dark circles and baggy puffiness from their eyes—but it can. The secret ingredient is caffeine.
Caffeinated ingredients are generally consumed for their energy-boosting properties, but when you apply caffeine to your skin, something interesting happens: the caffeine acts as an anti-inflammatory treatment, and also has antioxidant properties.
According to a scientific study, caffeine pad containing vitamin K in an Emu oil base was found to reduce wrinkles and dark circles around the eyes. The medical study concluded that “the anti-wrinkle pad is effective and safe to use for the management of under eye skin wrinkles, and the efficacy of this pad can be seen in three weeks.”
Caffeine constricts the blood vessels just below the skin, thereby reducing the “puffiness” of bags under your eyes which can reduce swelling and even help to normalize skin tone.
This means that topical application of caffeine can help rid your eyes of unwanted puffiness and dark circles—and you don’t even have to take up a coffee-drinking habit to get this benefit.
How to Use Coffee Mixture for Eye Bags
Ground coffee beans, black peppercorns, a few drops of water and a dab of coconut oil are the key ingredients needed to use this method.
The oil acts as a vehicle for the oils contained within the coffee and pepper, helping to spread the natural ingredients evenly across the under-eye area. Blend the following into the palm of your hand using your finger:
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground coffee beans
- 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- A few drops of water
Apply this mixture in equal proportions to the area below each lower eyelid, taking care not to get any of the mixture into the eye itself (which would sting!).
Leave this mask on for 5 to 10 minutes or until you begin to feel it drying.
Dampen a soft cloth or cotton puff with water and gently wipe away the mask. Then go on about your day looking renewed and refreshed!
Watch the video at the end of this article for a demonstration.
Cucumber slices are probably the most famous natural cure for puffy eyes and it has become a sort of a beauty ritual.
A scientific study reported that cucumber contains flavonoids and tannins that can help tighten the skin and reduce puffiness. Tannins are natural astringents that can help to reduce the appearance of puffy skin and diffuse excess fluid under the skin that is making your under-eye area appear swollen.
How to use cucumbers to get rid of puffy eyes
Slice the cucumber, put the slices in a plastic bag and freeze them. Lie down on a pillow and place the frozen cucumber slices over your eyes for about 10 minutes. Cucumbers contain antioxidants which ease the irritation, while the cooling effect helps reduce the swelling.
You can read my article about 10 reasons to use cucumbers on your eyes to find out what research says about the many benefits of applying cucumbers on your eyes.
According to medical studies, the caffeine in black and green tea can reduce puffiness and swelling around the eyes.
One clinical study found that certain types of herbal teas can increase skin moisturization and smoothness and reduce roughness and wrinkles.
Black and green tea contain flavonoids which are natural antioxidants. A medical study reported that green and black tea have anti inflammatory properties.
How to use tea bags to reduce puffy eyes
You can use either green or black tea for this treatment. Green tea contains more antioxidants and will probably be more effective at reducing the irritation. It also has amazing health benefits.
Some herbal teas can be used as well, such as chamomile tea which is known for its many health benefits.
Other herbal teas that can be helpful for reducing puffy eyes are rooibos tea and eyberight.
- Steep the bags as you would for brewing a cup of tea, then press the excess liquid from the bags with your fingers.
- Refrigerate the bags until they are cool to the touch.
- Put the tea bags over your eyes while lying down. Leave them there for 10 to 15 minutes. You can repeat the process a few times a day.
- This can be done several times per week to keep under-eye circles and bags in check the natural way, without resorting to make-up to disguise the issue.
Don’t throw the used tea bags as there are a lot of other things you can do with your used tea bags – read about the 14 great uses for used tea bags.
Apply ice to reduce puffiness
Applying ice under your eyes can reduce puffiness because ice causes the blood vessels to tighten and reduces the swelling.
According to a scientific study, local ice compress can reduce swelling around the eyes.
How to use ice compress to get rid of eye bags
Wrap the ice cubes in a towel and press against your eyes for a few minutes.
If you are in a hurry, a splash of cold water can have a similar effect. Rinse your face with cold water and enjoy the sensation of coldness as it wakes you up and tightens your eyes.
Witch hazel may help to reduce puffy eyes
Witch hazel is a natural skin tightening astringent and it is also a popular anti acne treatment.
One medical study found that a witch hazel extract reduced swelling.
How to use witch hazel to get rid of eye bags
Apply a few drops of witch hazel under your eyes with a brush or a soft cloth and let it dry. You don’t need to wash it.
Aloe vera plant is rich in antioxidants and vitamin E, which sooth and nourish the skin and also help to reduce wrinkles (read more about its benefits for great skin here). It is also one of the best natural treatments for dry skin around the eyes.
Medical research has shown that aloe vera has an astringent effect that helps tighten pores. Aloe vera cream can also improve the elasticity of your skin which helps to reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles.
How to use aloe vera gel to improve puffy eyes and dark circles
It is best if you get some fresh leaves, open them up and use the gel. Apply it gently under the eyes and make sure it doesn’t get into the eyes. The act of massaging by itself will reduce the swelling, as you improve blood circulation and help with the removal of fluids.
Aloe vera is a common medicinal herb and is useful for other ailments, not just for the skin. If you want to learn more about aloe vera as well as other herbs, you can find more useful information in my e-book the Herbal Remedies Guide. This guide will teach you how to treat common ailments using herbs.
When puffiness is connected with the buildup of lymphatic fluid, an eye massage can do the trick.
A medical study claims that “cleansing and massage of the eyelids, is well accepted in the management of many disorders of the eyelid.”
Another scientific study claims that massage could be helpful in reducing swelling and puffiness.
How to massage your eyes to reduce under eye puffiness
Gently massage the area around your eyes with your fingers. Use circular movements. Do this for a few minutes in the morning. Or, have a little respite during the day to help your eyes relax when you start feeling tired.
Other Things You Should Consider to Prevent Puffy Eyes and Dark Circles
There are other things that can help you keep your eyes fresh and healthy:
Stay hydrated. If you don’t drink enough water throughout the day, the body will start storing it around your eyes as a reservoir for rainy days. When you don’t drink sufficient amounts of water, puffy eyes can be a direct result of this. Make sure you drink six to eight 8-ounces glasses each day (1.5 to 2 liters of water per day). In addition to puffy eyes, dehydration has 11 other downsides.
Avoid excessive salt in your diet, as it can cause fluid retention. A medical study found that under eye bags or dark circles under the eyes can be caused by excessive salt consumption.
Observe if your eyes become irritated when you wear a certain hair spray or after putting on makeup. Avoid chemical irritants and go for natural products that are less likely to cause adverse reactions.
Take a break when you work and let your eyes rest.
Use two pillows to prop your head a bit higher when you sleep. Elevation prevents the fluid from accumulating around your eyes.
Don’t rub your eyes rigorously. You’ll just create a vicious cycle. Avoid touching your eyes, unless it’s to give them a gentle massage.