8 Causes Of Puffy Eyes And How To Get Rid Of Puffy Eyes
Whether you had a late night at work or had a few too many glasses of wine the night before, puffy eyes isn’t the best look, especially when it lasts the whole next day. But while it’s definitely annoying, the good news is that a little swelling around your peepers generally isn’t reason to be alarmed, says Dr. Mike Swann, a dermatologist at Swann Dermatology in Springfield, Missouri. It’s incredibly common, dermatologists say, and sometimes having puffy eyes just has to do with your anatomy (much of which is genetic).
“The shape of the bony structure of your face, including the orbital rim, or the area that holds your eyeballs, determines how much the tissue inside that rim projects outside of the plane of the face,” says Dr. Zenovia Gabriel, a dermatologist and hormonal skincare expert. And for most people, the pillow of fat that cushions the eyeballs tends the stick out more over time, since the muscle that attaches it to the skull loosens with age, Dr. Gabriel explains. You end up seeing that layer of fat, aka the puffiness, more prominently.
These natural changes won’t come out of nowhere though, and if your eyes are suddenly way puffier than they’ve ever been, there may be something else to blame. Here are the common culprits, and what tips and products you can use to fight the puffiness.
1. You didn’t sleep well last night.
We know you know this already, but it bears repeating: A bad night’s sleep could make your eyes appear swollen in the morning, especially if you’re stressed. “When you’re under stress, you release cortisol from your adrenal glands, and that changes the salt balance in the body,” says Swann. Because your salt balance is off, you might retain water and swell.
2. It’s allergy season.
Puffy eyes are a common symptom associated with seasonal allergies. When you have an allergy, your body goes into full-on attack mode by releasing histamine into your system. In some cases, when histamine releases into the skin, it causes a hive-like reaction, especially around the eye area, says Swann.
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3. It’s that time of the month.
Blame it on PMS! Similar to how the rest of your body bloats during your monthly cycle, your eyes can retain water as well because of higher levels of hormones, says Swann. Like belly bloat, eye swelling caused by your period generally goes away after a few days.
4. You were crying.
We know it’s a no-brainer, but here’s the science behind it: Puffiness from crying is a result of your eyes’ lacrimal glands working overtime to produce tears. “When this gland is churning out tears, the [tear] fluid is less salty and more watery,” says Swann. “Differences in salt concentration between these tears and the surrounding tissues causes some swelling of the eyelid.”
5. You overdid it at happy hour.
The eyes are vulnerable to many small changes in diet, says Swann. Alcohol, for example, could cause your body to get dehydrated and make your eyes dry, too. People who eat a lot of salty foods can also retain water in their eye area, which gives them a little puffiness.
6. You have a thyroid problem.
Most of the time, puffy eyes aren’t a big deal, but they can be a side effect of a bigger health issue. “Patients with some types of hyperthyroidism can get thickening of the fat around their eyes, causing puffy eyes,” says Swann. “Puffy eyelids can also be seen in lupus, dermatomyositis, and other connective tissue diseases.”
7. You’re stuffed up.
When you’re sick with a cold, your eyes will naturally look puffier. That’s because the cavities that drain fluid out of your face are blocked with sinus congestion, so the eyes have a puffy look to them, explains Dr. Gabriel. Chronic sinus congestion is a bit more complicated, and it’s best to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist to treat it.
8. You’re not moving enough.
“If you’re too sedentary, you can have fluid retention,” Dr. Gabriel says. If you’re sick or injured especially and laying down often, fluid can collect in your face. In this case, it’s a good idea to sleep as upright as possible so that fluid can drain. Also, Dr. Gabriel suggests moving around and exercising regularly to boost circulation and get fluid out of the face on those especially puffy days.