Puffy eyes, or baggy eyes, can come from an excess of crying and or a lack of sleep.
The condition is easily treated with cold compresses, cucumber applications, witch hazel rubs and topical creams.
Puffy eyes usually resolve within a day, but persistently puffy eyes can point to a more serious underlying condition such as allergies, kidney failure or thyroid disease.
Puffy eyes — or bags under the eyes — is a condition where the lower part of your eye swells. It is common in old age but can also occur because of excess crying and too little sleeping.
Although it’s not a severe condition, it affects your appearance, and it can look more serious than it is.
Common Causes of Puffy Eyes
Puffy eyes typically occur as you get older since the tissues around your eyes weaken. Additionally, you will have puffy eyes because of fat deposits around the lower eyelids. Other causes of puffy eyes include:
- Lack of enough sleep
- Smoking tobacco
- Taking in excess salts
Puffy Eyes after Crying
Crying can lead to the sore, red and swelled eyes. But some tears are more causative than others, particularly those that are tied to emotional crying. Reasons why tears cause puffiness:
- You cry too many tears for you to handle. You may produce more tears than what your eyes’ drainage system can take. The body will thus retain some of the tears in the tissues in the lower eyelids as it tries to reabsorb them, causing puffiness of the eyes.
- The content of your tears has less salt. Unlike other tears, emotional tears have little salt (sodium). When you shed these tears, it gets absorbed in surrounding tissue with high salt concentration, which can cause puffy eyes.
Treatment for Crying-Related Puffiness
Among the treatment options for puffy eyes are cold cucumbers, witch hazel and topical creams.
Applying cucumber at the base of your eyes is a common remedy for ridding your eyes of puffiness. The cucumber’s high water content and anti-inflammatory effects can reduce swellings such as puffy eyes.
It’s a plant extract commonly used for treating skin pruritus (itchiness), but it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. That means it can reduce inflammation, such as those caused by puff eyes.
Some topical eye creams, such as Fexofenadine, effectively control puffy eyes after crying. They reduce swelling and dark circles around your eyes.
Puffy Eyes After Sleeping
Sleeping can also lead to bags under the eyes. When you sleep, your eyes continue to make tears, but they don’t drain away because you’ve shut them.
Retained tears get absorbed by tissues around your eyes, causing puffiness.
Treatment for Puffy Eyes After Sleeping
To get rid of puffy eyes after sleep, do the following:
1. Get Enough Sleep
Sleeping fewer hours than recommended leads to fluid retention, which causes eye swells. Aim at getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Reduce your food intake during the night, which affects the quality of sleep you get.
2. Elevate Your Head
Sleeping with your head slightly raised will help reduce fluid retention in your eyes. A simple way of doing this is by using an extra pillow.
3. Use Cool Compresses
Doctors usually use ice or cool compress to reduce eye swell. The technique can also help reduce puffy eyes after sleep. The cooling effect of the cloth will help reduce the swelling around the eyes.
Tips on How to Get Rid of Puffy
Puffy eyes usually disappear after a few hours without medication. But due to its effects on your facial appearance, you might want to get rid of them fast. There are home-made and medical treatment options:
- Hydration. Dehydration can cause puffiness around your eyes. Drink at least eight glasses of water daily to drain excess toxins that can cause eye swells.
- Moisturizer. To give your skin a sound moisture barrier. The barrier will help prevent allergens from getting into the skin and causing eye puffs.
- Beauty products. Use eye-rollers to massage the tissue around your eyes and get rid of the puffy eyes.
- No yo-yo diets. Yo-yo diets are ones in which you lose weight then regain it from eating excess foods. The diet causes fat redistribution around your face and can cause puffy eyes.
Could Puffy Eyes Mean an Underlying Condition?
Puffy eyes usually clear after some time but only if it is because of a normal occurrence. If it is persistent, it could be a sign of an underlying eye condition, such as:
- Kidney failure
- Thyroid eye disease (inflammation of eyelids and eye muscles)
- The first sign of whole-body edema (swelling)
- Blocked tears ducts (blepharitis)
There are several preventive measures you can try to keep puffy eyes at bay. Firstly, reduce your salt intake, which will facilitate the removal of fluids around your eyes.
Allergies are another common cause of puffy eyes. Treating the allergies will therefore help prevent eye bags. It is also essential to avoid taking alcohol to prevent puffy eyes. It makes your body lose water, causing eye puffiness.
Bags Under the Eyes. (August 2021). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Emotional tears. (July 2009). Ophthalmologe.
Cucumber’s phytochemical and therapeutic potential. (2013 January). Fitoterapia, Vol 84., Pages 227-236.
Anti-inflammatory and potential antioxidant activity of extracts and formulations of witch hazel, rose, and white tea on primary human dermal fibroblast cells. (October 2011). Journal of Inflammation.
Topical Treatment of Under Eye Dark Circles and Swelling. (2015 February). ClinicalTrials.gov.
Cues of Fatigue: Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Facial Appearance. (2013 September). Sleep, Volume 36, Issue 9, Pages 1355-1360.
Ice compresses to aid the reduction of swelling and pain after scleral buckling surgery. (2016 November). Journal of Clinical Nursing.
How to Get Rid of Bags Under Your Eyes. (April 2021). Cleveland Clinic.
Eyelid Edema. (February 2007). Seminars in Plastic Surgery.
Alcohol: How Drinking Alcohol Affects Your Skin. (April 2020). MedicineNet.
Last Updated April 20, 2022
Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.