Puffy Eye Remedies: What Works, What Doesn’t Work

If you’re tired of looking into the mirror and seeing swollen, puffy eyes or are sick of people telling you how tired you look, you’ve probably tried a number of puffy eye remedies, but if you’re still seeing those swollen eye bags, it’s time to take a look at what really works, and what doesn’t.

First, what not to do.

Warm tea bags. Placing warm tea bags on your eyes is often recommended by well-meaning friends, but did you know that can actually make puffiness worse?

Preparation H. Using hemorrhoid ointment is another common myth. While it might decrease swelling a little, experts say it could irritate the eyes or even cause an allergic reaction in delicate under-eye skin, making the condition worse than it was to begin with.

Astringents. Astringents like witch hazel won’t address the problem, but they’ll probably cause irritation and dryness.

Sleeping while sitting up. Apparently some people have tried this, but not surprisingly, it’s so uncomfortable that you’re not likely to sleep well, which contributes to dark circles, making those puffy eyes even more noticeable.

Expensive, or inexpensive creams. No matter how much money you’re willing to spend, there isn’t a cream or lotion out there that’s been proven to shrink the fat pads under the eyes, according to dermatologists.

So, what does work?

Following an anti-inflammatory diet can help, particularly eliminating or limiting sugar, as sugar causes inflammation throughout the body. It’s more noticeable under the eyes because that delicate skin is thin and especially prone to swelling. Keep in mind that processed foods, including packaged and baked goods as well as fast food, contributes to inflammation as well.

Eliminate aerosols. Stopping the use of aerosol sprays, like hair spray, can also help. Those tiny aerosol particles are notorious for landing on the eyelids and irritating the skin. Associate professor of dermatology at UNC at Chapel Hill Brooke Jackson, MD, says hairspray is the worst offender. Other sprays can also cause problems, including deodorant, room freshener and body mists, which often contain a host of chemicals and tend to be irritants, particularly for people sensitive to allergy triggers, such as pollen and dust.

If your puffy eyes are the result of drinking alcohol, which causes blood vessels to dilate resulting in extra blood under the eyes, a cool compress using green tea bags can help as the tea contains antioxidants that act as anti-inflammatories. The caffeine also constricts blood vessels which counteracts the alcohol effects.

While sleeping sitting up isn’t a good idea, you can try sleeping with your head slightly elevated. As long as your head is above your heart, it helps to increase circulation and prevent fluid from pooling in your head and face.

Remember, the best beauty regimen is taking care of your body through a nutritious diet, regular exercise, quality sleep and practicing de-stressing techniques. Living a healthy lifestyle like this almost always shows up inside and out.