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Whether it’s lack of sleep, stress, or environment, your eyes can be sensitive to puffiness and dark circles. 

We have all tried the drugstore concoctions and expensive creams to try to eliminate our puffy under-eye bags before a work meeting or dinner date – but the only way to help reduce puffiness and dark circles is to understand where it is stemming from. 

Roshni Patel, BSC (Hons) MCOptom reveals the truth behind bags under our eyes, the causes of them, and some advice on how to help reduce them.

Puffy eye bags
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1. Fluid retention

Fluid retention can become more of a problem as we age. The skin under the eyelid becomes thinner and can result in puffy eyes.

This can be especially more noticeable in the morning and can be prominent after having a salty meal, which causes greater fluid retention in the body. 

2. Allergies

Pollen, dust, and pet allergies are common reasons why people suffer from puffy eye bags. If you are not sure which is causing it, you can get an appointment with your GP who may refer you to an allergy clinic. This will help determine the cause and hopefully reduce your exposure to the allergen. 

3. Smoking

Smoking can contribute towards puffy eye bags as the nicotine found in cigarettes disrupts sleep patterns. This does not only lead to tiredness but also a build-up of fluids as your body has not had a chance to fully rest and restore.

Puffy eye bags
Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels

Smoking also breaks down skin elasticity and collagen production reduces which can cause the skin to look puffy or sag. 

4. A Hereditary Condition

Unfortunately for some, puffy under eyes is not to do with their outside environment but is a hereditary condition. Autoimmune conditions are also known to cause puffy under the eyes. If you do have a family history of puffy under-eye bags, people do find cold compresses in the morning, or before you go out can reduce the appearance temporarily. 

5. Sun Exposure

Much like when we burn, our bodies are defending our skin from further damage. If your eyes are suffering from too much sun exposure, then the natural response is inflammatory – this is your body’s way of trying to protect your eyes. Sun damage and excess heat commonly cause swelling and puffiness. 

6. Eczema

For those living with eczema, the winter air can make puffy eyes considerably worse – this is due to the dry air. Atopic dermatitis can occur, causing irritation around the eyes and eyelid, this can lead to puffiness as the skin’s natural defense mechanism is to protect your eyes. 

So, How Can We Remedy Our Puffy Eye Bags? 

Longer and More Consistent Sleep

lack of rest is the most common reason for eye bags, but sleeping efficiently with regular hours can contribute to a healthier lifestyle in general.

Use Antihistamines

Allergies can sometimes result in puffy eyes. By taking antihistamines, you can reduce the effects of the allergy, including puffiness.

Reduce stress

Stress can lead to worse sleep and puffy eyes. Dealing with it with options like exercise and lifestyle decisions can help protect your mental health, and reduce the toll on your body.

Eat Less Salt and Have More Iron-Rich Food:

Salt encourages fluid retention in the body and can result in fluid build-up under the eyes. A reduction in salt intake may assist with reducing puffiness. For those that struggle with anemia, eating iron-rich foods may also help to reduce symptoms as they allow the increase of oxygen to reach the tissues in your body and avoid the appearance of dark circles.

Remember To Take Your Makeup Off Before Bed

After a long day, it’s important to wash your face and remove all makeup before going to sleep. Leaving eye makeup on overnight can irritate your eyes and as a result, can increase your chances of infection which can make your eyes become red and puffy.

Cold or Caffeinated Compress

Caffeine and cold can both help to lessen the appearance of bags under the eyes. A cool green tea bag applied under the eyes may reduce puffiness.

Reduce Your Alcohol Intake

Dehydration can lead to dark circles under your eyes and bags, so cutting out or reducing your intake of alcohol which contributes to dehydration may help relieve this appearance.

Use Sun Cream

Heliocare 360° Age Active Fluid SPF 50

Sun exposure can accelerate the effects of aging and ultimately lead to bags under the eyes as the tissues weaken. Use sun cream to protect your body from UV rays.

Include Retinol Cream In Your Everyday Skin Routine 

NATURE WELL Clinical Retinol Advanced Moisture Cream

Retinol is a cream that’s been used to tackle acne, aging, psoriasis, and even certain cancers. It is an ingredient that is related to vitamin A. Retinol can help tackle eye bags when applied to the skin. It can improve collagen deficiency. It is typically applied in a cream-gel or liquid form and is applied once a day.

Stay Hydrated 

Dehydration can be a significant factor in experiencing under-eye bags. It’s important we are keeping our water levels replenished each day, with experts recommending drinking around 13 cups of fluids a day for men and 9 for women.

Puffy eye bags
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
Roshni Patel BSC (Hons) MCOptom

Roshni Patel BSC (Hons) MCOptom

Roshni Patel BSc (Hons) MCOptom Optometrist and Professional Services Manager Roshni Patel BSC (Hons) MCOptom is an Optometrist and the Professional Services Manager at Lenstore. Her team is responsible for developing and delivering a bespoke Clinical Training and Induction Program for the Customer Services Team. They also support and guide all departments within the business from a clinical standpoint. Roshni is passionate about exploring efficiency in Optometry through the use of technology and is currently involved in research and innovation, both within and outside of the optical sector. Having qualified as an Optometrist in 2004, she began her career at Vision Express, which included numerous high pressured and rewarding roles. Her 16 years there gave her the eclectic mix of both clinical and commercial aspects of Optometry. Roshni also has experience in the training and development of Pre-Registration Optometrists having held roles within the university sector, as well as with The College of Optometrists - the latter still being something she is very much involved in.


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