Puffy eyes are common to us all but are friends to none. Whilst many factors contribute to puffy eyes, there are equally as many things that you can do to manage them – welcome news during hangover season and the new year struggle!
What causes puffy eyes?
Bags under the eyes (also known as puffy eyes or periorbital oedema) is the mild swelling we get around the eyes from fluid build-up. They become more common as we age and the levels of collagen within the skin begins to decrease.
As we know, collagen is the key connective tissue in the skin that helps to support its structure, keeping the skin firm and plump. When levels decrease, the result is loose, sagging skin, which creates a perfect space for fluid to accumulate.
How to prevent puffy eyes
Whilst puffy eyes are often down to factors we can’t change (i.e., our age and our genetics), there are tonnes of other things that can also contribute, which we can tackle head-on with actions such as: avoiding allergens, getting a good night’s sleep, reducing salt intake and preventing infection.
So, what’s salt got to do with it? Salt is an osmotic which helps to grab water and hold it within the skin, making it a friend to puffy eyes. Reducing your intake can therefore help to contribute to less puff and more picture-perfect brightness around the eye area.
Other actions you can take include consuming antihistamines (particularly if you’re prone to allergies), and improving hygiene when it comes to contact lenses, so as not to introduce bacteria and infection to the eyes.
As well as this, you must always handle your under eyes with care; the skin that surrounds your eyes is the most delicate on your entire body. Avoid harsh rubbing and instead use your ring finger when applying eye creams; this is your weakest finger and therefore the gentlest.
How to manage puffy eyes
Once puffy under eyes have formed, there are still lots of things you can do to help the situation.
For starters, you’ll want to use SPF underneath your eyes every day. Ultraviolet radiation exacerbates collagen breakdown and so to prevent this, you should reach for a broad spectrum, high sun-protection factor SPF. I like the following:
As well as SPF, you can use retinol, caffeine and hyaluronic acid products underneath the eyes; these are all ingredients that can help drastically.
Retinol speeds up skin cell turnover, which helps to reduce any hyperpigmentation (that makes puffy eyes look worse). Caffeine on the other hand helps to constrict the blood vessels around the eyes, which prevents fluid from seeping out of the vessels and building up under the eyes. Lastly, hyaluronic acid helps to hydrate the skin around the eyes.
My advice would to be to try a hyaluronic or caffeine-based formula in your AM routine, and a retinol at night-time (as the ingredient causes sun sensitivity). Additionally, you can invest in eye masks for round-the-clock usage.
Lastly, to effectively manage puffy eyes, you can try a cold compress around the area to cool and soothe.
Cryotherapy globes can help to constrict the blood vessels around the eyes or reduce any inflammation. Placing these (or even cold spoons) in the fridge and applying them can work wonders, particularly first thing in the morning or before a big event.
Puffy under eyes are caused by both genetics and your environment. A combination of a great skincare routine, sun protection and avoidance of environmental triggers will help you reduce the effects for brighter, happier skin. Hangover season, be gone!