What is under eye puffiness?
Puffiness and darkening of the skin under the eyes (dark circles) are common and create cosmetic concerns. It occurs on both sides. If these features are only seen on one side, it requires immediate medical attention because it might be due to trauma or a serious underlying condition related to the eye and/or structures around the eye. Dark circles and puffiness appear in men and women. They are more common in adults and rarely seen in children.
Home remedies to treat under eye puffiness
Under eye puffiness may take time to resolve. Often, they are a result of stressful schedules, eye strain, eye allergies or even hormonal changes. Treatment of under eye puffiness and dark circles involves medical treatment and natural remedies. Home remedies can temporarily reduce under eye puffiness. Home remedies alone may not provide long-term satisfactory aesthetic results. A combination of medical and at-home treatment would be necessary. Appropriate home care, lifestyle modifications and follow-ups with the physician would be required to prevent recurrence. Some effective home remedies include
- Cold compresses: Placing an ice pack, chilled cucumber slices and chilled tea bags on the under eye area reduces swelling by shrinking blood vessels in the area.
- Hemorrhoid creams: Over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams contain ingredients such as phenylephrine to shrink blood vessels and reduce swelling. They may irritate sensitive under eye skin. In case of allergic reactions, they should be discontinued. Apply the cream with caution and do not put it into your eyes.
- Caffeine: Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor. It can constrict the blood vessels under the eye to reduce under eye puffiness. Make a paste with ground coffee and cold water and apply it under the eyes. Honey and natural oils such as almond oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil or pure vitamin E oil may be added to the mixture. There are several OTC products to treat under eye puffiness that contain caffeine.
- Hydration: Hydrating the skin under the eyes reduces puffiness and dark circles. Using a good moisturizer and under eye cream can help. You can also apply natural oils such as almond oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil or pure vitamin E oil to your under eye area.
Lifestyle modifications to reduce and prevent under eye puffiness
- Getting an average of seven to eight hours of sleep per day
- Eating a healthy diet, taking nutritional supplements and maintaining adequate hydration
- Applying sunscreen, using sunglasses, carrying an umbrella or wearing a hat can prevent sun damage
- Reducing eye strain by taking breaks from the computer, phone or TV and avoiding reading in dim lighting
- Avoiding smoking, drug abuse and excessive alcohol consumption
Many aesthetic medical treatments require multiple sessions to achieve satisfactory results. Home care and lifestyle modifications are essential to maintain results. Your doctor can recommend an appropriate treatment plan based on the severity of the condition. It is also important to have realistic goals.
- Under eye gels: Gels to reduce puffiness and dark circles containing calendula, aloe vera, mulberry extract and vitamin C may be available over-the-counter (OTC).
- Sunscreen: Always apply sunscreen on your face before you venture out.
- Chemical peels: Light chemical peels are usually used because the under eye area is thin and sensitive. Common peels include glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, etc. Chemical peels should be performed by a licensed physician or aesthetician. Doing chemical peels at home without expert supervision could lead to serious complications such as chemical skin burns, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, allergic reaction and chemical injury to the eyes.
- Lasers: Several lasers are available to reduce under eye puffiness and lighten dark circles. Some have additional benefits of reducing wrinkles and encouraging collagen growth.
- Injectable fillers: Fillers made from body fat and hyaluronic acid collagen are injected by a doctor into the region where the under eye area and cheek meet to create a smooth transition. Fillers may also be injected in the under eye area to counteract volume loss, reduce wrinkles, reduce shadows and brighten up the area.
- Blepharoplasty: This is a surgical procedure where fat under the lower eye area is readjusted and the muscle and skin are tightened to create a smooth appearance. It also reduces the appearance of dark circles due to the shadows cast by the excess fat under the eyes.
- Treatment of underlying medical conditions such as allergies and sinus infections.
- Treatment of skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema.
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