How Do I Reduce Puffy Eyes?

B. Miller

Puffy eyes can occur for a number of reasons, including allergies, eating too much salt, or from crying, among others. It is usually possible, though, to reduce puffy eyes at least slightly with a few simple steps. One of the best ways to target puffy eyes is with a cool compress; this can be something as simple as a cool wash cloth or a dedicated eye mask that is put in the refrigerator to cool off. Increasing water in-take as well can help to reduce the amount of salt in the body, and help prevent retaining water. Certain allergy medications can also help to reduce puffy eyes too, in addition to other symptoms like sinus congestion.

Wearing a chilled eye mask can help reduce puffy eyes.
Wearing a chilled eye mask can help reduce puffy eyes.

Before you can reduce puffy eyes you need to determine why it is happening. A diet high in salt is a common cause of puffy eyes, because it causes the body to retain water. Cutting back on salt and drinking more water, though it might seem illogical, is one of the best ways to reduce puffy eyes. In addition, the way you sleep can play a role in causing puffy eyes. Sleeping on a very low pillow can cause the eyes to swell at night, so sleeping at a slight angle might help; it is also important to be sure to get six to eight hours of sleep each night to prevent tired, swollen eyes the next day.

Wearing sunglasses that protect against UV rays can help protect the skin around the eyes from sun damage.
Wearing sunglasses that protect against UV rays can help protect the skin around the eyes from sun damage.

Seasonal allergies, or other allergies, are a frequent culprit of puffy eyes as well, which can often be addressed with antihistamines. It is also important to make sure that your face products aren't causing the puffy eyes due to an allergic reaction, however. Take note of any new creams or cosmetic products you may be using that could be causing the problem, and always be sure to wash the face and remove eye makeup before bed at the end of the day, as this can be very irritating.

Drinking water to ease water retention.
Drinking water to ease water retention.

A way to quickly reduce puffy eyes from crying is to put a cold compress on the face, or splash the eyes with cold water, as this helps to constrict blood vessels. A cold wash cloth, ice pack, or even chilled tea bags, or cucumber slices can all accomplish this quite well. Some people find that gently tapping on the area around the eyes with the fingertips can help to drain the fluid. To prevent puffy eyes from too much sun exposure, be sure to always wear sunglasses when going outside as well.

Allergies may cause puffy eyes.
Allergies may cause puffy eyes.
Ice packs help constrict blood vessels to reduce puffy eyes.
Ice packs help constrict blood vessels to reduce puffy eyes.

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Discussion Comments


I'm suffering from sunburned eyes right now. I'm thinking about what is the only thing different. I went to the beach and wore sunglasses a majority of the time, but still woke up with extremely puffy, swollen eyes.


If my eyes swell after I mow the yard, I know that it is because of my allergies. Taking a couple of antihistamines helps the swelling go down.

However, they swell most often because I don't get enough sleep. I get woken up by my dogs several times during the night, and my husband tosses and turns so much that he wakes me up a lot, as well. I am not able to complete my sleep cycles.

So, I have learned that laying a very cold cloth across my eyes for a couple of minutes makes me look more alert. Also, if I have any cucumber in the refrigerator, I will cut a couple of thin slices and lay them over my eyes for awhile. Both methods work, although the cucumber has been known to burn just a little.


@Perdido – Caffeine is very effective at taking out the puffiness. It is naturally dehydrating, and it can constrict your blood vessels.

However, I didn't want to spend a fortune on eye cream containing caffeine when I had plenty of other sources at home. I learned that you can use a tea bag to reduce puffy eyes.

You have to steep it in hot water first, just like you are going to make the tea. I used a black tea bag, because it is rich in caffeine. I cooled it in chilled water before putting it on my face.

It sucked the swelling out of my undereye area. I have started saving my tea bags after I make a pitcher of tea for this very purpose.


Every time that I have had puffy eyes in the morning, it has been from crying the night before. I always hate it when something makes me cry at night, because I know that my eyes will tell all the next day.

I was going through a bad time, and I didn't want everyone at work to keep asking me questions because of my puffy eyes. I looked into eye creams to reduce puffiness, and I found one that was specifically designed for people who had been crying.

It contained caffeine, which was supposed to zap the puffiness. I got some and put it on in the morning, and it did reduce the swelling. My eyes still looked a little swollen, but they were far better than before I had used the cream.


Wow, I can't imagine having puffy eyes from sunburn. That must be incredibly painful!

I know we are supposed to wear sunglasses when we are out in the sun, but I don't want to get funny tan lines, so I wear them about half the time that I spend outdoors. To keep from getting puffy or sunburned eyes, I apply a high SPF sunscreen to my eyelids and the area under my eyes.

Sometimes, the sunscreen will drip down into my eyes, and this is very painful. I have learned to rub it in really well and wipe any excess off with a towel.

I never want to know what it feels like to have puffy, sunburned eyes, so I alternate between sunscreen and sunglasses. Eyes are such sensitive parts of the body that we have to take special care of them.

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