Why we get puffy eyes and how to treat them

Updated: May 7, 2020

For a few weeks now, I have been suffering with puffy eyes first thing in the morning. It doesn’t matter what I do. Whether I have 6 hours of sleep or 9, I am still greeted by puffy pillows for eyelids, making my eyeliner application even more of a delicate task.

And I know I am not the only one. So I have set out a mission in this last week to find out the causes and in turn a solution, to my puffy problems. Keep reading to find out why our eyes sometimes swell, especially first thing in the morning, and what you can do about it.

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What causes puffy eyes?


Our surroundings affect the way our entire body functions and decides to react, including our eyes. Histamine is the chemical that is released around the body during an allergic reaction, causing fluid leakage from the blood vessels. The fluid becomes trapped, leading to swelling. Exposure to common house allergens like dust, mould spores, house mites, animal fur and plants can all contribute to “periorbital oedema.”

Pollen allergies is one of the most common causes of swollen eyes during particular months of the year

Do you love sleeping with the heating on? You may not want to after hearing this. Hot air in your environment affects the eyes in the same way cooler temperatures do, reducing the moisture in the eyes causing them to become irritated, itchy and therefore swollen if rubbed.


  1. Turn the heating off when you go to bed and try to make the room your sleeping in as well ventilated as possible.

  2. Regular cleaning and inspections of your environment will minimise mould, bugs and dusts.

  3. Consider hayfever medication if you have a pollen allergy.


All sorts of medical issues from kidney to sinus problems, can contribute to puffy eyes. Hyperthyroidism and connective tissue diseases such as Lupus and arthritis can cause symptoms such as swelling and fatigue, creating the appearance of tired, bloated eyes. 

Common eye infections such as conjunctivitis creates an inflammation in the eyes, leading to irritation and general puffiness. 


  1. Always consult with a doctor if you are feeling habitually unwell.

  2. There are many varieties of treatment for eye infections. 


Too much salt in your diet can cause the body to retain more water than usual. The skin around the eyes is extremely thin (an average of 0.5mm thick) so this is why this area is first to swell when the body absorbs too much sodium.

When the body is severely dehydrated it can lead to dryer eyes, which is we are more likely to experience puffy eyes first thing in the morning. It also explains why some us notice a swollen face  after a night of drinking alcohol. 


  1. Try to reduce how much salt you consume in your diet, and drink more water to help flush out the sodium. Bananas, potatoes and dried apricots are all potassium-rich foods, and help to balance the salt in the body. 

  2. Drinking alcohol in large and frequent quantities is never a good thing, especially for your puffy eyes. Reduce your weekly alcohol intake and drink a decent amount of water each day, and I promise you will welcome brighter eyes in the morning.


Frequent eye rubbing can lead to puffy eyes, as well as crying. 

Research dating back to ancient times has shown us the negative effective stress can have on our skin. It is also well known how general fatigue can cause the eyes to darken in colour, and appear more tired-looking and puffy.

Ageing is another common factor to puffy eyes. As we age the membrane around the eye thins, causing the fat to herniate and push forward. This wrinkling makes us more likely to suffer with swelling in that area.


  1. Stop rubbing your eyes.

  2. Some health issues may be out of our control, but the way we manage stress and look after our bodies is. Fatigue and stress can occur when life gets too much, so find an hour in your day for you – spend the time writing in a journal, meditating, reading, reflecting.

  3. There are both surgical and non-surgical options available for improving ageing eyes. Some cases can be improved with a hyaluronic-acid based filler injected into the tear trough, laser and plasma treatment, whilst more severe signs of ageing may require surgery. 

If puffy eyes are a problem for you, it’s best to consider the cause and fix that first before trying to mask the symptoms. In the meantime drinking enough water, especially first thing in the morning, having enough sleep and eating potassium-rich foods will all help with reducing fluid build-up around the eyes. Cryotherapy, also known as “cold therapy” has a profound effective on swelling. Ice rollers are a great way to carry out this method at home. Eye creams and serums containing considerable amounts of caffeine can also reduce puffiness in the eye area. 

Have you got a method or product you find effective, make help make your eyes look better? Comment below and find out the best way to treat hyperpigmentation here.

#eyetreatment #facialswelling #cryotherapy #teartroughfiller #puffyeyes

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