Tips for Getting Rid of Puffy Eyes

woman in sunglassesPuffy Eyes? Me Too! What to do…I’ve never been a morning person, and firmly I believe the only social events happening before noon should be funerals. Morning has never been a good look for me, but this is becoming more and more of a problem the older I get. Between wrinkles, gravity and a seemingly overabundance of eyelid, my reflection first thing in the a.m. is enough to make me avoid the mirror. I can hide for a while behind shades, but eventually someone wants to go inside.

Then, on top of a general tired eye, I am periodically having what I’ve come to affectionately call Pufferitis. If it sounds like a medical diagnosis, I have an excuse. Pufferitis is a unexplainable swelling of the fragile skin around either one or both eyes which give one the appearance of an 85 year old woman. It doesn’t clear quickly and has been know to frighten small children.

O.K. What to do …
First, prevent tired eyes in the first place. I know a few of these are laughable, especially if you’re a mom, but I have to include them for those who have the luxury of time or really good childcare.

1. Get a good night’s sleep, especially before an important meeting.

2. Avoid alcohol.
Now, things you can do…

3. Drink plenty of fluids, as staying more hydrated will prevent bloating and puffiness.

4. Avoid salty foods. When I first fell in love with a good Dirty Martini, my Pufferitis was at an all time high. I blame the vodka for how long it took me to connect the swelling and the salty olive juice. See below for a list of foods high in sodium.

5. Don’t rub your eyes during the day or before bed and look for triggers. Allergies can cause swollen eyes, so be on the lookout for any food, cream, laundry detergent, or environmental exposure which seems to worsen this symptom.

Treating Pufferitis

1. As soon as you get up, drink a tall glass of water, then have your daily fix of caffeine.

2. Use eye creams with caffeine or for a cheaper fix, soak two teabags in cold water, lie down and rest on your eyes. The caffeine helps to constrict blood vessels.

3. Anything cold works well. Cold cucumber slices, a cold spoon or simply an ice pack over a wash cloth will help.

4. Put butt cream on your eyes. There are mixed reviews about Preparation H and puffy eyes, but my personal opinion, it works. Make sure you don’t get any inside your eyes. Also, don’t get in the habit of using it daily because it contains a steroid which can, over time, cause thinning of the skin. In a pinch, I say go for it.

5. Add an eye cream with Retinol, a form of vitamin A, to your daily skincare regimen. A doctor can prescribe a stronger dose, but you can pick up a reasonably priced one at your local drugstore. I’ve been using a L’oreal product, and I’m very happy with it.

Bottom line: If you live a normal life, with stress, booze, lack of sleep and Chinese food, you will have to contend with Pufferitis. Pick up a hemorrhoid cream, throw a couple spoons in the fridge and start drinking your Martinis straight up.

Foods with lots of salt that may surprise you:


Chips, canned soups, pretzels, and take-out are known to be high in sodium. But, did you know these also have a high salt content?

– cottage cheese

– marinades, salad dressings, BBQ sauce, ketchup

– breakfast cereals

– bagels

– sandwiches

– packaged baked goods

– veggie burgers

– pancakes

Bottom line: If you are trying to avoid salt for health or vanity reasons, check the label. It is recommended we consume only 1500mg/day. We only need about 200 – 500mg/day.

Reprinted from 2015

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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Doctor, mom of five and founder of Tips From Town.


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