With age comes puffy eyes. There are many types of puffy eyes, like the puffiness above your eyelid, caused by extra skin and fat, or the large bags under your eyes that extend all the way to your cheeks, commonly seen in smokers and others with skin damage. But the most common type of puffy eye is a puff right under your eyelashes that doesn’t go away.

While puffy eyes don’t pose any health risks, they are certainly not exactly attractive, often making a person look tired and listless. To get rid of them, or at least make them less in your face, it helps to understand them, so read on:

Common Causes

Genes Could Be To Blame

Most people who have puffy eyes are genetically predisposed to them, so there isn’t much you could do to prevent them. They are caused by fat, which gets worse as you age. As you grow older, those fat pads get a little bit larger and sink down a little bit lower as skin loses its elasticity, so they become more noticeable.

Lack of Sleep Is Another Cause

Not getting adequate sleep can negatively impact your skin, and cause puffy eyes. This is an easy problem to fix, so try to get adequate shut eye overnight to nip those bags before they get any puffier.

Too Much Alcohol Doesn’t Help

Alcohol dehydrates skin and causes inflammation, so having too many cocktails can also make puffiness worse.

Allergy Issues

Allergic reactions can exacerbate puffy eyes since there’s a chronic swelling in your nasal area that doesn’t go away, and you may be able to see this in your eye area. Even if you don’t have allergies, your environment can contribute to puffy eyes—they may be worse in dryer, colder times of year and less noticeable in warmer, more humid months. 

Smoking Doesn’t Help

Smoking can cause you to lose the collagen in your skin more quickly than nonsmokers, so either quit the habit or try to at least cut down.

Possible Fixes

How to treat puffy eyes depends on what caused them. If they’re from not sleeping enough or drinking alcohol, the best solution is to simply sleep more and drink less. Also try scaling back on how much salt is in your diet, and make sure you’re getting enough potassium, as puffy eyes can become worse when these minerals are out of balance.

Applying something cold can help, as the cold will shrink the puffiness for a few hours. This is because when skin is cold, it temporarily tightens.

Topically, there’s not much that really work. In more persistent cases of puffy eyes, the fix may need to be more permanent, and this will ultimately come down to personal choice. Almost always, the most effective treatment is surgery. The procedure is called lower eyelid blepharoplasty, and it is an outpatient procedure where a surgeon will remove the lower eyelid fat in small pieces.

We might need to accept that puffy eyes is an inevitable part of ageing for some people, but by taking care of your skin, and yourself, you can help to minimise them.