What causes puffy eyes in the morning

December 3, 2020 5 mins read
What causes puffy eyes in the morning

Have you woken up (again) with puffy eyes in the morning? Oh, hey, girl! We know all about it. We know that you’re all about that beauty sleep and getting in your 7-9 hours of recommended z’s, but occasionally greeting yourself in the mirror through barely-there eyes isn’t only due to lack of sleep. Bring on life (read: stress), seasonal changes, happy hours and weakened immune systems, these all play a role in waking up with puffy eyes.

As this is not a look we want to add to the lookbook of 2020, let’s uncover what causes puffy eyes and how to get rid of them.

5 Causes of puffy eyes in the morning

Fear not, beauty buff, puffy eyes are not unusual. You may think that because you don’t have sensitive skin (and that bad things don’t happen to preen-queens), you’re off the hook. However, the causes of puffy eyes depend on a variety of factors, including your age, genetics, and oh yes, Netflix.

Because the skin around our eyes is so thin, it can react to the slightest irritants. But what other causes can create this not-so-glam look?

Let’s find out:

1. Disrupted sleep

Culprit number one (and we know you know this one), is lack of sleep. Having a bad night’s sleep can not only mess with your mood but your appearance too. And if you add stress to the mix, well, good morning puffy eyes.

When you’re stressed, your adrenal glands release cortisol, which can change the salt balance in your body. When our salt balance is off, we retain water, and mixed with being in a horizontal position all night, can filter all that water retention to the thinnest skin bits in our bod, our face.

2. An allergic reaction

Oh spring, the sweet smell of new blooms and the sounds of sneezing. Have you noticed that when you sneeze your eyes water? This is because your body has gone into attack mode to release histamine (the allergy defence hormone). When histamine is released out of the skin, it can cause your eyes to water and puff up.

3. Crying before bed

Why does a good chick flick always have to pull on those heartstrings and bring on the waterworks? What’s even worse is that you know that you’re most definitely going to wake up with puffy eyes in the morning.

Puffiness from crying is the effect of the eye’s lacrimal glands working harder than usual to build up tears. When this gland produces tears, the fluid is a combination of salt and water. It’s the salt concentration in your tears and the surrounding tissue that causes your eyes to get puffy.

4. Drinking alcohol

We know that a drink is sometimes a much-needed relief from a stressful day, but it can also be the reason you’re waking up looking a little dishevelled. (Even after one glass.) We know that salt causes you to retain water, but the sugar in alcohol causes inflammation, so you may have to think twice before you order that innocent after-work margarita. Alas, not only does it mess with your appearance, but alcohol messes with your sleep too.

5. You’ve got a cold

If you have a case of the sniffles, you may wake up with heavy eyelids. The cavities that help drain the fluid from your face become congested, and when they’re blocked, you may look as if you’re holding water beneath your eye sockets. This often happens if you have sinusitis or prolonged allergic reactions to seasonal pollen.

How to get rid of puffy eyes

If you’ve woken up with puffy eyes, here are a few tactics to help you face the day:

  1. Cooldown. Pressing something cold onto your eyes decreases inflammation. So if this happens to you on the regular, you may want to keep an iced eye-gel pad in the freezer. Alternatively, you can always use slices of cucumber.
  2. Moisturise. We know that moisturiser plumps up dry skin, and it works for puffy skin too. Pat on some eye cream before your makeup to help soothe those lids.
  3. Medicate. If you’re prone to seasonal allergies, you may want to keep some antihistamines nearby.
  4. Massage. Give your eyelids a soft massage by gently patting around the eyes, temples and sinuses. Doing this daily can give you a more refreshed look.
  5. Makeup. Get out your makeup artist skills and conceal, blend and dab. If this fails, go bright on your lipstick as a distraction technique.

How to prevent puffy eyes

Now that you know what causes puffy eyes, and how to get rid of them, let’s look at simple lifestyle adjustments you can make to prevent them:

  • Get good, quality sleep. Maintaining a good sleep hygiene routine, and allowing yourself enough time for rest will help reduce puffy eyes that occur with sleep deprivation.
  • Sleep propped up. Sleeping with your head slightly lifted allows the fluid to filter down your face rather than be trapped under your eyes.
  • Prevent allergies. If you know that spring is approaching, chat to your doctor to give you some medications that may help prevent any allergic reactions.
  • Keep hydrated. Dehydration could be another cause of your puffy eyes. Drinking plenty of water is the key to all-over healthy skin.
  • Limit alcohol. If you do have a fun function to attend, be sure to pace yourself and drink water in between alcoholic beverages. This will keep your hydration levels topped up.
  • Lessen your salt intake. Salt causes fluid retention and can lead to other health issues. This also means limiting salty foods such as cured meats, bread and cheese.
  • Pile in the potassium. Foods like bananas, beans, yoghurt and greens contain a lot of potassium which helps reduce excess fluids in your body, keeping your eyes puff-free.

But our best advice for puffy eyes? Live a balanced healthy life, don’t stress about the small things, and when in doubt, get more sleep.