What Causes Puffiness Under the Eye?

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Under-eye puffiness may be genetic. If your parents have “baggage” under their eyes, you may too. It can also be caused by your lifestyle. If you ate a lot of salty food the day before or drank a lot of fluids right before going to bed, this can cause under-eye puffiness, according to Dr. Mary Stepfanyszn of Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia.

Bags under eyes may be die to stress.
Bags under eyes may be die to stress. (Image: innovatedcaptures/iStock/Getty Images)

Factors

Dr. Lawrence Gibson of the Mayo Clinic explains that changes in the weather or fluctuating hormones (right before a menstrual period, for example) can cause under-eye puffiness. The dark, saggy bags and swelling can be attributed to fluid retention that can be caused by these changes in hormone levels and the weather. If your under-eye puffiness is related to your menstrual period, a product such as Midol should help reduce fluid retention.

Weather may affect hormones.
Weather may affect hormones. (Image: Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Allergies

If you are having an allergic reaction, this can cause under-eye puffiness. If you are also experiencing redness and itching this is a real indicator that you are allergic to something. When you have an allergic reaction that causes nasal congestion, this can create puffiness around the eyes. Take an antihistamine unless it is contra-indicated by other medications that you are talking. This should help reduce the under-eye swelling.

Allergies.
Allergies. (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

Aging

As we age, we tend to get saggy skin and under-eye puffiness can be a result of that, according to Professor/Dr. Paul Lazar of Northwestern University in Chicago. The skin that surrounds the eye becomes less elastic and thinner with age, which results in the underlying fat making the skin bulge out.

Aging.
Aging. (Image: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Diseases

Individuals who have Graves’ disease, which is a thyroid disorder, or those with kidney problems may find that round bags or pouches develop under their eyes.

Thyroid exam.
Thyroid exam. (Image: Alexander Raths/iStock/Getty Images)

Lifestyle

Too much alcohol, too much tobacco, too little sleep or poor quality sleep can also result in eye puffiness, according to Puffiness-around-eye.com.

Smoking can cause eye puffiness.
Smoking can cause eye puffiness. (Image: SandraMatic/iStock/Getty Images)

Remedies

Ohiohealth.com recommends sleeping with your head slightly raised to avoid under-eye puffiness. Slip another pillow under your head and this should prevent fluids from accumulating under your eyes. If you still have puffy under-eyes when you wake, apply cold cucumber slices under your eyes or put damp tea bags on this area. The tannin in the tea will help minimize the swelling. A cold gel mask would also be good to use. Some people use hemorrhoid cream on their under-eye area to reduce puffiness. If you try this, make sure that you don't get it in your eyes.

Sleep with an elevated head.
Sleep with an elevated head. (Image: ariwasabi/iStock/Getty Images)

When to Contact the Doctor

If the under-eye swelling is extreme and persistent and you notice edema (swelling) in other parts of your body, this could indicate that you are having an adverse reaction to the medication that you are taking or that you have thyroid problems (Graves’ disease) or kidney problems.

Contact your doctor with concerns.
Contact your doctor with concerns. (Image: Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

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