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Puffy eyes can be caused by a variety of reasons, and though they can affect just about anyone, they generally become more common with age. But aging isn’t the only cause. There are other things that contribute to bags under the eyes including: smoking, alcohol, lack of sleep, allergies, diet, too much sun, and genetics. Avoiding smoking and alcoholic beverages; getting proper sleep; cutting down on salty foods, wearing sunscreen, and taking allergy meds when the need arises are some of the things you can do to prevent or at least diminish under-eye bags. Unfortunately, if you’ve inherited them, you’ll have to work harder to shrink them, but it isn’t impossible. Though there is nothing non-surgical to cure puffy eyes permanently, here are 6 things you can do to prevent or minimize them.
Stop smoking. Period.
Don’t just cut back. Stop smoking altogether. The chemicals in tobacco not only break down the collagen in your skin, the nicotine narrows blood vessels and causes fluid retention. And even when you’re not smoking because you’re asleep, nicotine withdrawal can leave you feeling lethargic and groggy even after a full night of shut eye. This is one of the reasons dark circles develop under your eyes. You’ll rest better and look better if you avoid smoking or smoky areas whenever possible. And if you already have bags and or dark rings under your eyes, smoking can actually make them worse. Another issue to consider besides the cancer factor when you light up, is that smoking is a leading cause of premature aging—no ifs, ands or cigarette butts about it.
Drink less alcohol and more water.
Because the tissue around the eyes is thinner and more delicate than other parts of your face, it’s more susceptible to damage. Since alcohol dehydrates, it pulls moisture from your body, which does its absolute best to retain it. This causes a buildup of fluids and can lead to puffy eyes. Drinking more water will help you stay hydrated and keep your skin less prone to wrinkles and swollen eyes. And if you’re going to imbibe, just make sure you stay hydrated and drink as many glasses of water as you do wine to give your eyes a fighting chance against puffiness.
Get enough sleep.
Don’t underestimate the power of sleep. The average male needs 7-9 hours of it nightly to be their best physically and mentally. Anything less will begin to take its toll on your body, especially your peepers, aka the windows to the soul. But unless you want to project a tired, old soul you need adequate sleep. If this isn't enough to convince you to hit the hay at a decent hour, lack of sleep can also cause droopy lids and dark rings, especially if you’re a stomach sleeper. This is because gravity pulls any water our skin retains forward, making the tissue around the eyes swell, droop, and discolor. Sleeping on your back or side may help, but if you still wake with swollen, puffy eyes, try using an under-eye cream for men like REVIVE, formulated with biomimetic peptides or small proteins that have a proven track record for repairing cells and smoothing skin. It works fast to eliminate eye bags and dark circles and the convenient size makes it easy to slip into a pocket for an afternoon refresher.
Eliminate or at least cut down on salty foods.
Similar to alcohol, too much sodium can cause your body to retain water and make it swell. The skin around your eyes being so thin will often be the first place to show signs that you went a little crazy with the salt. Eliminating processed (including frozen) foods because they generally contain higher levels of sodium is a good start to eating healthier. Salt substitutes are another way to cut back on intake. Keep in mind that too much salt can also contribute to cardiovascular issues. Puffy eyes are one thing. Hardened arteries are another.
Wear sunscreen EVERY day.
The harsh rays of the sun are a major contributing factor to premature aging. This is because UV rays break down collagen, which is what helps keep our skin tight and smooth. The delicate skin around your eyes is at a higher risk of becoming saggy and puffy because it’s not as thick as the rest of the skin on your face. And because the sun affects the melanin in your body, over exposure to it can lead to resistant dark circles. These are just a few of the reasons to never leave the house without sunscreen even on gray days. The big C is another.
Use allergy meds when necessary.
Allergens affect many people. Seasonal, environmental, and even pet allergies can make the sinuses swell. This swelling also affects the area under the eyes, creating unsightly bags beneath them. Though there are just as many allergy meds out there as there are allergies, antihistamines can help relieve both swelling and inflammation by blocking the body’s histamine release, which triggers runny noses and sneezes. These reactions only make the bags under the eyes bigger and puffier, so having an effective antihistamine on hand is essential if you suffer from allergies.
There are also quite a few unconventional approaches to getting rid of under-eye bags if you’re willing to give them a go. Caffeinated tea bags, cold compresses, neti pots, cool cucumbers, and refrigerated spoons and eye masks are other things that might help de-puff your eyes and send those unsightly under-eye bags packing.