What Causes Puffiness Under the Eyes?

Do you suffer from under-eye puffiness? 

Our skin is a marvel! It’s the largest organ in our entire body and is our first line of defense and protection. Of course, that means we need to take the best care of it. Unfortunately, some areas of our skin can be more delicate than others. In particular, the areas around and below our eyes can be vulnerable to damage as we age, which can result in unsightly eye puffiness. 

Eye puffiness tends to occur as the structure of the skin around the eye weakens. This weakening then makes it much easier for fatty deposits to get stored under the eyes. Eye bags and puffiness can severely impact how we feel about ourselves as well as our appearance. 

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What are the causes of eye puffiness? 

The good news is that, in most cases, under-eye puffiness tends not to signal a serious medical condition. Instead, it is just an unfortunate by-product of the aging process. 

In some cases, there can be an underlying cause that needs to be addressed for the sake of your health, and if you wish to reduce the swelling. In fact, in rare cases, under-eye puffiness may also be one of the symptoms of Graves disease or mononucleosis. That is why if you are suffering from severe puffiness under the eyes, it’s important to rule this possibility out before seeking other treatments. You can get some detail on these conditions and other causes below. 


One of the most common causes of under-eye puffiness is infection. Of course, if it is an infection that is causing the problem, no amount of otc eye cream will help. Unless it is the medicated variety, that is! 

In the event of an infection, it’s essential to seek medical treatment such as antibiotics from your doctor. An infection in or around the eyes can spread quickly and may also cause permanent damage. 


It may taste great, but too much salt in our diets can wreak havoc on our bodies, including causing under-eye puffiness. The reason for this is simple: the more salt you consume, the more water your body will retain. Which is precisely what those trying to get rid of under-eye puffiness are trying to avoid.

The good news is that this cause can be dealt with easily. All it takes is a reduction in your sodium consumption. There are even low sodium products, including table salt, that you can swap out for regular salt in your diet. Additionally, staying hydrated can help get rid of any excess sodium in your system, as can eating potassium-rich food like bananas, potatoes, and yogurt. 


Allergies can also help contribute to issues of puffiness around the eyes. Such puffiness is mainly due to the increased histamine and fluid build-up around the eyes. Additionally, the redness and irritation that comes along with the itching don’t help much either. 

The first step in dealing with puffiness that is caused by allergies is to identify the root cause of the problem. This course of action is particularly useful because it may then be possible to avoid or significantly reduce your exposure to the allergen, thus minimizing the problem. 

For example, if you find you are allergic to pet fur, you may wish to consider a hypoallergenic cat instead of a long-haired dog. However, if your allergies are due to exposure to chemicals, a different approach will be needed. Namely, wearing protective masks and goggles at work and home while cleaning to reduce the problem. 

There are other treatments you can try for allergies especially if you cannot avoid them altogether, such as pollen in the summer or pollution in the air. 

In particular, using antihistamine regularly can be very helpful. You can also combine this with eye drops to help lubricate and soothe the eyes and reduce the inflammation around them. Your doctor may even recommend a course of steroids if your allergy is particularly bad. 

Lack of sleep

Another reason that you may be suffering from under-eye puffiness is a lack of sleep. Not getting enough good quality sleep at night can cause problems, such as swelling. 

You should also consider the quality of your sleep since it can also impact the collagen around your eyes, the substance that gives skin its ability to “spring back.” 


The solution to this cause of under-eye swelling is simple: Get more sleep!  

Although how you do this might be a little more complicated. It may mean that you need to replace your mattress, ban pets from the bedroom, or even set yourself on a stricter sleep schedule. 


One of the more severe conditions that can cause puffiness of the eyes is mononucleosis; this is a virus that is sometimes known as the ‘kissing disease.’ The reason being that kissing is its primary form of transmission. Mono also has a range of symptoms that include a sore throat, tiredness, a rash, and a fever. Eye and vision symptoms can also occur with mono such as redness, swelling, seeing floaters, and pain. 

If your eye puffiness is occurring alongside some of these other symptoms, a trip to the doctor to confirm infection and seek treatment is the best route.

Graves’ disease

Another of the more severe issues that can cause puffiness around the eyes is Graves’ disease. A condition linked to problems with the thyroid caused when this organ struggles to balance your hormones correctly.

Symptoms of Graves’ disease include redness, double vision, vision loss, light sensitivity, pain, or a feeling of pressure and a gritty sensation in the eyes. If you suspect you may have Graves’ disease, it is crucial to seek help from your doctor as soon as possible. They may need to prescribe you medications to treat it.

What are your treatment options? 

Apart from the solutions mentioned above that relate directly to particular causes of eye puffiness, there are also some other options you may like to try. 

There are both surgical and non-surgical ways of dealing with under-eye puffiness. You can find out about both of these options in detail below. 

Surgical options 

One of the most popular ways of treating eye puffiness is with eyelid (blepharoplasty) & Brow Lift surgery. The aim of this approach is to target issues such as puffiness, bags, and lines and create a more refreshed and happy-looking face. 

You can choose to have Eyelid & Brow Lift surgery done separately or at the same time. Many patients opt for the latter because of the enhanced results and the shorter, joint, recovery time. (When you combine these procedures, you will only need to recover for a week rather than two one week durations at separate times.) 

Both procedures are safe and straightforward. You will also find that your surgeon will conceal incisions in folds like your natural eyelid, thus reducing scarring, and ensuring your results are natural. 

Of course, the surgical option is a permanent one. Therefore, after your recovery, you can expect to have a refreshed, happier, and younger-looking appearance—all without having to worry about puffiness or bags at all. 

Non-surgical options 

Eye creams

If you feel as if you are not quite ready to go down the surgical routes, there are other options to reduce under-eye puffiness. There are two, in particular, we think you should know more about. The first is to invest in some of the remarkable beauty products that are now on the market.

For example, Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Hyaluronic Marine Dew It Right Eye Gel boosts the elasticity of the skin around the eye and reduces puffiness. Whereas the more expensive SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair contains anti-aging peptides that specifically target puffiness. 

Finally, if money is no object, you may wish to opt for the lavish La Mer The Eye Concentrate, a product where it’s not just the cream that gets to work on reducing under-eye puffiness. Yes, it’s also the metal applicator that provides cooling on the spot treatment to the worst affected areas. 

Hemorrhoid cream 

Of course, we cannot possibly ignore this last option, although you won’t find it on the shelves with the other fancy eye creams. That is because it’s good, ol’ hemorrhoid cream. Yep, that’s right, a little dab of this on your puffy under-eye can work wonders. After all, it is designed to reduce inflammation! 

However, it is worth remembering that hemorrhoid cream was not designed for this purpose, therefore you do run the risk of an allergic reaction, especially if you get any in your eye! Ouch! To that end, those with sensitive eyes or skin will do best to avoid this option.

To know more about dermatologists or plastic surgery solutions for puffy eyes, contact VIDA Wellness and Beauty at (619) 738-2144 and schedule a free, virtual consultation. 

Dr. Alejandro Quiroz

Dr. Quiroz is our board-certified Chief Plastic Surgeon at VIDA Clinic in Tijuana. He specializes in Facial Rejuvenation, Neck lift, Buttock Augmentation, Breast Augmentation, Body Contouring and more. He is member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, San Diego Plastic Surgery Society, the Mexican Society of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and the Mexican Council of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, to mention a few.