It's oh so fitting to be writing about home remedies for puffy eyes in the midst of the two worst weeks of allergy season. Every single spring when everything starts blooming, my allergies go berzerk. My eyes get so itchy I have to basically put gloves on so I don't scratch them, and they get irritated and swollen (ugh). Although this usually happens in April, it's happening in May this year thanks to New York City's late seasonal change. (Let me tell you, I can't wait for this to be over.)
In the meantime, I need something to soothe my eyes so I don't look like I have the most horrible case of pink eye ever. Even though Benadryl does the trick at night, I can't so much as pop half of one of those Pepto-pink pills without falling into a deep sleep, so I need something of the natural route for daytime hours. But allergies like mine are not the only reasons your eyes could be swollen. It can be attributed to a lack of sleep, stress, eye fatigue, and even PMS (yes, you can bloat because of that, too).
Keep reading to see which home remedies for puffy eyes do the trick when you need to look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and you're feeling anything but.
Green tea bags
Most of the eye creams you use probably contain caffeine, which helps with swelling. To go to more of an extreme to get rid of puffiness, brew two tea bags' worth of green tea. Chill the bags in the fridge—or in the freezer for a short time—and then put them on your closed lids for around 20 minutes. Why it works? "Not only does green tea have caffeine, it's also high in antioxidants," says Bindiya Gandhi, MD.
There's a reason spas always have this veggie on hand—they've been used to soothe skin for centuries. Clean the produce first, then cut thin-enough slices to lay on your eyes for 10 minutes (make sure you're not wearing eye makeup). The cool flesh, along with vitamin C and caffeic acid, in the cucumbers helps soothe irritated skin and reduce swelling, explains Gandhi.
If you experience those horrible cramps known as Charley horses, then you likely already know that bananas are a great way to get potassium. Fluid retention can cause puffiness, but the potassium in this fruit helps to reduce the amount of salt that causes it in the first place, according to Gandhi. How to use it? Simply eat one, or you can mash it up and apply it like a mini mask underneath your peepers.
Frozen teething rings
You've probably heard of the frozen spoon trick (that works, too) but teething rings get icy cold in the freezer. Place the rings on your eyes for about 10 minutes (don't overdo it). "The cold will reduce puffiness and spike your energy, too," write the experts at Galanis Cataract & Laser Eye Center in St. Louis.
I almost tried raw potatoes once as a fever reducer but chickened out. But they apparently also work to calm down the skin around your eyes in the same way that cucumbers do (but they stay chilly longer). The best way to use them is to take one-inch slices and let them rest on top of your eyes for up to half an hour.
Whole milk or cream
Chilled whole milk or cream is the way to go here. Apply it to your eyes by soaking cotton balls into the liquid first (get rid of the excess before resting them on your eyelid). Feel free to repeat once the milk warms up. According to Jeanette Jacknin, a holistic dermatologist and author of Smart Medicine for Your Skin, the cold dairy works to constrict your blood vessels, which helps with swelling while the fat helps with the irritation.
The whites of eggs contain vitamin B2, which increases your circulation to lessen swelling. Separate the egg whites from the yolks; beat two egg whites and then brush onto the affected area of the eye. Allow it to dry and set for about 15 minutes before you wash it off. If you want a little extra oomph, add a drop of witch hazel to the egg whites before application; Jacknin says it will also help with swelling.
Rosehip oil serum
Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, suggests whipping up an at-home serum from rosehip seed oil, lavender and lemon essential oils, and pure aloe vera gel. "Rosehip oil … protects the skin and increases cell turnover because it contains vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin D and B-carotene, a form of vitamin A," he says. For maximum effects, remove and cleanse your skin before bed. Spray the serum under your eyes and massage it in, and you should see results in a few days.
Now that you've seen these home remedies for puffy eyes, there's never an excuse to not look bright-eyed. You can thank us later.