Short On Sleep? 6 Tips For Reducing Puffiness And Dark Circles

Updated 12/1/15. You scrimped on sleep and woke up with puffy eyes and dark circles. Now what? No worries, here are six of my experts tips to get your eyes looking bright and fresh.

What can I do for dark circles?

For starters, the most common reason for darkness under the eye area is because the skin may be extra thin (from long-term, overuse of prescription retinoid products, genetics and/or loss of collagen and “plumpness” from aging) allowing you to see the blood vessels under the skin. Some people can also have a deep inset bone structure that can cause a shadow under the eye, which makes darkness appear. Others can get what is referred to as “leaky vessels” as they age. This is when the blood leaks from the capillaries and can cause under eye darkness because of the excessive blood.

Additionally, not getting enough sleep can lead to dark circles. When you are lacking sleep, your body’s circulatory system is compromised and you get stagnant blood in the vessels under the eyes because they haven’t properly drained. When you are tired, it definitely shows.

1. Apply a skin brightening eye cream.
Not all eye creams are equal so using one exclusively formulated for reducing the appearance of dark circles will give the best results. One such eye cream is Vitamin C Eye Brightener. In this formula, stable vitamin C offers vessel-strengthening, anti-inflammatory properties along with ingredients to stimulate the enzyme detoxification process. The result is brighter-looking eyes. Be sure to follow it with a good concealer to help reduce the look of darkness.

2. Massage the eye area. Use circular motions with your ring finger tip (like when applying eye cream), which will gently stimulate the stagnant blood flow (a contributor to darkness—especially from lack of sleep).

3. Thicken the skin with peptides or dermal fillers. Collagen-building ingredients such as peptides (found in Total Eye Repair Cream) can help to keep the underlying cushion intact (this is an area that quickly depletes after the age of 40). Peptides support the tissue renewal process, which can help to thicken the skin, making underlying blood vessels less noticeable. You can also consult with a cosmetic nurse or dermatologist about dermal fillers that can be injected around the eye to create a separation from the vessels to the skin so they don’t show through as much.

What can I do for puffy eyes?

1. Ditch the cucumbers and grab a bag of frozen peas, but first take a hot shower. If you wake up in the morning with puffiness, taking a fairly warm to hot shower will be beneficial for two reasons. First, the heat from the water dilates (relaxes and opens) lymphatic vessels to help assist with drainage of fluids (wastes and toxins) that build up in vessels. When you wash your face in the shower and the water is directly hitting you with force and this helps to stimulate excess fluids to move out of the eye area. Secondly, in addition to the heat helping with the circulation, your vertical position standing in the shower helps drainage move out of the face area.

When you get out of the shower, you then want to apply something cold to quickly constrict the vessels to reduce fluid retention. Cucumbers don’t contain any miraculous puffiness-reducing properties, but they do have a gel-like consistency (from the seeds) making it good for retaining cold temperatures—and it’s the cold that reduces puffiness and swelling. You can grab anything out of your freezer (ice, bag of frozen peas, etc.) and it will do the trick—as long as it is held on the area for at least 5 minutes. Note: The only type of puffiness that can be reduced from cold, is puffiness that is not normally there—like when you wake up in the morning. Unfortunately, there is no cure for chronic puffiness/bags, except cosmetic surgery.

2. Avoid yawning. If you stay up past your usual bedtime, chances are you’ll be yawning more. When you yawn, the act encourages your eyes to water, which creates swelling and puffiness. Excessive yawning is actually the equivalent to crying during a sad movie because of the fluids it creates. So before you stay up past your bedtime to watch that last show or to read just one more chapter, consider the side effects. Just one more reason to get a restful night of sleep. It’s called “beauty sleep” for a reason.

3. Avoid eating high sodium foods for dinner. Salty foods will retain fluids around the eyes, which can result in morning under eye puffiness. In my case, eating Chinese food for dinner will guarantee that I’ll be super puffy in the morning. Regardless of what you eat, drinking a lot of water throughout the day will dramatically control fluid retention around the eyes. When you go to bed, sleep with your head slightly elevated with an extra pillow to help with drainage.

Read: Do You Have Bags Under Your Eyes?
Read: Could Your Eye Cream Be Causing Under Eye Puffiness?
Read: 7 Surprising Ways You’re Aging Your Skin

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Content found on, including: text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.