How to Depuff Eyes Quickly, According to Dermatologists and Estheticians

From cold therapy to better sleeping habits

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Whether it’s from a lack of sleep, drinking too much bubbly or crying your eyes out while watching Pride & Prejudice, we’ve all woken up with puffy eyes before. Thankfully, there are a few ways to deflate them quickly. We tapped a group of dermatologists and estheticians for their best tips ahead. 

Meet the Experts: 

  • Dr. Teresa Song is a board-certified dermatologist at Marmur Medical in New York. She specializes in general and cosmetic dermatology, including aesthetic procedures like fillers, laser devices, microneedling and chemical peels. Dr. Song also serves as a clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Hospital Dermatology residency and is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology. 
  • Sasha Banner is a skincare trainer and licensed esthetician for Heyday Skincare, a personalized facial experience with various locations throughout the U.S. She has five years of experience, training and educating aspiring estheticians. 
  • Dr. Claire Wolinsky is a board-certified dermatologist at Spring Street Dermatology in New York. She has experience in laser treatments, injectables (fillers and neuromodulators) and non-surgical facial rejuvenations. She’s also a clinical instructor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Dermatology. 
  • Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson is a board-certified dermatologist, president and co-founder of Modern Dermatology in Connecticut. She’s also an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale New Haven Hospital. Dr. Robinson is also a principal investigator and worked on 38 research studies focusing skincare products and devices.
  • Dr. Maya Thosani is a board-certified dermatologist and owner of Modern Dermatology in Scottsdale, Arizona. She specializes in dermoscopy, skin cancer detection and a variety of treatments for her patients. She’s also a member of the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery. 
  • Shamara Bonadaroff is an esthetician and founder of SB Skin in New York. She has a decade of experience and specializes in microcurrent facials. 
  • David Richard Petrillo is a cosmetic chemist and founder of Perfect Image. He has over two decades of experience, specializing in non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as chemical peels and clarifying treatments. He currently has his own skincare line, which targets concerns like fine lines, wrinkles, breakouts, enlarged pores and hyperpigmentation. 

What Causes Puffy Eyes?

There are a few factors that can cause puffy eyes. As mentioned, puffy eyes can be caused by a lack of sleep, consumption of lots of salt or alcohol, excessive rubbing of the eyes, allergies and increased stress. Some experts also point out that puffy eyes can be genetic, in which case you may need to seek out a medical professional for guidance on treatment options depending on the severity of the puffiness. 

How Long Does It Take to Treat Puffy Eyes?

“It’s important to set your expectations. You may see a reduction in the appearance of puffiness, but it will not eliminate it immediately. Consistency of any treatment is key and [targeting] the cause of puffiness matters. If lack of sleep, allergies or a consumption of too much salt (or alcohol) is contributing to your puffiness, then these tips coupled with an improved lifestyle and diet will help over time,” shares Banner. 

Are There Ingredients to Help Combat Puffy Eyes? 

According to Petrillo, there are a few ingredients that can help reduce puffiness. Here are five commonly used ones in skincare products: 

  • Caffeine: “It’s a vasoconstrictor, which means it can temporarily constrict blood vessels and reduce swelling. It’s often found in eye creams and gels designed to reduce puffiness,” says Petrillo. 
  • Hyaluronic Acid: “It’s a hydrating ingredient that helps plump and moisturize the skin. When the skin around the eyes is hydrated, it can appear less puffy,” he says. 
  • Peptides: “These are amino acid compounds that can help improve skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Some peptides are even formulated specifically to target puffiness and dark circles,” he adds. 
  • Aloe Vera: “It has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, making it beneficial for calming irritated or puffy skin,” he says. 
  • Green Tea Extract: “It’s rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce puffiness and soothe the skin around the eyes,” he adds.
  • Niacinamide (Vitamin B3): “It has anti-inflammatory properties and helps strengthen the skin barrier, reduce puffiness and protect against future damage,” he says.

Other ingredients shared by our experts include vitamin C, arnica extract and witch hazel. Keep reading to learn how to depuff eyes—from compressing them with a cold spoon to trying out gentle face massages at home. 

how to depuff eyes a woman inspecting her eyes in the mirror
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1. Notice Your Triggers

Before you jump into trying anything, the experts recommend taking a step back first to identify what might be causing the swelling around your eyes. “What we see at the skin’s surface is oftentimes reflective of what’s going on beneath it. Rather than rushing to ‘mask the issue’ take the time to determine if there is a root cause that can be addressed,” explains Dr. Robinson.

As mentioned, there are many factors that can cause puffy eyes. “Pay attention to diet and lifestyle choices that might leave you waking up puffier than usual. If it’s a new reaction, try to notice the patterns around it and if it’s not obvious, talk to your doctor to determine if there is additional testing to look into,” she adds. 

how to depuff eyes a photo of a woman using ice globes near her eyes
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2. Try Cold Therapy

“Cool compresses can help temporarily alleviate puffiness around the eyes. It can also reduce inflammation and swelling—plus, it’s quick and easily accessible for all,” says Dr. Song. Whether you prefer an ice pack, an ice roller, a chilled spoon or even cucumber slices, these tools can feel soothing to the delicate skin around the eye. The derm suggests applying it gently on the eye for a few minutes each morning to decrease any swelling. 

how to depuff eyes a woman using a gua sha on her face
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3. Add Gua Sha to Your Routine

While jade rollers and ice rollers are popular, don’t forget about the classic gua sha tool. “Gua sha is an ancient Asian form of facial massage that most commonly uses a jade or rose quartz stone to manually manipulate the face. It’s especially useful if your eye puffiness is a result of seasonal allergies, lack of sleep or diet,” says Banner. “It helps drain the fluids and eliminate them from your body, which can reduce the amount of inflammation or puffiness.” 

how to depuff eyes a woman applying a jade roller to her face
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4. Use a Jade Roller with Your Eye Cream

Speaking of eye tools, Banner has a pro tip for elevating your regular skincare routine. “Apply eye cream and manipulate the product into the skin using a jade roller. Start at the inner eyes and work your way towards the ears. This technique helps to drain any fluid in the surrounding area that may be contributing to the puffiness,” she says.  

how to depuff eyes a woman gently applying eye cream
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5. Use a Gentle Tapping Motion When Applying Eye Cream

Your puffiness might be caused by the way you’re applying your eye cream. According to Dr. Wolinsky, use your ring finger to gently tap the eye cream onto your skin and avoid rubbing and irritating the skin under the eyes. “Pulling at the fragile skin under the eye can break blood vessels, inflame and irritate the skin. It’s important to use gentle tapping, as well as, an upward and outward motion to help facilitate drainage,” she adds. 

how to depuff eyes a woman wearing eye patches
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6. Invest in Eye Patches

Skip the skin tools and opt for eye patches instead. There are plenty in the market, but Banner stands by Skyn Iceland’s Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels, as its main ingredient (acetyl hexapeptide) can ”work by intercepting neurotransmitter signals to help relax facial muscles and decrease the depth of wrinkles.” Whichever patches you choose, the esthetician suggests popping them in the fridge for an extra cooling experience. 

how to depuff eyes a photo of eye products
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7. Only Use Products Designated for Your Eyes

“The skin around our eyes is delicate and sensitive. It has fewer oil glands and less collagen compared to other areas on the face, which makes it more prone to puffiness, dryness, fine lines and wrinkles. There is a reason why there is an entire category of skincare products dedicated to it!” says Dr. Robinson. We recommend looking into eye creams, gels and/or patches based on your skin concerns and skin type. 

how to depuff eyes a woman with a facial and jade roller at home
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8. Do a Lymphatic Massage At Home

You might’ve heard about lymphatic massages for the body, but the technique works just as well for the face, too. “This type of massage helps lymphatic flow in the area to decrease inflammation. The [jade roller] helps to properly massage the area with even pressure instead of just using your hands,” says Dr. Song. 

9. Ask Your Dermatologist About Ultherapy

Making a trip to your dermatologist? Consider asking about this in-office procedure to combat swollen eyes, among other things. “High intensity focused ultrasound devices like Ultherapy, can penetrate deeper under the skin compared to topicals. It can also massage and stimulate collagen production in the long run,” explains Dr. Song. If you’re interested, the derm notes it can be very time consuming (about a few hours in the office) and expensive, so keep those two factors in mind before committing. Plus, it’ll take about six or so months to see results. 

10. Consider Some Microneedling

Another derm procedure to consider is radiofrequency microneedling. As Dr. Thosani explains, “It’s a gold standard treatment that addresses under-eye puffiness, wrinkling and skin surface abnormalities. After topical cream is applied to numb the area, the device uses a grid of tiny needles to heat the dermis and reduce fat, tighten the skin and build new collagen over time.” 

how to depuff eyes a woman using a microcurrent device
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11. Try a Microcurrent Device At Home

If booking a facial isn’t in the cards right now, you can invest in a microcurrent device and treat yourself right at home. Bondaroff recommends the NuFace Trinity Facial device to get the job done: “This device utilizes electrical current to both drain lymph and improve circulation for a short term fix, while also stimulating collagen and elastin production to firm the skin over time.” She suggests using it twice a week for best results. 

how to depuff eyes a woman sleeping in her bed
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12. Change Your Sleeping Habits

A lack of sleep, as well as, how you sleep can cause puffiness around your eyes. One derm has a helpful solution. “Try sleeping on your back with your head propped up, so the fluid flows down from your face towards your heart, where the lymphatic system can process it. This will help prevent puffiness as well as the fine lines and wrinkles that can come from stomach or side sleeping,” says Dr. Robinson. The key is to invest in a comfy pillow along with silk pillowcases to enhance your sleep. One more thing: Dr. Robinson suggests adding a pillow under your knees, so you’re more likely to stay in this sleeping position. 

how to depuff eyes a woman pouring salt in a pan
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13. Reduce Your Salt Intake

Aside from sleep, eating food with a high sodium count can be the culprit behind your swollen eyes. “Start by drastically limiting your sodium intake to about one teaspoon of salt per day. Watch for hidden sodium content by carefully reading nutrition labels,” says Dr. Thosani. To stay on track with your salt intake, the derm also recommends drinking a detox tonic. “Curcumin, ginger and lemon can be mixed with water or made into a tea. Curcumin and ginger make a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory combo, while the lemon and ginger help with digestion.”

Puffy Eyes Essentials

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Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...

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