How to Get Rid of Under-Eye Circles and Puffiness

by Mimi Abney

If the skin underneath your eyes is looking a little lackluster and puffy lately, you can bring down the swelling and treat these stubborn shadows without spending a lot of cash. Whether your eye troubles are due to seasonal allergies, genetics or hyperpigmentation, you can cover up any puffy eyes and unsightly under-eye circles temporarily with primers and concealer. But you’ll need a little beauty know-how to pamper your peepers and unpack those eye bags permanently.

Under-Eye Circles

Take an antihistamine. If your dark shadows are due to seasonal allergies such as hay fever, a physician-prescribed antihistamine may reduce the discolored under-eye area.

Even out dark circles with two to three pea-size dots of an eye cream. A vitamin C-infused eye cream, or a cream with lightening agents such as kojic acid and hydroquinone, can help to even out your skin tone. Apply three or four dots of the cream under your eyes daily. Pat cream on to the area gently with your ring finger to smooth the product into your skin.

Diminish under-eye discoloration with a topical eye treatment. Just under your eye smooth on an eye cream featuring time-released retinols and alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA) to banish hyperpigmentation. To prevent irritation of the sensitive under-eye area, apply retinol- and AHA-based creams to your skin sparingly.

Puffy Eyes

Smooth a cotton ball soaked with chilled witch hazel over the eyes. Cool this skin-tightening liquid in the refrigerator for a few hours. Soak a cotton ball with the cold witch hazel. Close one eye. Press the damp cotton on your eye for five minutes. Repeat until both eyes have been adequately treated.

Slice a cucumber to make a puffy-eye cure. These veggies contain enzymes that reduce inflammation. Cut two 1-inch thick slices of cucumber with a knife. Place the slices on the eyes to cool, soothe and reduce the appearance of your under-eye bags.

Increase your water intake. Puffiness under the eyes may be a sign of dehydration, which can come if you're not getting enough sleep or if you're enjoying a few too many after-work drinks or salty snacks. Sip one or two extra eight-ounce glasses of water daily to reduce under-eye swelling.

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Items you will need

  • Antihistamine
  • Eye cream with vitamin C or a lightening agent
  • Topical eye treatment
  • Cotton ball
  • Witch hazel
  • Cucumber
  • Knife
  • Pillow


  • Sleeping on a slightly elevated pillow may prevent fluid from building up in the under-eye area overnight.
  • To reduce puffiness you can also cool your eyes with chilled metal spoons, a cold compress or cold black tea bags. Apply each of these to the eye area for five minutes or less.

About the Author

Mimi Abney is a lifestyle writer specializing in online content for women. Her work has appeared in and "Keepsake Magazine," among other publications. With over 15 years of writing and editing experience for the web and print, Abney is also a contributor to online health, beauty and fashion publications. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Spelman College.

Photo Credits

  • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images