At some time or the other, we may all notice puffiness under the eyes when we wake up in the morning. But what could be causing this? A mild swelling under the eyes gives them a baggy appearance. The causes include ageing, dehydration, increased salt intake, smoking, alcohol consumption, and many more. Here are some natural ways given by experts to overcome baggy eyes.
Regular hydration is the key
“Eyelids of the human eye have skin and subcutaneous tissue. In case of dehydration, the body’s feedback mechanism tries to retain water in possible spaces. The tissues present below the eyelids are loosely attached creating potential spaces for the fluid to accumulate, resulting in baggy eyes,” says Dr Aniksha MN, an ophthalmologist from Chennai.
Experts say baggy eyes occur due to an imbalance between the intracellular and extracellular fluid in the eyelids. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of the same. Staying regularly hydrated keeps the fluid levels balanced and helps to overcome baggy eyes. However, excess water intake at one time is not going to solve the issue. Sipping water in small amounts helps the body to absorb essential nutrients from it.
Low salt diet
Soumita Biswas, chief nutritionist from Aster RV hospital, Bengaluru, says that salt consumption helps to retain water in the body. But increased salt intake shifts excess fluid into the tissues under the eyelids and results in puffy eyes. It is better to avoid packaged food containing extra salt or preservatives and stick to a home-based diet. Reducing salt intake has many other advantages such as helping to overcome heart disease and high blood pressure.
Stop alcohol and smoking
Biswas adds, “A layer of tears always covers the eyes in order to lubricate and protect them by washing away debris and bacteria. Alcohol indirectly affects the lubrication of eyes as it leads to dehydration. Dehydration also makes the skin under the eyelids look flabby and weak, resulting in the formation of bags.”
In a survey conducted on participants from four different countries in 2019, it was observed that participants with severe smoking habits and increased alcohol consumption had prominent under-eye puffiness. It states that the repairing ability of the skin is interrupted by smoking tobacco as it generates free radicals and reduces collagen synthesis. The antioxidant mechanism of the skin is harmed by alcohol consumption which eventually results in premature signs of ageing.
Reduce the body temperature
S Murugadass, acupuncture and yoga therapist from Tejas Yoga Centre, Coimbatore, says, “Cooling down the body aids in the prevention of eye puffiness. Sheethali and Sheethkari pranayama provide plenty of oxygen to the body, thereby reducing the body temperature. Practicing this for 10 minutes early in the morning and before sunset removes the excess heat accumulated in the body”. He also advises massaging the head for five to ten minutes with warm castor oil to cool the body.
Performing a simple blinking eye exercise helps to nourish the eyes and strengthen the nerves and muscles surrounding the eyes. Adequate uninterrupted sleep of 6 to 8 hours energises the body and keeps the eye healthy, he adds.
|Blinking exercise||Blink your eyes five to ten times and repeat the exercise thrice.|
|Sheethali pranayama (cooling breath)||Curl the tongue and slowly inhale through the mouth. Pause your breath as you bring the tongue to its normal position. Exhale through the nostrils. Repeat 10 to 15 times.|
|Sheethkari pranayama (hissing breath)||Keep the upper and lower teeth in contact and lips apart. Inhale through the teeth with a hissing sound. Relax the lips and tongue after inhalation. Exhale through the nose. Repeat 15 to 20 times.|
Please note, these exercises should be done under the supervision of a yoga practitioner if you are doing it for the first time.
Elderly people are likely to lose fat from the skin on the face. When the skin below the eye lids loses its tightness, it appears loose and thin as compared to the skin present in other areas. This results in the appearance of baggy eyes. It is a natural process, however, altered sleep patterns, unhealthy eating habits, and reduced consumption of water can cause early ageing. This eventually causes the muscles in the face and skin under the eyelids to relax, thereby leading to baggy eyes.
Biswas advises the following measures to overcome baggy eyes:
Cold compress: Using an ice pack reduces puffiness. It helps in cooling the area, reducing inflammation and swelling by decreasing the blood flow.
Caffeine: Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor (constricts blood vessels). Therefore, it helps in reducing puffiness. Experts suggest 2-3 cups of coffee a day, and not after 6 pm.
Aloe vera gel: Aloe vera has cooling properties and reduces the inflammation of blood vessels. When the gel is applied under the eyes, it lessens the baggy appearance.
Vitamin C rich foods: Vitamin C helps in increased collagen production and prevents sagging of skin in the face and eyelids. The sources of Vitamin C include amla, orange, guava, lemon and sweet lime.