Help! My Face is Puffy!
Inflammation is something we talk a lot about in well-being these days and water retention can be both uncomfortable and unsightly. Sometimes, with the best will in the world and a bathroom cabinet full of promising cosmetics, facial puffiness can still prevail. Love French Style Blog asked expert skin technician and makeup artist in France Claire Jones for her tips on healing water retention and facial puffiness.
Q: So, sometimes, no matter how early we go to bed we still wake up with puffy eyes. What’s going on?
A: When we look at our puffy eyes it’s easy to think that puffiness is a surface skin issue when in fact there are other more important things going on within the body that cause it. Eyes are not only the windows to our soul but also a great indication of what is going on internally.
Oedema (water retention) around the eyes can be brought on by a number of things:
- Water will accumulate around the eyes after a night of lying in your bed, the result being puffing around the eyes. Try sleeping on two pillows to elevate your head and aid drainage.
- Not enough sleep or sleeping badly, allergies, sinus issues, dust and pollution, smoke/smoking, intense heat, air conditioning, eye strain all play their part. If you are slumped over a computer all day or trying to read in the dark this won’t help either.
- Taking medications that upset the natural balance of your hydration levels cause either dehydration or oedema. When we are dehydrated our body hangs on to whatever fluid it can and this usually sits around the eye area.
- Hormonal fluctuations also come into play, thanks Mother Nature! Changes in blood sugar levels, haemoglobin and how well our kidneys effectively clean the toxins from our blood all come into play. Our body systems need to be working harmoniously to keep all those levels balanced otherwise, you guessed it, baggy eyes start to appear.
- As we age our eyes struggle more with all of the above which in turn can lead to the dreaded puffy eye. It doesn’t help that as we grow older our skin starts to weaken and thin and visible puffiness becomes more common.
Q: So you’re saying that perhaps we need to start from the inside?
A: Yes. Drink water – lots of it! If you are like me and lurch for the coffee pot first thing then the thought of drinking lemon water as your ‘starter motor’ drink may seem off putting. However, a squeeze of lemon into a glass of warm or cold water kick-starts the hydration process. Water retention, as I already mentioned, can cause eye puffiness. A higher water intake keeps high salt concentrations from accumulating around the eyes and flushes the area with the result being that swelling diminishes. Avoid caffeine and alcohol that both lead to dehydration. Sorry about that.
Q: Yes, that’s just what we didn’t want to hear! Do you have any quick fixes to being puffiness down?
A: If you have rose water soak two cotton wool pads in it, squeeze out the excess then pop them into the freezer for about half an hour then take the ice cold, rose water infused pads out of the freezer and pop them over your eyes for 10-15 minutes. Rose water is usually available in pharmacies and is not expensive. If you don’t have rose water just use good old plain water.
Q: Oh that sounds gorgeous! is it true that cucumber can help too?
A: The caffeic acid and vitamin C found in cucumber also helps to soothe skin and reduce puffiness. A couple of cold slices laid over your peepers for 10 minutes can make a big difference as can chilled used green tea bags. Again squeeze our some of the excess moisture from your green tea bag and let the cooling tannin and caffeine infused pads do their job.
Q: There are so many products that promise to reduce eye puffiness, can they really?
A: Eye serums, of course have long been lauded by the beauty mags and manufacturers. I would advocate avoiding creams as these tend to be heavy and greasy and can actually exacerbate the bag issue. Instead look for caffeine loaded serums which are lighter weight and more likely to produce a happy result.
Models are well known for using hemorrhoid creams as a quick fix to baggy eyes as it constricts the blood vessels and reduces puffiness. I don’t advise this however as although it does work it also thins the delicate skin under the eyes which in turn can cause premature aging. Once the under eye skin is thinned it will not re-thicken.
Q: It’s quite annoying when you’ve been on a diet that you still get a puffy eyes! Any ideas what the cause could be?
A: Artificial sweeteners are not our friends and research now shows us that they should be avoided. If you are battling with puffy eyes then step away from the sweetener. Aspartame and saccharin have been shown in studies to cause fluid retention. Time to cut out diet drinks especially the fizzy type.
Salt is not our friend. It encourages water retention, so donate your salty snack to a friend and grab a glass of water instead. Watermelon, pineapple and cucumber are also water dense and full of hydrating goodness so make these your go to snacks.
Q: Any other tips for keeping peepers pretty?
A: Eye protection, ie sun glasses, not only make you look super chic and somewhat cool but they also help save your eyes from UV damage, shielding your eyes from sun, wind and dust that cause puffy eyes.
Finally, if you continue to experience puffy eyes think about seeing your GP: One of the signs of a thyroid imbalance is puffiness around the eye area as is an iron deficiency. A simple blood test will tell you all you need to know. If you are older and through the menopause, iron can often be in short supply.
Q: So what about puffiness elsewhere on the face?
A: To reduce puffiness in the face quickly fill your bathroom sink with cold water, adding ice cubes to it and a glug of witch hazel. Then dunk, not splash, your face into the bowl of water a good half dozen times or more as the cold will shrink the capillaries and stimulate drainage whilst the witch hazel’s natural anti inflammatory properties reduce the puffiness.
Rinsing your face in green tea can also help and you can use the cold bags on your eyes afterwards too. Green tea contains the same levels of caffeine as coffee so it will be not only gentle but also effective at de-puffing. Rinse all of all of these off with cold water.
Q: Can working out help facial puffiness?
A: Exercise improves circulation as it helps to move fluid through the body. Take a brisk walk or even a run. I love yoga and this will help too. Namaste!
Q: Namaste Indeed! Any magic potions you could recommend?
A: Any serum containing Matrixyl (a peptide – palmitoyl-pentapeptide 3) or Matrixyl 3000 (palmitoyl-tripeptide and palmitoyl-oligopeptide) or Argireline (AH-3) can also be very effective especially when layered, one over the other. Argireline is used in a number of instant lifting creams and Matrixyl stimulates collagen synthesis and skin repair whilst Matrixyl 3000 aids collagen production and improved elastin.
Q: Just getting the dictionary out…
A: A great option is to familiarise yourself with the much talked about skincare brand The Ordinary, they offer both serums which work wonderfully together (Matrixyl 10% + HA from the Ordinary contains Matrixyl 3000).
Q: Any other makeup artist secrets you could share?
A: I also recently tried Balanceme’s Tinted Wonder Eye Cream and I could feel the gentle tightening effect actually taking place for the first 5-10 minutes after application and I particularly liked the gentle under eye coverage it offered too.
The Ordinary, from Deciem, also have a Caffeine Solution that works wonderfully as does Deciem’s Neck Elasticity Catalyst from their NIOD range. A very tiny smear around the eyes over the top of Argireline or over their eye serum (NIOD – Fractionated Eye Contour Concentrate) can really help tone the eye area before you slather NEC over your neck and lower jaw area for further conditioning and tightening.
Skin Doctors also have an eye and face serum for immediate lifting, so for albeit temporary but fast acting results try their *Instant Facelift or *Instant Eyelift serums. I do find that when I say ‘temporary’ it is just that and results last just a few short hours.
*Patch test first as these can cause irritation if you have particularly sensitive skin.
Q: Any makeup you would recommend as a cover up?
A: Whilst you wait for the toning to start, cover up and brighten up with a highlighter, or corrector. I love Veil Cosmetics Complexion Fix, Correct, Conceal and Highlight pen. More accessible on the high street or in supermarkets is Maybelline’s Dream Lumi Touch pen or if you want to splash some cash the old favourite, Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Eclat.
Q: Thank you so much Claire, as always, amazing advice.
A: So to round up, if you are plagued with puffiness the first thing to do is look at your life choices, a few tweaks to your lifestyle could make all the difference. Add in water and exercise, avoid sodium (salt), caffeine and alcohol. In the meantime, if you can’t wait for results, cover up or fake it with an instant lift serum.
Here’s a list of Claire’s recommended products
Matrixyl 10% + HA – 11.50€
Argireline Solution 10% – 7.20€
Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG – 6.70€
NEC (Neck Elasticity Catalyst) – 60€
FECC (Fractionated Eye Contour Concentrate) – 51€
Tinted Wonder Eye Cream – 25.50€
Instant Facelift Serum – 35.95€
Instant Eyelift Serum – 27.95€
Complexion Fix, Correct, Conceal and Highlight – 28.90€
Dream Lumi Touch – 14€
Touche Eclat – 37€
from 3€ for 250ml
from 7€ for 200ml