Medically Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on May 11, 2020

Cool Compress


Bags under your eyes? Lack of sleep, allergies, salty food, and smoking all can lead to under-eye puffiness. The bags usually mean fluid has collected there. One of the easiest home fixes is a cool compress. Wet a clean cloth with cold water, wring it out, and gently press over your eyes for a few minutes. Do it while sitting, not lying down. Pop the cloth in the fridge or the freezer for extra coldness.

Hemorrhoid Cream


This over-the-counter cream can do more than one thing. It works in part by tightening your skin. So you can use it to treat puffiness under your eyes.  Dab it on like moisturizer. If you find the scent too strong, mix it into your usual moisturizer. Take care not to get it into your eyes. That may cause irritation and even worsen the puffiness.

Drink More Water


Sometimes the solution to puffiness or swelling is more water. When you’re dehydrated, your body’s cells and tissues absorb water and hold onto it. This may lead to puffiness. As you drink up, the cells release the stored-up water and help the swelling subside.

Raise Your Feet


If your feet or ankles are swollen, prop them up to help take the load off. Elevating the swollen areas helps keep fluid from pooling in your lower body parts. This is called edema. It can happen for many reasons, including pregnancy, long days on your feet, or long-distance driving or air travel. Sit with your feet on an ottoman or sofa or lie down with your legs up against the wall. Raise them above your heart.

Raid Your Pantry


Combat the bloated look on your face with teabags. Soak them in warm water, let them cool, and lay them over your eyes. The tea’s caffeine is what helps narrow the blood vessels to lower puffiness. So use black or oolong tea, not herbal ones like peppermint or chamomile. Or try cooled slices of cucumbers, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

Cut Salt


It controls the balance of fluid in your body, including the amount of blood. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure and cause your body to hang on to extra fluid. The sodium in salt pulls water into your blood vessels and enlarges them. This can cause your face, legs, ankles, or feet to swell. Aim to eat no more than 2,000 milligrams of sodium per day. That’s less than a teaspoon of salt.



Sitting or standing still for too long can cause fluid buildup in your legs and other lower parts of your body. Research shows that exercise may chase away the swelling better than rest can. One gentle workout is swimming, which won’t stress your joints. Plus, regular exercise can help lower your weight, which also can help ward off puffiness.

Limit Alcohol


A night of drinking can show up as bloated face, feet, or belly. Alcohol has an inflammatory effect on your body. It’s also a diuretic, which makes you lose water through your pee. In most cases, the swelling goes away in 12 to 24 hours after your body processes the alcohol. Drinking water can help replace lost fluids and reduce puffiness.

Treat Your Allergies


They can trigger puffiness under or around your eyes. Controlling your allergies also may control the swelling. Keep away from your known allergens, such as pollen or mold, as much as possible. Consider a nasal saline rinse, like a neti pot. If you need something stronger, over-the-counter antihistamines may help. Talk to your doctor about what’s best for you.

Try a Massage


It’s not only relaxing but can help banish pregnancy-related swelling. Massage can help the fluid that settles between the tissue flow where it needs to go. You can use your fingertips to knead swollen feet or legs yourself. If a loved one or a friend can do it for you, even better. Massaging muscle and soft tissue not only lowers swelling, but stress, tension, and pain, too.

Prop a Pillow


Try sleeping with an extra pillow tucked under your head. Elevation helps keep fluid from pooling in certain areas, such as under your eyes. Stack the pillows so that they’re high enough to keep your head above your heart without straining your neck. 

Inflammation Fighting Foods


Occasional swelling can be a sign of long-term inflammatory disease such as ulcerative colitis. Certain foods can help tamp down inflammation. They include fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats such as monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon and other fatty fish. Other good choices include dark chocolate, green tea, turmeric, and ginger.

Compression Socks


They put constant, firm pressure on your feet and ankles to prevent fluid from welling up. Don the socks in the morning and wear them for as long as they’re comfortable. They come in different weights with some socks heavier than others. Start with a lighter pair to try them out.

Ibuprofen or Aspirin


These and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are sold over the counter. They can help lower swelling and any accompanying pain. NSAIDs may cause an upset stomach. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, talk to your doctor before you take them.

Magnesium Supplements


Magnesium is a type of mineral called an electrolyte, which helps balance your sodium levels. Studies show they may lower inflammation as well as puffiness in people who retain a lot of water. A common dosage is 200-400 milligrams a day. If you have a kidney or a heart condition, ask if magnesium supplements are safe for you.

Show Sources


1) WebMD / Alexander Hadjidakis

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American Academy of Ophthalmology: "Bags Under the Eyes."

Mayo Clinic: "Bags Under the Eyes," "Dehydration Can Lead to Serious Complications."

Healthy Women: "How to Get Rid of Puffy Eyes."

University of California San Francisco: "Guidelines for a Low Sodium Diet."

American Heart Association: "Get the Scoop on Sodium and Salt."

Cleveland Clinic: "6 Best Fixes for Pain and Swelling in Your Feet and Ankles."

International Archives of Medicine: "Comparison of Reduction of Edema After Rest and After Muscle Exercises in Treatment of Chronic Venous Insufficiency."

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Allergy Treatment."

Family Recovery Specialists: "What To Do When Alcohol Causes Swollen Feet?"

American Pregnancy Association: "Postpartum Massage."

Golden Gate Obstetrics and Gynecology: "10 Steps to Banish the Bags and Brighten Your Eyes."

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Can Diet Help with Inflammation?"

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Pain Relievers: Understanding Your OTC Options."

Journal of Research in Medical Sciences: "Effects of Oral Magnesium Supplementation on Inflammatory Markers in Middle-Aged Overweight Women."