How to Avoid Puffy Eyes During the Holiday Season

by Tami Brehse November 30, 2016

How to Avoid Puffy Eyes During the Holiday Season

how to avoid puffy eyes

‘Tis the season… for indulgent food, staying up late and having one too many glasses of egg nog!

It’s all in the spirit of the holidays, but it can do a number on your sensitive eye area, making you look like you’ve been up all night. Not a good look for an important work meeting!

Here are the biggest causes for puffy eyes, all of which appear more frequently than usual around the holidays. Plus, some easy things you can do to minimize the ‘three hours of sleep’ look.

The Culprits

Sugar puffy eyes


Aunt Sally’s sugar cookies are irresistible, but are they worth the effects to your under-eye area?

Sugar is a trigger for inflammation all over the body. One of the places it shows up most prominently is under the eyes, where skin is especially thin and sensitive.

The solution: Dermatologists report that if you cut sugar from your diet, you’ll immediately see improvement to your puffy eyes.

Can’t give up sugar cold turkey? (Neither can we!) Instead, opt for half of one of those decadent sugar cookies instead of polishing off a plate of them. You can also get your sugar fix from delicious, in-season natural sources of sugar, like yummy cranberries, which are better for the body than the refined kind found in most baked goods.

Salty Foods

You probably know by now that eating lots of salt causes your body to retain fluid. Where does that fluid go? You guessed it—it gets trapped around your eyes causing that worn out look.

The solution: The obvious solution is to cut back on salty foods and skip the salt shaker at the dinner table. Most of us get plenty of sodium in our daily diet without needing to add more for seasoning.

To help mitigate fluid retention, up your water consumption (this is also a great idea if you’re indulging in a boozy beverage or two!). Staying hydrated will help prevent your body from hanging onto excessive fluids.

Finally, applying a cold compress or cucumber slices to your under-eye area for a few minutes will help minimize the swelling.

alcohol puffy eyes


The wine seems to flow more freely than water this time of year, doesn’t it?! There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to a few cocktails, but be warned—your skin will likely pay the price.

Alcohol is not only made up of one of the other culprits mentioned above—sugar—it also winds up dehydrating your body. Doctors explain that as the hangover sets in, your body tries to retain fluid, which, as we know, means those not-so-lovely puffy eyes.

The solution: You could abstain from alcohol entirely, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, ensure your body is getting plenty of water any time you’re drinking. Stick to the old standby rule of having a glass of water in between each drink.

You can also reduce the likelihood of puffy eyes the morning after a holiday party by choosing your alcohol wisely. Rich, sugary drinks like margaritas are the worst offenders, followed closely by dark liquors and liqueurs, which contain more sugar than their clear counterparts.

Your best bet is something low on sugar, like a gin and tonic or vodka and soda with lime juice.

Lack of Sleep

They don’t call it “beauty sleep” for nothing! When you’re not getting enough shut-eye, your eyes themselves are a dead giveaway.

The solution: Reduce puffiness by getting at least seven hours of sleep per night.

Your sleeping position can also contribute to retaining fluids around the eyes. Try sleeping on a slight incline (an additional pillow will do the trick) to keep fluid from pooling in the under-eye area.

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Tami Brehse
Tami Brehse