Like dark circles, puffy eyes can be caused by a number of things, including water retention, allergies and genetics. Experts say most cases can be treated with a few simple at-home remedies such as elevating your head while sleeping, and reducing salt and alcohol consumption. Cold compresses can also offer relief, since they constrict inflamed blood vessels.
For more persistent problems, some skin-care professionals suggest using eye creams that contain caffeine. It's commonly believed to be a vasoconstrictor, a compound that helps blood vessels to contract and expel excess liquid. The question is, does it perform this way when used on the skin? That's still up in the air, says WebMD's Sonya Collins. "Some studies show that caffeine can help circulation, which could reduce puffiness," she says. But Collins adds that other studies show that cold temperatures are just as effective, which is why some people refrigerate their eye creams.
Eye gels tend to feel naturally cooling on the skin, and experts often recommend them for puffy eyes. According to an article in Marie Claire, EltaMD Renew Eye Gel (Est. $35 for 0.5 oz.) is dermatologist Carlos Charles' top eye cream pick for people in their 30s and 40s -- and its mid-range price makes it a pretty good value selection
Creams containing retinol (EltaMD Renew Eye Gel contains retinyl palmitate) can be helpful at this age, Charles says. "These creams help to increase cell turnover, thereby minimizing dark circles and textural changes," he says. "They also can help stimulate collagen production, thereby preventing volume loss down the road. Antioxidant-rich creams containing vitamin A, C and E can also help to ward off free radicals and give an extra boost to collagen production."
Makeup expert Paula Begoun awards EltaMD Renew Eye Gel her highest 5-star rating. Although it can't reverse age-related puffiness due to shifting of fat under the eyes (only surgery can correct that), "it is still a rather impressive, fragrance-free formula that treats skin to lightweight hydrating ingredients along with cell-communicating peptides and some good skin-repairing ingredients," Begoun says.
EltaMD Renew Eye Gel earns overwhelmingly positive reviews from users at Amazon.com. About two out of three users who tried it for puffy eyes say it worked. Others say it helped their wrinkles and dark circles, too. Some users find the oil-free formula isn't hydrating enough; some of them mix it with another moisturizer to make up for that.
Men are just as susceptible to skin maladies as women are, but you wouldn't know it by the way skin-care products are typically marketed almost exclusively to women. Still, experts say that men can benefit from a good skin-care routine as much as women can, and their needs are relatively the same. Paula Begoun says, "Regardless of gender, skin is skin. In terms of what either gender needs to create and maintain healthy, protected skin, there is no fundamental difference."
Although there's a growing market of skin-care products designed for men, we find few reviews for men's eye cream products. However, products that are typically marketed to women are perfectly safe and effective for men. The healthy-skin ingredients that brighten the eyes, protect from signs of aging and improve skin over time are identical for men and women alike.
Experts say a gentle eye cream or facial moisturizer that's rich in antioxidants, moisturizers and other state-of-the-art ingredients is essential for healthy skin surrounding the eyes. Clarins Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate (Est. $60 for 0.5 oz.), La Roche-Posay Redermic R Eyes (Est. $40 for 0.5 oz.), Olay Pro-X Eye Restoration Complex (Est. $30 for 0.5 oz.), EltaMD Renew Eye Gel (Est. $35 for 0.5 oz.) and other formulas discussed in this report are good products to start with, no matter your gender.