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Wrinkles and Puffiness Around the Eyes: What Causes It and How Can We Fix It?


Wrinkles are a natural part of aging. Eye wrinkles are usually the first lines to appear, so they take a lot of people off guard. The eyes are the focal point of our face, so it’s normal to be worried about those wrinkles and bags.

The Anatomy Around your Eyes

Because of the way our eyes are physically structured, it makes it an easy place for wrinkles and puffiness to appear earlier than we’d like. The area under our eye is called the periorbital hollow.  Your eyeball protrudes a bit from the socket, so the area under is a little bit hollow.  The area where your bottom lashes are is called the lacrimal papilla.  It’s only attached at the corners and over time the tissues and ligaments around it weakens, causing our lids to droop.

The thin under eye skin is unique to our face and entire body.  It’s called the adnexa and is 10 times thinner than the skin on the rest of your face.  Our eyes are the source of a lot of our expressions, so that tissue thin skin is constantly moving around.  Smile lines usually appear at the outer corners of our eyes and some people develop lines from excessive squinting.

Your eyes get puffy not only because of the structure but because underneath that thin skin there are a lot of blood vessels.  Those vessels can swell up after sleeping, being rubbed, and especially if you suffer from a cold or allergies.

Everyone has the same eye anatomy, but your genetics play a dominant role in exactly where that eye is situated and the make up of your skin.  People with larger, more protruding eyes might have more eye wrinkles and bags as they age than someone who has eyes set further in.

Causes of Eye Wrinkles & Puffiness

Besides the structure of the area around your eyes, there are some external factors that contribute to wrinkles and puffiness.

  • Age:  Age is the number one reason we get wrinkles!  As we get older, our skin loses elasticity because we aren’t getting the collagen we used to.  
  • Sun exposure:  Exposure to ultraviolet rays is known to cause skin damage.  It hurts the delicate under eye area even more. 
  • Repetitive movement: This was discussed above.  Talking, blinking, furrowing your brow, smiling, squinting and more cause wrinkles over time.  The wrinkles that form at the outer corners of your eyes are nicknamed crow’s feet.  It’s an ugly name for something that forms from many smiles over time.
  • Sleeping habits:  If you are a stomach or side sleeper, your face is pushed against a pillow at night.  Sleeping in one position moves the skin like an expression does.  
  • Environment:  Where you live can have an affect on your skin.  Dry weather, wind, and pollution have the most negative impact.
  • Smoking or vaping:  This one is obvious.  Smoking damages collagen and elastin faster than any of the other causes listed here. 

Remedies for Eye Wrinkles and Puffiness

The best way to control wrinkles is to do your best to prevent them for as long as possible.  And if you already have them, you can slow their progress.  There are some simple low to no cost tactics you can use:

  • Avoid or limit exposure to the sun.  Wear sunscreen or make up that contains it.  Wear a hat to block the sun from your eyes so you don’t squint.
  • Sleep on your back if you can.  If that is too difficult, you can use a silk or satin pillowcase that is more gentle on your skin.  You can even purchase a special anti-aging pillow so you don’t have to give up your favorite sleeping position to minimize wrinkles.
  • Stop smoking.  This one needs no explanation.
  • Use moisturizer.  Think about the ground.  When it rains often enough, the dirt is soft and healthy looking but during a drought the ground pulls in on itself and cracks.  Your skin behaves the same way.  In addition to topical moisturizer, be sure to drink lots of water and keep your whole body hydrated.  This is great for your skin!
  • Treat your allergies.  If your eyes are puffy due to allergies, talk to your doctor.  They can recommend a good over the counter medication.  
  • Don’t touch the area around your eyes. The skin is very sensitive.  If your eyes itch, try drops as opposed to rubbing them.

Best Ingredients for Eye Wrinkles and Puffiness Around Your Eyes

As part of your skincare routine, using products made specifically for the skin around your eyes is important.  Here are some ingredients that can show improvement with fine lines and wrinkles in that area.


Retinol is probably the best known ingredient for wrinkles all over your face.  It’s a derivative of vitamin A.  Retinol can help turn over skin cells faster so that your complexion is smooth and even.  One of the drawbacks of retinol is that it can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.  So, always wear sunscreen or protect your skin outdoors (you should do this whether you use retinol or not).

A lot of people confuse retinol with Retin-A, which is pure vitamin A.  That product is very strong and not good for sensitive skin around your eyes.


Coenzyme Q-10, better known as CoQ-10 is a nutrient.  It’s common in many skincare products that cater to anti-aging.  Most people take CoQ-10 as a dietary supplement, but it’s also found naturally in green vegetables, fish, and some meats.  

Supplementing with CoQ-10 can help reduce wrinkles.  A study was done where subjects took the nutrient for 12 weeks.  This limited the deterioration of the skin’s elasticity and visibly improved signs of aging.  


Seaweed contains bioactive compounds that promote good health and are being studied as potential remedies for preventing cancer and heart disease.  Bioactive compounds like the ones found in seaweed can also help out skin.  

Seaweed is being actively researched for it’s benefits to our skin.  One study showed that helped skin disorders including hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, dry skin, inflammation, and even skin cancer!  Scientists are working to break down which type of seaweed will be most beneficial for skin care use.  

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid keeps popping up everywhere.  It’s been shown to be anti-aging, healing, beneficial for elasticity, and can even help even your skin tone.  It bonds up to 1000 times it’s weight in water and keeps your skin moisturized as a result.  


Remember that wrinkles are part of the natural aging process.  In fact there is a study that shows that wrinkles around our eyes make us appear more genuine!  You may not be able to completely eliminate what you already have, but research has shown benefits of several vitamins and nutrients.  Selecting the right products and adopting a lifestyle to slow the aging process will help those wrinkles and that puffiness around your eyes.

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