How to soothe swollen eyes from crying
Published December 09 2019
If heartbreak, an emotional movie or an incident led to tears, you want to know how to soothe swollen eyes from crying.
Because even if we’re okay with the fact we cried -
Sometimes, that doesn’t mean we feel like having the world know we were sobbing.
That’s why we created this blog, to share:
- The reason we cry (and stats to show how NOT alone you are)
- Why eyes get puffy after crying
- Simple, home remedies for making eyes look calmer and refreshed
Before the puffy eyes from crying remedies → Here’s WHY we cry
First, it’s important that you know: It is incredibly common for even the toughest-appearing people to cry, and both sexes cry more than people may assume.
In the United States, it’s estimated that women cry an average of 3.5 times per month and men cry an average of 1.9 times a month. [source] Of course, during difficult seasons this may be much greater - such as after grief, heartbreak or loss.
If it helps to see tears in this more scientific way, humans produce three types of tears:
- Basal: The tear ducts constantly secrete basal tears, which are a protein-rich antibacterial liquid that helps to keep the eyes moist every time a person blinks.
- Reflex: These are tears triggered by irritants such as wind, smoke, or onions. They are released to flush out these irritants and protect the eye- they are our body’s way of washing out bits of dust and debris we expose our eyes to on a daily basis.
- Emotional: Humans shed tears in response to a range of emotions. These tears contain a higher level of stress hormones than other types of tears.
The main type of crying we experience
When people talk about crying, they are usually referring to the final type - the emotional tears. These tears are produced by the lachrymal gland, located in the upper, outer corner of our eyelids. [source]
Emotional tears are more watery than basic tears, and they roll down your cheeks and into your nose, through tiny ducts. Alas, if you’re reading this blog, it’s a feeling you know well already (and why you want to know the ultimate puffy eyes from crying remedy.)
There are several benefits of crying, including self-soothing, which helps us regulate our emotions, calm ourselves and reduce distress. Shedding emotional tears also releases oxytocin and endorphins- chemicals that make people feel good and may also ease both physical and emotional pain. In this way, crying can help reduce pain and promote a sense of well-being.
Why do eyes get puffy after crying?
As shared above, emotional tears are more watery, which means they're less salty than basic tear secretions and the tissue in your eye. Through the process of osmosis, the (diluted) water moves into the saltier ocular tissues, which makes them swell up [source]
We also tend to rub our eyes when we cry, which worsens the ‘puffiness’ which is already there. Whether from grief or disbelief or any other emotion, when sad there is often the urge to brings hands to the face.
Luckily, know you’re okay and there are absolutely ways to help.
How to not look like you’ve been crying
Even after any sobs have passed, perhaps you find yourself stuck with puffy eyes. A swollen face, a bright red nose, and eyes to match are all telltale signs of a good cry. “These effects can last for as little as a few minutes or stretch on for a few hours,” says Marina Peredo, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, in New York City, with a private practice in Smithtown, New York. [source]
These are powerful yet easy steps - one sure to be your puffy eyes from crying remedy.
Apply a cold compress
A cold compress can help reduce swelling. Simply find a clean washcloth and wet it with cool water (ideally place it into the fridge or freezer for a few quick minutes to up the chill factor). Sit up in bed or in a comfortable chair. Apply the wet washcloth to the skin under and around your eyes for a few minutes, using gentle pressure.
Cucumber slices are known to help soothe puffy eyes and reduce swelling, but they work best when they are refrigerated. Wash your cucumber before cutting two 1/4-inch slices off. You can save the rest of the cucumber for later. Keep the slices on your eyelids until they’re no longer cool. (Or, at the very least, apply vitamins found in plants in a faster way.)
Black tea bags
The reason tea bags are ideal? The same element that we run out to get from Starbucks for energy: The caffeine.
Most varieties of black tea contain caffeine, and there’s some evidence that it can penetrate the skin, ease puffiness, and increase circulation. To try this method, wet two tea bags, refrigerate them for 20 minutes, and then place them on your eyes for about 15 to 30 minutes.
We could all do with a massage from time to time- the same goes for your face. Gently tapping or massaging around your eyes should make a mountain of difference- the aim? To increase blood flow to the swollen area.
- Work the pressure points in your brow for a few seconds before sweeping your fingers from the inside corner of your eye outward. This helps drain the inflamed area.
- Tap at your sinuses using two fingers on each hand, starting on either side of your nose and working outward. You may even feel fluid moving in this area.
- Gently massage the lymph nodes in your neck, working in a downward motion, away from your face.
- Continue for about 3 minutes, and repeat as needed. [source]
A short meditation
If your mind keeps flashing back to the thing causing the tears, you may need a mental exercise to help reset the brain and calm the face. A perfect option is to download a meditation app (many have free versions) and take even a quick 1 - 3 minute meditation. Some great options include Calm and Insight Timer.
If your eyes feel dry after a good cry, especially the skin around the eyes, you should rehydrate by drinking some water, to restore the moisture loss. Scientists recommend drinking up to 8 glasses of water each day for effective hydration. Even if you’ve already had that much to drink, the excess tears mean more water loss and it’s important to replace that.
If you find it challenging to guzzle plain water, consider squeezing a bit of lemon into your glass, or even trying out some fruit infuser water bottles that allow you to insert your favorite fruit as a flavoring.
Especially if you’re going out or getting on a video call which you want to not look like you’ve been crying, here’s one of the very best ways for instant puffy eyes from crying remedy.
While water is a good start, topical is the best way to give your sweet, tired eyes relief. To combine all the most effective natural ingredients - from coconut oil to aloe and various Vitamins that penetrate hydration at the deepest level (and only requires 30 seconds to apply - no laying down required), make sure to lock in moisture with a vegan, proven moisturizer.