So, you finally clocked in eight hours of sleep - but the first comment you hear at work the next morning would make everyone think otherwise: “You look so tired.”

Everyone gets puffy, dark bags under their eyes once in a while, but what do you do when you look perpetually exhausted? Here’s everything you need to know about why your eyes get so swollen, and how to de-puff fast.

What causes puffy eyes?

Sometimes, dark circles and puffy eyes are simply out of your control. Having naturally poor circulation in your under-eye area (thanks, genetics!) allows blood and fluid to easily pool there. But there are many day-to-day habits and irritants that could be making that area look more inflated than it needs to be, including:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Allergies
  • Loose skin
  • Travelling
  • Contact lenses
  • Crying
  • Certain medications
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Eating excess salt
  • Underlying medical conditions

If you don’t typically suffer from puffy eyes, monitor the swelling closely. If it’s coming on in tandem with redness or irritation, you might be dealing with a scratch, sty, or even an infection like conjunctivitis. If you notice any vision changes or discharge, that’s your cue to head to the eye doctor ASAP.

6 ways to get rid of dark circles and puffy eyes

While you may not be able to do much if your eyes are just naturally a bit puffy, there are certain measures you can take if, say, too much soy sauce on your sushi makes you swell up the morning after your meal, explains anti-ageing expert Dr Jamé Hesket. Try these tips to prevent, correct, and protect your under-eyes when you need to de-puff fast.

1. Sleep on your back

First thing’s first: make sure you clock in enough shuteye each night. Aim for at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

The position you sleep in can make a difference, too. Be sure to snooze with your head elevated above your heart to prevent puffiness, as this prevents fluids from settling in your face and keeps blood moving freely through your entire body as you sleep. On your back is best, as your side and stomach compromise circulation, says Dr Heskett.

2. Drink enough fluids 

Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout your day, advises Dr Heskett. When you’re dehydrated your body holds onto fluids, which can cause puffiness. Sipping H2O can also help flush excess salt from your system (which your heart will thank you for, too.) The Institute of Medicine recommends women glug 2.7 litres of fluid through liquids and food every day. That includes water-rich produce, like tomatoes, watermelon, and cucumbers. If you need help convincing yourself to drink more water, try an infuser bottle, which allows you to flavour your water naturally. One of our editors swears by it, and says it’s what finally helped her meet her hydration needs.

3. Try dry brushing 

If you wake up feeling puffy, treat yourself to a mini facial massage before you get ready for the day, suggests Dr. Heskett. Use a dry brush for three minutes to try and move fluid out of your under-eye area. You want to use one designed for the face—not a body brush—as the small size and softer bristles is better suited for the delicate skin surrounding your eyes.  Use gentle (emphasis on gentle!) upward sweeping motions. You can also try this before bed to prevent fluid from pooling toward your under-eyes.

4. Roll your face 

Using a jade roller—a tool that holds a jade stone and looks like a mini paint roller—can give you results similar to dry brushing. Roll it upward and outward on the face with light pressure massages the area, which encourages lymphatic drainage and boosts circulation. 

5. Cool things down

After brushing, you’ll want to target acute swelling, says Dr Heskett. Traditional remedies like a cold compress, cold cucumber slices, and steeped (and cooled) chamomile teabags will all help reduce inflammation to chase away puffiness. You could also keep a cooling eye mask stored in your freezer for a quick and easy fix.

6. Choose the right gel

Caffeine-infused products work to deflate eye bags by constricting your blood vessels, says dermatologist Dr Purvisha Pateli.

7. Plump things up

Sometimes you can be saddled with bags because loose skin around your under-eyes makes things look puffy. The fix? Look for an eye cream with hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that binds with water to fill out the area and stimulates elastin production to tighten over time, says dermatologist Dr Kenneth Mark.

8. Protect your skin 

The sun doesn’t do your skin any favours. Harmful UV rays damage and degrade your natural collagen and elastin, making loose skin and bags more prominent. Block those ageing effects with a good facial sunscreen. “Apply it to the bony ridge under your eyes and wear sunglasses regularly to prevent problems,” says Dr Heskett.