Every day, my quarantine schedule includes an at-home workout, a 45-minute phone call to my mom, and at least 10 minutes dedicated to full-blown sobs about the state of the world. It’s a scary, anxiety-inducing time, and if you’re crying more than normal, well, same. While we’ve all got a whole lot more to worry about than how puffy our faces are (like, ya know, the current state of the world), it can admittedly be annoying to walk around with your eyes swollen shut… especially when you’re forced to stare at yourself on video conferences all day long.
As far as our (totally valid) emotions go, all we can really do right now is brave the storm and try to get through it as best as possible. But as far as crying-induced facial puffiness goes, there’s an easy way to fix it that requires zero dollars, zero trips to the drugstore, and zero Amazon Prime shipments. All you’ve gotta do is step in the shower.
According to celebrity facialist Renée Rouleau, a hot shower can help calm skin inflammation so your coworkers will be none the wiser about your current mental/emotional state the next time you get on Zoom. “Heat from the water dilates (relaxes and opens) lymphatic vessels to help assist with drainage of fluids, wastes, and toxins that build up in the vessels,” she says. “When you wash your face in the shower and the water is directly hitting you with force, this helps to stimulate excess fluids to move out of the eye area. In addition to the heat helping with the circulation, your vertical position in the shower helps drainage move out of the face area.”
To help even more with the situation, after you step out of the shower, splash your face with cold water to shrink capillaries and reduce puffiness. “Cool temperatures are generally thought to constrict blood vessels and eliminate excess fluid,” says board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD.
Another easy (and free) way to reduce those eye bags back to their normal size: Grab an ice cube and treat yourself to a DIY kitchen facial. Gently massage the swollen area with an ice cube, which will dilate the blood vessels and distribute any lymphatic buildup going on underneath the skin. If you do want to invest in a puffiness-reducing product, pros (and I) swear by Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels ($18), which are made with ginkgo biloba, which improves blood flow, and offers a cooling effect to help calm the area.
And one more thing that can help, according to Redditors? Grab some Vaseline (otherwise known as “the Swiss Army knife of beauty products” because of its zillions of uses), and apply it to the area around your eyes. This will create a barrier between your skin and your tears, and prevent their salt from making you even more swollen. Then do yourself a favor and go follow the #fluffypuppy hashtag on Instagram. It will help, a little.
Here are some other ways derms say you should be changing your skin-care routine now that you’re staying inside all day. Plus, pros tell us once and for all whether or not you really need to be showering every day during quarantine.