We’ve heard it time and time again: the eyes are the window to the soul. That is, unless they’re puffy, sullen, and tired-looking.

Tired, swollen eyes with dark eyebags underneath is an issue that unnerves people of all ages, from stressed-out college kids to ladies in their golden years who try their best to keep up with their anti-aging routine.

Whether it’s a one-off side effect of a long night or from fine lines and wrinkles from old age, having tired-looking eyes can be a bust for your self-confidence. Luckily, there are tons of ways to refresh your eyes when they’re looking a bit exhausted, both in the short-term or for the long run.

Let’s dissect what makes eyes look tired to begin with, and what you can do to restore that glimmer and youthful sparkle in your eyes.

What Makes Our Eyes Look Tired?

Woman looking at skin in mirror

“Tired” eyes is a bit vague, no? But you can’t really help but describe it that way when the appearance can differ from person to person. For some, it comes in the form of redness and puffiness, while for others, it’s the saggy skin by the lids and under-eyes that accentuate exhaustion and weariness.

While some people naturally have darker skin under their eyes, there are a bunch of circumstantial reasons why your eyes can look a bit tired, with many unique manifestations.

Here are some of the most common causes of tired-looking eyes and what really happens to your eyes when you fall prey to them:

Skin Aging

This is the most probable reason why your eyes look a bit tired and sullen if you’re in your fifties or beyond. As you grow older, the tissues and muscles by your eye area weaken, so they sag a bit, making you look a bit sleepy.

As you mature, our skin’s elasticity weakens. Fats and fluids in the eye area can accumulate in your lower eyelids, making them look plumper, and in turn, a lot puffier. Saggy skin is just the cherry on top, making you look even more fatigued.

Another thing that happens when you age is a slowdown in collagen production. Your skin can look thinner and more see-through, making blood vessels more visible than they were before. This can make you look like you have dark circles under your eyes, even if you didn’t have a late night.

Fluid Retention

This is a more temporary reason for eye swelling, and it usually occurs when you wake up after crying your eyes out watching a tearjerker movie the night before, or if you’ve just had a very salty meal.

When you’re dehydrated, your eyes can puff up and swell because they’re very sensitive to the lack of water. If you find that your eyes get red and puffy to the point that you can’t open your eyes, try downing a glass of water and keeping yourself hydrated for the rest of the day.

Lack of Sleep

When you’re stressed out and not getting enough sleep, your eyes are a dead giveaway. They can look darker and have bigger bags underneath when you’re more tired than usual or have a lot on your mind, like an unbearable workload or emotional anxiety.


Vices like smoking is known to cause your skin to age faster, and your eyes are no exception to this. Saggy eyebags is just one effect of smoking too much.

If you suspect that your eyes have been looking darker and more sullen because of smoking, you should consider quitting. You’ll see a world of difference not just under your eyes but in your skin, hair, nails, and overall health.


When triggered by allergies, your body produces a compound called histamine, which is an immune response to something foreign that comes into contact with the body—in this case, your eyes.

Histamine dilates the blood vessels under your eyes, which increases blood flow in the area. This gives you the appearance of darker circles and puffy, inflamed lids.


Lastly, we have a cause that’s very relevant to today’s digital age. Reading without your glasses on or staring into a laptop screen all day long can strain your eyes. This causes blood vessels in the area to dilate, allowing blood to rush through and making your under-eyes look dark and tired.

Easy Ways to Get Rid of Dull, Tired-Looking Eyes

Woman with tea bags on eyes

Having eye bags and puffy eyes isn’t usually enough of a concern to get you driving to the hospital. Tired-looking eyes are harmless and often don’t need any medical attention. Instead, you can fix it at home with natural remedies or a bit of cosmetic magic.

If you have a hunch that your redness, puffiness, or dark circles are from straining your eye in one way or another — including lack of sleep and crying your eyes out—you might want to try applying a cold compress in the eye area.

Soothing the eyes with something cool can reduce puffiness by a ton. It can also relax your blood vessels, allowing your under-eyes to look a bit lighter and brighter.

Another way to soothe your eye area is with caffeine. Try cooling the area with some cold tea bags or ice cubes made of coffee.

Tea soothes inflammation and irritation in the eyes. Meanwhile, the caffeine in tea and coffee can constrict your blood vessels, decreasing swelling and darkening in the area. Caffeine can also drain out any fluids that are making your eyes look swollen and bloated.

Caffeine is also a fantastic way to firm up the skin, which in turn makes your eyes look younger and more alive.

Another way to tackle tired-looking eyes on a more long-term basis is to incorporate a moisturizing eye cream into your nightly beauty routine. Keeping your skin nourished is a great way to delay the onset of fine lines and wrinkles, which can aggravate that exhausted look in your eyes.

Look for an eye cream with anti-aging ingredients like caffeine, peptides, and vitamin E. Retinol is another great vitamin for mature skin, as it amps up collagen production to help minimize fine lines and crow’s feet by your eyes. It also helps restore firmness in the skin to age you down a few years.

Using a good eye cream is a surefire way to improve your eye area’s elasticity and resilience against puffiness and darkening, making it a preventative measure too. Just remember that you have to be consistent with applying it each night to see the results you want.

When all else fails, you can always look to your trusty color corrector and concealer to put a band-aid over the wound, which in this case is your red, puffy, tired skin around the eyes.

Start by getting rid of redness and darkening around your eye by using color-correcting makeup. Use a green shade to cancel out redness, or a bright yellow and salmon to get rid of the blues and purples of your prominent dark eyebags.

Top it off with a high-coverage concealer to make the skin around your eyes look brighter, more flawless, and ten times more awake. This quick fix is perfect for college kids and office gals who need to look more presentable after a rough, stressful night.

Treatments to Reduce Lines and Wrinkles Around Your Eyes

Woman having treatment on eyes

If your puffiness and swelling are persistent and keep you from doing your daily tasks, you can always ask your dermatologist about getting eyelid surgery to correct it. You should also consider this option if your swollen eyes are giving you high levels of stress and anxiety.

Your surgeon will likely conduct a blepharoplasty, an outpatient procedure wherein excess fat is drained from the lids, allowing for less bloating and more smoothness in the skin around your eyes.

But if you want something less invasive, you can always opt for treatments to tighten and pamper your skin, your eye area along with it.

Introlift Medical Spa offers treatments not just for your face and eyes, but also from head to toe. Getting one of their facial treatments can rejuvenate the senses and bring back that glow to your skin and eyes.

If you want to tighten and give the skin around your eye area a boost without any downtime, try out the BTL Exilis Elite—a skin-tightening body sculpting treatment. This service uses radio frequencies to promote collagen and elastin production in your skin, keeping it strong, firm, and smooth.

It’s also great for keeping the skin around your eyes taut and wrinkle-free. This can make your eyes look younger and more awake in the long run.

Now, if you want to maximize your treatment and get skin-restoring benefits along with some action for your eyes, check out their Introlift Vitamin C Signature Facial. It uses vitamin C and retynyl palmitate to eliminate dark spots from hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and eye puffiness.

The treatment comes with a detoxifying mask, chemical peel, skin tightening, and LED therapy. It’s a terrific way to brighten up your skin and keep it luminous, from your brighter, more radiant eye area to your even-toned complexion.

The facial can be customized to target your personal skin issues, so give the team a heads up that you would love for them to focus on your tired-looking eyes. They’ll surely personalize the treatment to address your unique issue.

Getting this facial hits two birds with one stone—you get bright, clear, smooth skin while ensuring you get that twinkle back in your youthful-looking eyes.

If you’re not quite sure what you want but know that you need to give your tired eyes a treat, go for the spa’s Turn Back Time package—a collection of treatments designed for tightening and brightening up your eyes.

The package puts your eyes in the forefront, offering undereye fillers, skin-tightening sessions, microneedling with hyaluronic acid, and even tinting for your eyelashes and brows! You’ll also get a free eye cream and serum to add to your skincare regimen at home. It’s like a buffet for your eyes!

Lifestyle Changes for Brighter, More Youthful-Looking Eyes

Woman sleeping

But you can’t just rely on beauty products and spa treatments to get rid of your puffy eyes. You have to address the root cause of the swelling and dark circles by adopting some healthy lifestyle changes to minimize having that tired, strained look all day.

You can do baby steps first, like taking breaks from staring at your computer for too long. Try to look away from your computer every half hour or so as you work. Take a peek outside your window for a few minutes to see something other than a bright screen.

Cut down on super salty food and increase your water intake when you can. The more hydrated you are, the less likely you’ll wake up with puffy, bloated eyes. Hydrating regularly will also do wonders for your skin!

You can also actively sleep for longer. Go to bed on time and cut yourself some slack when you set your alarm for the morning—you’re gonna need those extra 15 minutes to keep your eyes in tiptop shape.

Make sure you catch seven hours’ worth of Z’s throughout the night. Proper sleep allows your body to release the hormones you need to improve your skin’s elasticity, which can then prevent fine lines, wrinkles, crow’s feet, and sagging by the eye area.

Most importantly, de-escalate stress levels that lead to dark circles and swelling. Try getting into relaxing hobbies that help you unwind, such as painting, running, yoga, and meditation. Don’t get too caught up in everyday anxiety—allow yourself to take mindful, meaningful breaks to calm down.


Don’t wait for others to point out how tired you look. Be ahead of the pack and prevent your eyes from looking swollen, puffy, and tired.

Even if your eyes are quite stubborn and feel the need to act up now and then with some fluid retention or redness, know that there’s always something you can do about it.

Caring for your eye area in your own way is your primary mission, whether your weapon of choice is cutting back on stress by meditating or pampering yourself with a skin-tightening treatment at your fave spa.

After all, rejuvenating your eye area in any creative way is the key to getting back firm skin with a radiant glow to keep your eyes looking fresh and awake.