“Does Preparation H really reduce bags under your eyes?” No butts about it, this old-school home remedy ranks up there with classics like Vick’s VapoRub® for toenail fungus. When you talk to people, they are naturally drawn to your eyes. As compared to your ears, for example, eyes are an important cosmetic area, and small changes have a large impact on how young and rested you look.
The eyelids are actually the thinnest skin in the body (the thickest is on the upper back), so puffiness, redness, dark circles and wrinkles are all common and are noticeable in this area. Just beneath this thin skin lies wispy connective tissue and fat pads. When you don’t sleep well this delicate fat pad can be bloated with fluid, causing the thin skin to puff out like a water-filled baggie causing puffy eyes.
Puffy eyes or periorbital edema is almost exclusively caused by fluid buildup around the eyes. See Wiki for a list of causes, some are VERY serious.
Preparation H® is, of course, a hemorrhoid cream. It contains phenylephrine, a powerful constrictor of blood vessels. It helps hemorrhoids by constricting the blood vessels, squeezing the blood out of the hemorrhoid, and causing them to shrink. In theory, Preparation H can do the same thing for your puffy eyes. The phenylephrine will constrict the delicate blood vessels under your eyes, squeezing the fluid out and reducing the puffiness.
This has been a well known unconventional trick of the trade to perfect the appearances by everyone under the sun including; models, TV anchors, bartenders and celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston. Also, according to ABC News, Preparation H even finds a place in club circuit, apparently some club hoppers are now slathering on Preparation H to give themselves that “ripped” look to impress the ladies.
But is it safe?
Preparation H is not designed for your eyes and should be used as directed. Getting it into your eyes could cause irritation or other problems including possible blindness. Using it repeatedly on your eyelids can actually cause the blood vessels to become more dilated over time as they try to counter the constricting phenylephrine.
Keep in mind there has been no scientific research in this area and the makers of Preparation H say their product should not be part of any beauty enhancement regime.
Canada-based Whitehall-Robins Inc., the maker of Preparation H, says the product is intended to help shrink hemorrhoidal tissue and is not meant to be applied to the area around the eyes. A company spokeswoman adds that “the product no longer contains live yeast cell (Bio-Dyne) in the US (still avail in Canada), which was one of the ingredients purported to reduce puffy eyes.“ Read that again, it’s true Google it!
Other options for preventing under-eye puffiness:
- Cold compress near the eye, (cold temperatures constricts blood vessels)
- Limit salt intake, get adequate sleep and stay hydrated
- Cucumbers are a natural astringent (chemical compound that tends to shrink or constrict body tissues). Try placing a cucumber slice over each eye to reduce puffiness
- Eat a banana (potassium helps counter the excess salt)
- Smile a lot! It helps squeeze that extra fluid out of your eyes naturally
- Elevating the head while sleeping (can prevent the gravitational redistribution of fluid that is associated with eye swelling)