TikTok Users Are Putting Preparation H Under Their Eyes, and Dermatologists Have Thoughts

Find out whether applying hemorrhoid ointment under your eyes is actually useful for getting rid of under-eye bags.

Woman Touching Her Face

TikTok True or False is the answer to your burning questions about the health, beauty, and fitness fads taking over your social feeds. Each story breaks down a buzzy wellness trend with the help of experts and scientific research to uncover the truth and safety behind the viral "advice" you see online. You'll never have to wonder what's actually legit — or what to skip — again.

TikTok is all fun and games until you come across a viral beauty hack that doesn't live up to the hype. A recent trend on #beautytok that you probably have questions about? Users are applying Preparation H on their under-eyes to reduce puffiness.

ICYMI, Preparation H is a hemorrhoid treatment meant to soothe burning, itching, and discomfort, you know, back there. But that hasn't stopped TikTok users from applying it to their faces. The hack isn't particularly new; a quick scan online reveals articles reporting on the practice back in the '80s. However, it is making a comeback for better or worse.

In one video, TikTok user @myspacequeenx says using Preparation H under your eyes is a "trick they don't want you to know about," noting that, "it works great for if you cried a lot and have puffy eyes from it," in the caption. (

In the clip, they apply a pea-sized amount of the gel under their eyes before tapping it in gently. By the end of the 40-second video, there's a noticeable difference in the appearance of their under-eye bags, and it's likely not just strategic editing.

While this TikTok alone might have you running to the drugstore for Preparation H, you may want to consider what experts have to say before you rub hemorrhoid cream under your eyes. Ahead, find out everything you need to know about using Preparation H for under-eye puffiness, including what dermatologists have to say about it.

What is Preparation H?

Preparation H is a steroid cream used to relieve swelling, pain, and itching caused by hemorrhoids. ICYDK, hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anus and lower rectum, and nearly three in four adults will get them occasionally, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The popular medicine contains ingredients for pain relief and to help shrink the hemorrhoidal tissue. Active ingredients include phenylephrine, which helps narrow blood vessels to relieve swelling, and pramoxine, a local anesthetic that helps with pain relief and itching. It also contains glycerin and white petrolatum, which act as moisturizing protectants, and some inactive ingredients, such as aloe vera extract, purified water, and vitamin E acetate. Some versions of Preparation H also include hydrocortisone for itch relief.

Does applying Preparation H under your eyes help with puffiness?

"Preparation H is a steroid cream, so it's anti-inflammatory and it constricts the blood vessels, which can help with swelling and redness temporarily," explains Taylor Worden, a celebrity esthetician and founder of Taylor Worden Skin. While the ointment could lessen the appearance of puffiness under the eyes temporarily, Worden and other experts advise against using it near the eyes.

Is applying Preparation H under your eyes safe?

"Preparation H can cause irritation and sensitivity [around the eyes]," says Marisa Garshick, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology. "Prolonged use of steroids around the eyes is not recommended, as it can lead to thinning of the skin."

Not to mention, ingredients in the formula, such as hydrocortisone, aren't made for use on the skin near the eyes, explains Nava Greenfield, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City. "The eyelid skin is extremely sensitive and can respond poorly to harsh ingredients."

Preparation H Alternatives for Under-Eye Puffiness

One option you might try is the Sunday Riley Auto Correct Brightening + Depuffing Eye Cream (Buy It, $65, sephora.com), says Dr. Garshick. It's made with watermelon extract to hydrate, and it contains a complex of caffeine, Brazilian ginseng, horse chestnut, and light-reflecting particles to revitalize tired, dark, puffy eyes. For those on a budget, Dr. Garshick also recommends The Inkey List Caffeine Eye Cream (Buy It, $10, sephora.com), which is a lightweight formula that reduces puffy eyes and fine lines.

Sticking your eye cream in the refrigerator may boost its benefits. The cooling effect helps to constrict the blood vessels and decrease the look of puffiness, explains Dr. Garshick. You can also use an eye cream with a cooling formula such as the Tula Glow & Get It Cooling & Brightening Eye Balm (Buy It, $30, ulta.com). It's made with hyaluronic acid, caffeine, and probiotics to tighten, firm, and smooth skin while offering a refreshing, cooling sensation. It also comes in a stick format for easy application.

You can use Preparation H under your eyes to help with puffiness: True or false?


You may not want to hop on the TikTok trend. "It's best to leave the Preparation H for hemorrhoids, given it isn't indicated for use around the eye," advises Dr. Garshick. "Instead, it is best to opt for caffeine-containing under-eye creams, which can help to reduce puffiness." After all, you don't want to add irritation and sensitivity to your existing eye concerns. (

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles