The Truth About Preparation H for Puffy Eyes 

by Linda Robison

Is it safe to use Preparation H cream under your eyes for bags and wrinkles? Why did the original formula work?

Like thousands of other women, I’ve tried Preparation H for puffy eyes and under-eye bags. After weeks of using it, nothing really changed.

In fact, on some days, Prep-H made my tired looking peepers worse, leaving them swollen, red-skinned and irritated.

I'm assuming this was because the formulation I was using was petroleum based and very greasy.

Woman using Preparation H for puffy eyes

Then I wondered, is it even safe to put hemorrhoid cream under your eyes?

I especially became concerned about safety and ineffectiveness when a new generation of puffy eye suffers brought this old-fashion trend back on a TikTok viral beauty hack page.

What happens if you put hemorrhoid cream under your eyes?

Hemorrhoid creams (like Prep-H) contain ingredients like phenylephrine to constrict blood vessels and reduce tissue swelling and inflammation.

And some versions contain the topical steroid hydrocortisone.

While these ingredients may be safe and helpful for the skin outside your anus, it's not safe for delicate skin around your eyes.

Some dermatologists warn that the use of topical steroids can cause:

  • thinning of the skin
  • wrinkles
  • dark circles
  • cataracts
  • glaucoma

Preparation H formula change

I still wondered why so many women (mostly models from the 70s and 80s) claimed that this hemorrhoid cream reduce under eye bags and dark circles.

So, I did some research and found the original formula changed.

Preparation H Original for puffy eyes.Preparation H - Original Formula from Greece

The original formula used to contain two active ingredients:

  • Live Yeast Cell extract
  • Shark Liver Oil

And (for reasons unknown) the Preparation H formulation sold in the United States now no longer contained them.

Live Yeast Cell extract, and Shark Liver Oil are known to have anti-inflammatory, soothing, and healing properties. 

Note: I couldn't find any studies indicating these ingredients were unsafe to use around the eye!

So, I was determined to find out if this one worked!

I managed to find the original Preparation H formula on the internet, from Greece. 

So I bought it!

preparation h bags under eyesPreparation H Original Formula with Live Yeast Cell extract

Sadly, after using it for several days, I never noticed a difference or reduction in my puffy eyes.

I even kept it in the refrigerator, hoping the coldness would further help reduce under eye swelling.

Prep- H: In theory, it should work

Since Preparation H was designed to reduce inflammation and tissue swelling, it's logical to assume that it should help reduce swollen under eye tissue too.

In fact, some dermatologists say it's safe for special occasions and that it could be helpful to reduce puffy eyes and discoloration.

"Preparation H is a vasoconstrictor" says founder of Smarter Skin Dermatology, Dr. Sejal Shah. "It can also make any bluish discoloration less noticeable."

Personally, I wouldn't use it, even for special occasions. I'm happy with my eye serum, which is safe and works in minutes.

What is best for under-eye bags?

Difference Between Puffy Eyes and Swollen Eyes
What Works to Lessen the Appearance

It's important to determine what's causing the lower eyelid bags.

Preparation H helps reduce swollen tissues, which is why many assume it can help reduce swollen eyes.

But what if your eye issue is due to bulging fat pads and not swollen eye tissue due to excess fluid or inflammation?

Then it's logical to assume that anything that reduces temporary inflamed tissues (like Preparation H) won't do much for that problem.

Under eye fat pads become more prominent as we age, mostly because of weakening facial muscles. The only real permanent option to reducing excess under eye fat pads is surgery (blepharoplasty).

For those with small or minor fat pads, facial exercises (which include eye lift massaging) can help strengthen under eye muscles, smooth the area and reduce wrinkling.

But, if puff eyes are because of temporary under eye swelling, there are basically three ways to reduce the swelling:

  • Topical cold compresses (like cold spoons, tea bags, or a cooling eye globe, as shown above) can help reduce swelling. 
  • Eye masks are also easy and not too messy to use. Great for travel!
  • Eye creams that are hydrating and contain caffeine can be useful.
  • Also, skin tightening serums can firm the area and make the puffiness less visible. 

I rely on serums because I don't always have time to sit with a cold compress on my eyes, and caffeinated creams never provided the results I wanted.

The eye lift serums really work and offer results in minutes!

They might even help reduce the appearance of fat pads. But, finding one that isn't drying or irritating, especially for mature, dry or sensitive under eye skin.

Prep-H for under eye puffiness.

Click here to watch a video how this Instant Eye serum for puffy eyes helped my friend Bobbie look more awake. Bobbie has excess fat pads under her eyes. And while the serum didn't make them magically go away, it did help make her eyes look less puffy.

It’s been my favorite eye lift serum since 2012 because nothing I’ve tried works as well as this does. 

Other serums may work to reduce the look of puffy eyes, but left my sensitive skin tight, dry, or peeling. Unlike Preparation H, this serum reduced the look of puffy and crinkly skin under the eyes. 


So, is it safe to use Preparation H for puffy eyes? No, not really.

Although it contains ingredients that can cause side effects like eye irritation or worse, some people feel it's fine once in a while.

It can also clog pores and cause breakouts. 

In my opinion, and based on my experience, Preparation H does not help reduce under eye bags or wrinkles.

I get much better results with a skin-firming serum, face/eye massages along with some dietary changes like consuming less salt, or getting more sleep.

FAQ: Preparation-H for puffy eyes

Q: What do you think about eye patches to reduce puffiness?

A: Eye patches for puffy eyes can help smooth and brighten the area. But, it still takes time to see results. If you have the time, use them for sure. If your short on time, try an instant eye puffiness reducer, like eye lift serums.

Q: Is it safe to put Preparation H under your eyes to reduce bags?

A: Long term use of hemorrhoid cream can thin the delicate skin around the eyes. I wouldn't take chances.

Q: Does hemorrhoid cream tighten under the eyes?

A: Hemorrhoid ointment, or rectal and piles cream work by constricting blood vessels in the affected area, and reduce inflammation and pain. But, this will not have any effect on lose skin for the eyes or face.

Q: Can I use Preparation h for sagging neck?

Q: How long to leave preparation h under eyes?

A: Some celebrity makeup artist say use it sparingly, and do not to leave Preparation H on under eye area for longer than 10 minutes. However, personally, I wouldn't use it at all.

Also See:

Beauty Tips for Aging Eyes

Eye Makeup Tips for Tired Looking Eyes