Swollen Wrinkled Eyelids

Swollen wrinkled eyelids - Why Preparation-H can make it worse.

A trend on TikTok #beautytok has brought back an old beauty hack using Preparation-H for swollen eyes. See why this is a bad idea ...

Swollen bottom eyelid, puffy eyes or wrinkled eyelids. We’ve all suffered from these conditions one time or another. Whether it's due to allergies, lack of sleep or after drinking alcohol.

by Linda Robison

There are lots of suggestions and treatments that promise fast results. And you’ll see a lot of the same old remedies repeated a thousand times on the internet. They include:

  • cold spoons
  • frozen tea bags
  • cold eye gel packs
  • cold wash cloth
  • cucumbers
  • frozen peas
  • Preparation H

While a few of these may help reduce swelling, none will reduce wrinkles and some remedies, like, Preparation, may not even be safe. 

Here is why …

Preparation-H for swollen bottom eyelid?

Well, for those who say Preparation-H works, I’d like to see their before and after pictures because for me it was a disaster. It made the swelling and wrinkling worse.

Is Preparation H safe for eyelids?

Not really. Everyone is different, but many people (like myself) have a bad reaction from applying Preparation H to the eye area.

This is especially important if you suffer from or are prone to puffy, swollen eyes, breakouts, clogged pores and milia.

However, dermatologists warn about more serious issues when you apply a topical steroid (like the hydrocortisone) found in most hemorrhoid creams to your face and especially the delicate, sensitive eye area.

The side-effects include clogged pores, irritation, enlarged blood vessels (think dark, purple circles), wrinkles and accelerated aging of the skin around the eyes.

And, while it's rare, long term use might even contribute to glaucoma and cataracts!

5 Reasons not to use Preparation-H for swollen eyes

1. Most important, this product was not meant to be used near the eyes, nose, or mouth. Meaning it’s not safe and can cause injury if it gets into the eyes. Long term use could increase the risk of glaucoma and cataracts.

2. The manufacture of Preparation H says the formula changed, and it no longer contains the same active ingredients to helped shrink swollen tissues. So, it probably won't work the way it did years ago, when it was famously known to reduce puffy eyes. Especially by models and actors.

 3. Preparation-H is very greasy and can make swelling worse. The base ingredient contains 74% petroleum jelly and 14% mineral oil. Now would you want to apply Vaseline or mineral oil to swollen eyelids? Applying grease to the eye area will only make the puffiness worse.

4. Greasy creams can cause milia (tiny white hard bumps or cysts) above and below the eyelids and clogged pores. I developed milia after using Preparation H several times in an attempt to reduce puffy eyelids. 

When I told my dermatologist, she said that I should never use any product that contains petroleum jelly or mineral oil near eyes – or even on the face for that matter.

Keep in mind that some people are more prone to milia than others, but once you get a few they’re hard to get rid of.

Milia can't be treated at home. Most common treatments include:

  • Liquid nitrogen to freeze the milia cysts
  • Chemical peels
  • Deroofing, using a needle to pick out the contents of the cyst.
  • Laser
  • Prescription retinoids to exfoliate

5. Some Prep-H products contain Phenylephrine HCI which is a vasoconstrictor and some contain hydrocortisone, a steroid. Applying these ingredients to the delicate skin around the eyes can cause thinning of the skin, dark circles and wrinkles.

Better solutions for puffy wrinkled eyelids

Bottom Line?

I think there are better, more effective and safer remedies than Preparation-H to hide swollen wrinkled eyelids and reduce eye puffiness.

Before and after picture of wrinkled and swollen lower eye lids.

Final word on options for swollen eyes

Other options for swollen eyes include caffeinated eye creams. I know they are helpful for some people, but, they're never worked well for me. 

Blepharoplasty (surgery to remove excess fat pads), Venus Freeze (a radio frequency treatment), and sometimes fillers can work.

It all depends on what type of swollen, puffy eye situation you have.

  • Is it just fluid
  • Is it fat pads that have enlarged or drooped due to aging
  • Is it a combination of fluid retention and fat pads
  • It is hereditary
  • Is it dietary choices like too much salt and alcohol
  • Is it due to allergies

Sad to say, you have to find the cause, and then you'll find the solution.