Can You Use Preparation H for Dark Under-Eye Circles?

Preparation H is an over-the-counter hemorrhoid ointment also known for its off-label use as a treatment for dark circles 2. The idea is that because Preparation H works to temporarily shrink swollen tissue, topical applications to the under-eye area could temporarily de-puff bags 2. There is no solid evidence to support this theory, although Dr. G. Todorov of says that Preparation H might be good for an “emergency fix. 2

Regardless of whether or not the product works on dark circles, it is important to note that Preparation H is not intended for use on or near the eyes 12.

Gently wash your face with a mild cleanser. Follow with one or two splashes of cold water to help reduce swelling.

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Lightly blot your face dry. Refrain from overzealous rubbing as this can further irritate the skin around the eyes.

Apply a thin layer of ointment to the affected area, avoiding getting the ointment into the eyes themselves. Wait until it is fully absorbed before applying makeup.


Only use Preparation H for under-eye circles once or twice a week, Todorov says.

Dry your face with a clean towel to avoid introducing possible irritants.


Preparation H ointment contains the ingredient phenylephrine, a powerful blood vessel constrictor that may cause headaches with excessive use.

If the product gets into the eyes, nose or mouth, rinse thoroughly with cold water.