This Simple At-Home Remedy Will De-Puff & Brighten Your Eyes
Having bags under your eyes is not only a potential sign of sleep deprivation, but they can also develop from crying, allergies, hormone changes, and age. Although this pesky puffiness is typically just a cosmetic concern, it can put a damper on your self-esteem, and it's irritating as heck when everyone assumes you didn't get enough sleep. But don't fret. There's an at-home remedy that can help your eyes look more youthful and give you the confidence you need to tackle your day!
How do you use tea bags on your eyes, you ask?
Sipping tea is a nourishing treat for your body, but you can also use tea bags to help rejuvenate your skin. Just steep two bags of tea as you usually would (in hot water for around 10 minutes), squeeze out any extra water from the tea bag, and then chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes (or until cool to touch). Then place the tea bags on your eyelids and sit back and relax for the next 20 to 30 minutes.
Make sure to use separate tea bags for each eye and feel free to drink the tea that you made in addition to using the steeped tea bags.
How does this actually work?
Caffeine: It has been speculated that the caffeine in teas like green, black, white, and oolong can cause blood vessels in the eyes to shrink, lessening swelling around the eyes. In one study of 34 volunteers in Thailand, only eight people had lower eye puffiness after being given a gel with caffeine to treat a poor night's rest compared to just getting a regular cooling gel. This study also showed that the general cooling effect of the gels was more important than the caffeine content in reducing the puffiness of sleep-deprived eyes.
Cold compress: Chilled tea bags also work as an affordable cold compress for the eyes, and eye doctors recommend these compresses to reduce swelling and redness. Much like the speculated effect of caffeine shrinking blood vessels, cold temperatures work in the same way. Tea bags make a great cold compress because they fit easily on the eyelid and stay in place if your head is tilted back. Other household items like a spoon or frozen bag of peas can also be used, but you may not want to hold a cold spoon in your hand for 30 minutes and a bag of peas could freeze your whole face!
Antioxidants: All teas and most herbal teas are rich in antioxidants. Using products with antioxidants on the skin may be beneficial in preventing or reducing skin inflammation, but research in this area is limited.
What tea do you use?
This tea has well-known anti-inflammatory properties within the body and for the skin1. One study2 showed that green tea extract (in the form of a paste, not a tea) was a safe and effective way to help treat mild and moderate evaporative dry eyes and meibomian gland dysfunction. But for those ailments, it is often recommended to use a warm compress on the eye (just cool the tea bag until it's lukewarm and not chilled).
The flavonoids4 found in chamomile tea have anti-inflammatory properties, and they have been shown to reach far below the surface of the skin. This is why chamomile extracts are often added to eye creams and skin care products, but using the tea bags can be a much cheaper option. Check out these other health benefits of chamomile tea!
Lavender is often recommended to help reduce stress5 and relieve anxiety. For a leisurely night in, try taking a lavender essential oil bubble bath and place two chilled lavender tea bags over your eyes and feel the relaxation. You deserve it!
How to pick a tea.
Any type of tea can be used for this at-home remedy. No one tea has been proved to be more beneficial in preventing or reducing dark circles or puffiness around the eyes more than another: so pick a tea variety you enjoy drinking or like the smell of.
Caffeinated teas may hold some extra anti-inflammatory properties but not for all people. If you're doing this remedy right before bed and plan on drinking the tea from the bags you brewed, you may want to choose an herbal or caffeine-free tea that won't interfere with your sleep patterns.
Cool tea bags are a short-term approach to managing slight swelling or dark circles under your eyes, and if you have any concerns about persistent eye pain, itching, or dryness, it is always best to talk with your doctor about treatment options.
And remember that cool tea bags do not take the place of adequate sleep and hydration!
Molly Knudsen, M.S., RDN is a Registered Dietician Nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Texas Christian University and a master’s in nutrition interventions, communication, and behavior change from Tufts University. She lives in Newport Beach, California, and enjoys connecting people to the food they eat and how it influences health and wellbeing.