You know the scenario well: you wake up ready to face that important event, when you suddenly notice that your eyes look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man’s eyes. Then you remember all those glossy magazine images of people with cucumbers on their eyelids, so you race to the refrigerator, hoping that cucumbers on eyes are a quick fix.
But are those little cucumber slices really an effective treatment for your tired eyes? There’s a lot of mixed information out there, so let’s break down the myths and discover the truth.
A Few Cucumber Treatment Myths
- Cucumbers are full of nutrients that help reduce puffiness and swelling.
- Cucumbers contain a skin-lightening ingredient that will remove the dark circles under eyes.
- Cucumbers can tighten the skin around your eyes and minimize wrinkles.
The Real Benefits
Unfortunately, cucumbers on eyes are not little veggie miracle workers. But, the good news is that there are definitely some benefits of using cucumbers on your eyes when you wake up with a pair of zombie peepers.
Let’s take a look…
1. Chill Out
There is truth to the theory that cucumbers on eyes can help reduce puffiness and swelling, but it’s not because of their nutrients. No, putting cucumbers on your eyes helps for a very different reason – because they’re cold (if you’re keeping them in the fridge). It’s the cold that works to shrink those blood vessels and the excess fluid that they’re pumping into the soft tissue around your delicate eye area. It’s the same reason why cold compresses are used for swelling caused by injuries.1
This means you don’t actually need to use cucumbers on your eyes as a treatment for puffiness… you could very well use a cold compress, or a pair of cold spoons to help ease swelling. But yes, cucumber slices do look prettier, and they actually sit perfectly over the shape of the eye area.
2. Just Add H20
Here’s a fun fact about cucumbers: they’re made up of around 96 percent water, which makes them one of the most hydrating foods you can eat.2 This is why cucumbers retain cold so well to chill those puffy eye bags. But it also makes them great for hydrating the eye area. In fact, research has shown that cucumbers can have wonderful hydrating effects on your skin. This is why they are a frequent ingredient in skin products.3
3. Pigment Destroyer?
The dark circles that you tend to see under your eyes after a sleepless night aren’t the same as the permanent ones you might be born with. They’re generally caused by dilated blood vessels and light reflecting off your puffy skin, causing dark shadows. And, as you now know, cold cucumbers on eyes are great at helping these blood vessels constrict back to normal.
However, if you suffer from permanent dark circles under your eyes, melanin may be to blame.
Melanin is the same pigment that darkens your skin when you’re out in the sun. Some people are genetically predisposed to have darker areas under their eyes. And when melanin is the culprit, a cucumber treatment might help.
You see, studies have shown that concentrations of crushed cucumber can actually cause a decrease in melanin, which might help with skin whitening and lightening. However, you’d probably need a lot of cucumbers to enjoy any significant benefits at home.4
4. C is for Collagen
Finally, cucumbers are also high in ascorbic acid, or vitamin C. And vitamin C is renowned for its ability to help stimulate collagen production. It’s also a powerful antioxidant – which can help protect your skin against skin-aging UV photodamage.
Studies of vitamin C in cucumbers have successfully shown that cucumbers could indeed be used as a potential anti-wrinkle agent in future cosmetic products.5 Amazing, right!?
But remember, these samples are made up of highly concentrated cucumber extracts – so a couple of cucumber slices on your eyelids, unfortunately, won’t quite cut it.
Using Cucumbers on Eyes: Final Thoughts
When it comes to using cucumbers on eyes, the bottom line is this: Yes, they can be useful and soothing… but no, they won’t turn miracles.
Your best bet is to keep your cucumbers chilled. So, next time you’re feeling utterly exhausted – and you look it – pop a couple of cucumber slices over those puffy eye bags. Then, sit back and relax. The cucumbers can help to bring down that swelling, while you give yourself some much-needed rest.
And if you’re looking for a little more from cucumbers, you can certainly look into some of the newer cosmetic treatments containing cucumber extract. Try them out and see if they give you any visible results. Ultimately, everyone is different, and all beauty products are really a trial and error process.
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