For several decades, Preparation H hemorrhoid treatment cream was a legendary as an effective, readily available and inexpensive anti-wrinkle treatment–claimed by both the famous of Hollywood and common folk alike. Unfortunately, the over-the-counter product available on the pharmacy shelves in the USA today is not what it once was.

A Reformulated Product

The active ingredients that gave Preparation H it’s magical anti-wrinkle properties were a live yeast cell derivative (LYCD) and shark liver oil. Live yeast cell derivatives have a history of effective use, not only as a skin treatment and for treating hemorrhoids, but for accelerating the wound healing of bed sores, burn wounds and post-surgical incisions as well as extremely dry, chapped skin.

While there are no studies available for Preparation H as a beauty aid, makeup artists, models and others have sworn by it, particularly for reducing eye puffiness, tightening the skin around and beneath the eyes.

However, as frequently occurs when the Food and Drug Administration’s reviews a product, reformulation regulations were established. The current product’s ingredients no longer include LYCD. This has been replaced with an approved astringent and blood vessel constrictor, phenylephrine. The result is that the Preparation H commonly available in the USA will no longer diminish those fine lines and wrinkles, under eye circles and bags and may not be as effective in offering relief to hemorrhoid suffers, either.

However, there may be good news on the northern border of the USA for the adventuresome who would like to see for themselves if the legends are true and if the product will work for them. Not subject to FDA regulations, Canadian pharmacies continue to carry the original formulation of Preparation H and make-up professionals still refer clients such as Conan O’Brien and Miss USA to the product.


According to Healthy Skin, one should be cautious about trying any hemorrhoid creams on the face and around the eyes. These products frequently contain steroids, which may actually make the skin look worse, thinning the skin and emphasizing dark circles and imperfections. As an “emergency fix” for an occasional puffiness outbreak, a small amount may be applied in the areas of puffiness making sure that none gets in the eyes.