Reflection in the mirror.

Whether brought on by stress, age or lack of sleep, bags under your eyes can be annoying and unattractive. For years many have sworn by applying Preparation H to the under eye area to decrease puffiness; however, the ointment is not designed to be used near the eyes and so precautions should be taken to avoid any damage.

What Causes Eye Bags

The bags under the eyes are caused by fat and fluid that naturally exists under the eyes. When skin is young and healthy, the fat is held back, but many factors can cause the skin to weaken and for the fat behind the skin to push forward, giving the appearance of bags.

As skin ages, it naturally loses some of the elasticity that keeps it taught. As this elasticity diminishes, the fat under the eyes can push forward.

Some people simply have stronger skin that holds its elasticity longer. Others may develop eye bags quicker and more severely than others.

Not sleeping enough and poor stress management can cause the delicate skin under the eyes to form bags sooner.

A diet high in salt that causes water retention can also lead to puffier eyes. Likewise, not drinking enough water and staying properly hydrated can lead to the buildup of baggage under your lower lids.

If you suffer from allergies or sinus problems, your eye bags may develop more severely than someone without these conditions. That is because the swelling and deflating of sinus and glands in the face can cause the skin to weaken more quickly.

Preparation H

Simply put, Preparation H works because it is designed to reduce swelling in sensitive areas. It restricts blood vessels and contains 1% of the anti-inflammatory, hydrocortisone and phenylephrine, both of which reduce swelling. While these ingredients may help reduce redness and puffiness under your eyes, Preparation H is not meant to be applied near the eyes and has other ingredients that can irritate or damage your eyes.

How to Use Preparation H

If you decide to use Preparation H for eye bags, be extra careful. Dab a small amount of ointment on to your under eye skin with a Q-tip. Be careful not to allow any of the cream to enter your eye and do not worry about rubbing in the substance completely -- it will soak in over time.

Leave the Preparation H on the skin until it soaks in completely or overnight. Wash your face normally and proceed with your skincare routine as usual.

Preparation H Alternatives

Because Preparation H is not a totally safe option, consider some other solutions.

Rest is essential for a healthy body and face. Make sure you are getting at least 7 to 8 hours a night.

Hydration is also a key in de-puffing your skin. Drink at least half a gallon of water a day to make sure that you are counteracting your sodium intake.

Apply an ice-cold wash cloth to the puffy area. If you have extreme bags that need to be deflated quickly, put a silver spoon in the freezer and place the ladle-end of the spoon on your puffy lower lid until it is room temperature.