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Cucumbers help get rid of puffiness, dark circles under eyes: Myth or fact?

man with white plush robe and cucumbers on his eyes
Tima Miroshnichenko / Pexels

While intentionally putting food on your face is generally frowned upon, one particular produce has long been used for at-home spa days: The cucumber. Take a look at luxe-looking photos of self-care, and you’ll notice they often include someone lounging in a bubble bath (perhaps with rose petals and candlelight), a glass of something special, and cucumbers on top of their eyes.

What’s the deal?

People often put cucumbers on their eyes as a home remedy for reducing puffiness and dark circles around the eyes,” said Dr. Anna Chacon, MD, a board-certified dermatologist.

That may sound like welcome news if you’re trying to eliminate dark circles under the eyes. However, is the news true? Can cucumbers nix puffy eyes and dark circles? Should you save them for salads and flavoring water? A pair of skincare experts sounded off on whether this oft-tried at-home remedy holds any weight.

a man in a green shirt smiling

What causes puffy eyes and dark circles?

Before getting into how a treatment, including cucumber, might help with swelling or dark circles under the eyes, you’ll want to know what triggers these issues in the first place. For starters, puffy eyes and dark circles are not the same issue, though the two are often spoken about interchangeably. Dark circles are a form of discoloration. Puffy eyes are the result of swelling. Part of the reason they’re often conflated is that triggers are typically similar. Common causes of under-eye circles or bags include:

  • Poor sleep
  • Allergies
  • Genetics
  • Smoking
  • Genetics
  • Aging
  • Eye irritation from scratching or rubbing
  • Water retention from high-salt diets
  • Underlying health conditions, like anemia or thyroid conditions

cucumber slices on a white background

Can putting cucumbers on the eyes help get rid of puffiness and dark circles?

If you’re searching for quick fixes for how to get rid of eye bags and dark circles, cucumbers may be a home Rx worth trying. Here’s why.

The cool temperature of the cucumber slices can help to constrict the blood vessels and reduce inflammation,” Dr. Chacon said. “Cucumbers also contain antioxidants and flavonoids that can reduce redness, swelling, and irritation.”

Another skincare professional echoed these sentiments and added another perk.

“Cucumbers can provide…relaxation,” said Alexis Pfropper, a licensed esthetician and permanent makeup artist who founded ästhetik skincare.

However, Pfropper also indicated that this relaxation and the soothing benefits of using cucumbers on the eyes are temporary. We’ll dig into that momentarily.

When to try using cucumbers on eyes

As with all skincare remedies, there’s a time and a place.

“Cucumber slices may help temporarily reduce puffiness and inflammation around the eyes, particularly after a long day or a poor night’s sleep,” Pfropper said. “They can also provide a refreshing sensation and a moment of relaxation, making them a popular choice for at-home spa treatments.”

Dr. Chacon added that you might put cucumbers over your eyes if they’re puffy from crying for a long period (the relaxation perk may also help here).

How to apply cucumbers to the eyes

Pfropper provided top tips for applying cucumbers if you’re searching for how to get rid of eye bags and dark circles.

  1. Slice chilled cucumbers into thin rounds
  2. Place them over closed eyelids
  3. Relax for 10-15 minutes to “allow the coolness and moisture to penetrate the skin?”

An optional add-on worth considering:

“For added relaxation, consider incorporating other soothing ingredients such as chilled tea bags or aloe vera gel,” Pfropper said.

When not to use cucumber slices on the eyes

For the most part, putting cucumbers on the eyes is considered safe. However, the skincare treatment isn’t for everyone.

The main risk associated with using cucumbers on the eyes is the potential for allergic reactions, especially in individuals with cucumber allergies,” Pfropper said. “Additionally, if cucumbers are not properly cleaned or stored, they may harbor bacteria or pesticides, which could irritate the delicate skin around the eyes.”

The good news? Cucumber allergies are rare. Dr. Chacon added that dermatitis and other irritation and redness might also occur after putting cucumbers on the eyes, but these issues are also uncommon.

Still, if you notice red flags, you’ll want to stop using cucumbers to reduce puffiness and dark circles.

If you experience any discomfort, itching, redness, or irritation, stop the use immediately and rinse your eyes with water,” Dr. Chacon said. “If symptoms persist, consult a healthcare professional.”

How to get rid of eye bags besides cucumbers

Using cucumbers isn’t for everyone, and the treatment’s relief is temporary anyway. According to Dr. Chacon, other ways to reduce eye bags and dark circles include cold compresses, over-the-counter eye creams, and gels with ingredients such as caffeine or retinol. However, ditching these issues is a long game. For longer-term success, Dr. Chacon suggests:

  • Getting ample sleep

  • Staying hydrated

  • Reducing salt intake to decrease water retention.

Finally, cucumbers aren’t a fix for under-eye issues triggered by underlying conditions, so be sure to consult a provider if you have one or think you have one.

cucumbers on the counter
Polina Tankilevitch / Pexels


Dark circles under the eyes and swelling aren’t fun. If you notice these issues, you may understandably want to eliminate them. Lifestyle habits, including poor sleep and smoking, often trigger dark circles and swelling. However, they can also be caused by aging, genetics, and underlying health conditions – factors out of our control. Sometimes, using cucumbers on the eyes can help, primarily if the eye bags or dark circles result from a few days of poor sleep or allergies. The relief is temporary, though. Staying hydrated, prioritizing sleep, quitting smoking, and treating underlying conditions can reduce your odds of developing dark circles and puffy eyes long-term.

BethAnn Mayer
Beth Ann's work has appeared on and In her spare time, you can find her running (either marathons…
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