After searching for beauty remedies to stop me looking tired (thanks kids/dog/pregnancy), I fell into an internet rabbit hole, and this is where I discovered that people were using hemorrhoid cream to treat under eye bags and dark circles. Really.
The most common treatment for hemorrhoids (a painful condition where the veins around the bottom become swollen and uncomfortable) is available over the counter at your local chemist, in the form of creams or gels. Applied regularly, they aim to shrink the offending veins and provide much sought after relief.
Somehow someone made the discovery that hemorrhoid cream can actually be quite beneficial for reducing swelling in the under-eye area and for minimising the appearance of under eye dark circles. I put it to the test – and I was pleasantly surprised. (Post continues after gallery.)
The very nature of a hemorrhoid treatment cream is to reduce swelling. The primary ingredient in most over the counter hemorrhoid treatments (there are more extreme treatments for serious cases, but these require a doctors visit) is a substance called phenylephrine, which acts to restrict blood vessels and reduce swelling. If you’re game to try this, I’d seek a medical opinion first – there could be risks associated, particularly with long-term use.
Under-eye bags are the result of weakened skin and a loss of skin elasticity which make the natural fat deposits under the eye seem much more noticeable. The idea then is to shrink them; hence the bum cream.
So, in the name of research I did what any good beauty writer would do and applied the cream nightly for four nights in an attempt to monitor my progress and see whether hemorrhoid cream does in fact assist those of us with dark circles and/or under eye puffiness.
Firstly, you need to get over the smell. There is no fancy perfume added to hemorrhoid cream. It's pretty intense and I hear some people mix it with their regular eye cream to dilute the stench. It didn't bother me enough to do that but I can understand how this would pout people off.
Secondly, you don't need that much. The first time I applied it I went a little overboard and found it difficult to blend in. A pea-sized amount is all you need for both eyes. After that, I found it sank in well and I could evem wear a small amount of concealer over the top.
Lastly, it works! I'm not even joking here. While I found the cream did nothing for my dark circles it did deliver the goods when it came to de-puffing my peepers. I was skeptical at first, but by day three I had noticed a definite improvement in swelling that I had just accepted as being part of life.
This is not a treatment that I would recommend as a long term thing, given it's ingredients and intended use but if you have a special event coming up and the only bag you're interested in taking is a clutch, consider a few days of haemorrhoid cream.
Disclaimer: The content in this story is the opinion of the author, they are not a medical expert, so please consult a doctor before proceeding on any of the above procedures.