Is it really a “spa day” if you don’t find yourself with cucumbers on your eyes? Questionable.
Also up for debate: if cucumber slices really do something or if it’s just a cuke. Here’s what you need to know about the science behind this personal care staple.
People put raw cucumber slices on their eyes to reduce puffiness and dark circles. They also use them to make the skin look fresh and refreshed. Cucumber extracts are even used in cosmetics (like eye lotions and gels) for the same reasons.
Since raw cucumbers contain a lot of water, the slices feel cool on your eyes when you apply them. It can work as a cold compress, especially if you chill the cucumber before using it.
Placing a vegetable on your eyes encourages you to close them during your grooming routine. It can help you relax and unwind.
There is some evidence that cucumbers can benefit your skin. But if you’re looking for major results, two convincing slices won’t do.
Research suggests cucumbers are good for your skin
Cucumbers are rich in vitamin C (an antioxidant) and folic acid (a B vitamin).
Vitamin C could help stimulate the growth of new cells in the skin around your eyes. Folic acid can help fight puffiness and reduce swelling. How? ‘Or’ What? It can help boost the antioxidants that fight toxins in your skin. It can cleanse and soothe damaged skin.
A 2012 study also suggested that applying cucumbers to your skin may reduce dark circles. It is thanks to the vitamin K that it contains. Cucumbers can also lighten your skin because they can inhibit an enzyme called tyrosinase. Tyrosinase causes your body to make more melanin (a pigment that darkens your skin and helps protect it from UV rays).
Less tyrosinase = less melanin = less color.
But there is no evidence that two slices have all of these benefits.
It is not known if just putting slices on your eyes will work by magic. There are no current studies that confirm that the slices are enough for you to see the beneficial effects. What evidence is there? Cucumber juice, seed extract, and flowers can all be good for your skin when used as added ingredients.
Eye gels or creams containing cucumber can moisturize the skin and, according to at least one 2010 study, may even help prevent wrinkles.
If you want to try cucumber slices on your eyes, here are the steps you can take.
- Put the whole cucumber in the refrigerator for at least an hour before using it.
- Wash your cucumber thoroughly. (This can kill any bacteria or pesticides that could harm your eyes.)
- Cut the cucumber into 1/2-inch slices.
- Rinse the slices under cold water.
- Make yourself comfortable with your head tilted back slightly and apply a slice of cucumber to each eye.
- Relax for about 15 minutes.
- When the cucumber slice gets hot against your eye, turn it over.
Pro tip: Try to apply the cucumber slices at the same time you use a face mask.
All parts of the cucumber are generally considered safe to use on your skin.
Check for a cucumber allergy
However, it is possible to be allergic to cucumbers, so test it first. Try putting a slice of cucumber on your wrist to see if there is a reaction. If your skin becomes red, discolored, or itchy, remove the cucumber and do not use it on your eyes.
Always rinse your cucumber before using it
It is very important that you use a clean cucumber on your eyes. Any bacteria that are persistent could put you at risk of developing an infection. You also shouldn’t reuse cucumber slices for the same reason.
Cucumber slices alone might not be enough to reduce dark circles or puffy eyes. Here are some other things you can try.
- Look for products that contain cucumber extracts. Many skin and eye care products contain cucumber ingredients, which could help you see results faster.
- Drink chamomile tea. Chamomile also helps reduce inflammation and swelling in your body.
- Apply tea bags to your eyes. Tea bags can cool your eyes as the liquid evaporates when applied for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Avoid excess salt in your diet. Salt can make puffiness worse, including around the eyes.
- Exercise. Bags around the eyes are often the result of a buildup of lymph fluid. Exercise can help drain some of this fluid.
Cucumbers have long been used in personal care, and there is no reason to stop. Some scientific data suggests that they can cool your eyes, reduce swelling, and make your eyes brighter. Just be sure to use clean, peeled cucumber slices. Gels and creams with cucumber as an ingredient also work.