Depuff and Perk Up Tired Eyes With This Super-Easy Hack

Whether you like to drink it hot or cold, there’s something so soothing and nourishing about drinking tea. Beyond the taste and the cozy vibes it cultivates, the health benefits are pretty sweet, too. Depending on what type you drink, benefits can include improved gut health (especially green tea) and boosted brain health. And, here’s one more benefit many are unaware of: Once you’ve brewed and sipped your drink, you can put the leftover tea bags on eyes as either a cold or hot compress.

Ahead, Jessie Cheung, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, shares the scoop on how tea bags are the ultimate natural eye care method for reducing eye puffiness and soothing tired eyes. You can even experience the benefits of tea bags on eyes for dark circles. Yes, really—no fancy creams required.

Experts In This Article

The benefits of putting tea bags on eyes

1. Brightens up dark circles

One of the benefits of green tea bags on eyes is that they can help brighten up your under-eye area. “You can use tea bags to wake up tired eyes and mask dark circles,” Dr. Cheung says. So how does it work? Using black or green tea for eyes adds hydration, creating a smoothing effect. They also contain caffeine, which helps constrict the blood vessels around the eyes. (That’s why you’ll often find caffeine in eye remedies like under-eye wrinkle creams, too.) For the best results, ensure the tea bags are cold.

2. Reduces eye puffiness

You'll notice a pretty impressive before and after from using cold tea bags on eyes—especially when it comes to reducing eye puffiness and under-eye bags. Opt for black or green tea for eyes: Dr. Cheung says the caffeine they contain constricts blood vessels and tightens the skin around your eye area. (Pro tip: You can also reduce puffiness when you know the right foods to avoid, such as anything high-sodium. Sorry, canned soup.)

3. Relieves eye inflammation

If you’re looking for some anti-inflammatory eye relief, try using tea bags for eye infections. One of the benefits of green tea bags on eyes—especially when warm—is how helpful they can be when you’re dealing with blepharitis (eyelid inflammation) or a chalazion (sometimes called an eyelid cyst). The tea bags will help soften the clogged oils and decrease inflammation, says Dr. Cheung.

If you want to take your anti-inflammatory eye relief to the next level, Kimberly Snyder, CN, nutrition expert and founder of Solluna, previously told Well+Good to first soak the green tea bags in cooled almond milk or rose water.

4. Helps get rid of styes

Another one of the (many!) benefits of putting green tea bags on eyes is that they can help heal styes—those painful red bumps that pop up on the edge of your eyelid. According to the Cleveland Clinic, this is partly due to green tea’s antibacterial properties. Using tea bags for eye infections is simple: Swap your washcloth compress for a warm green tea bag to get some relief. According to Dr. Cheung, doing so helps unplug the oil gland.

5. Soothes pink eye

While putting tea bags on your lids won’t solve a case of pink eye, Dr. Cheung notes that using them as compresses may soothe the irritation and dry sensations associated with conjunctivitis, an inflammatory infection. Here’s the deal with the natural eye care method, though: If you’re going to use tea bags for eye infections, you’ve gotta do it right. In this case, Dr. Cheung says to ensure the tea bags are cold, as a warm compress may add to the swelling. (Aka the last thing you want when you’re hoping for some anti-inflammatory eye relief.)

What types of tea bags to use on eyes

What kind of tea bag you use will depend on the benefit you desire. For swelling and irritation, Dr. Cheung recommends chamomile tea bags, as chamomile contains components (flavonoids and terpenoids, in particular) that have historically been used to treat swelling and irritation. She suggests it for its soothing qualities, too—another of the many benefits of tea bags on eyes for your skin. “Chamomile has been found to be moderately effective at treating eczema when applied topically,” she says. She says antioxidant-rich white and green tea also provide skin-boosting benefits.

If you’re hoping for a noticeable before and after from using tea bags on eyes, black and green tea are great picks for getting rid of eye puffiness and brightening dark circles. They work similarly to the caffeine in eye remedies like store-bought creams, narrowing the blood vessels around your eye area and tightening your skin, says Dr. Cheung.

Risks and precautions to keep in mind

While there are many benefits of tea bags on eyes for your skin, there are also risks and precautions to be aware of. Most importantly, ensure you use teas that don’t contain any ingredients you may be allergic to. For instance, Dr. Cheung says many people report being allergic to chamomile tea, as it's a common relative of ragweed. Also, always ensure your eyes are closed and that the temperature is safe for your skin—i.e. allow the tea bags to cool before placing them on the delicate area.

How to prepare tea bags for eyes

Use organic tea

Learning how to prepare tea bags for eyes starts with choosing the safest option. Dr. Cheung recommends going with organic teas that come packaged in bleach-free bags without any staples. The staples, she explains, can retain heat and may burn your skin when you place the tea bags on your eyes. The sharp edges could also scratch you.

Steep the tea bag

Once you’ve snagged your organic tea bags, the next step is to submerge them in hot water according to the directions on the package. Then, allow the tea bag to cool for a few minutes. In the meantime, remove any eye makeup or contact lenses.

Do a temp check

This is the most crucial point to keep in mind when learning how to prepare tea bags for eyes. Before you set the tea bags on your eye area, be sure to check the temperature against your wrist or fingers, says Dr. Cheung. Then, squeeze out any excess water. The last thing you want to do is burn yourself.

Apply the tea bags to your eyes

Once the tea bag’s temp is just right, Dr. Cheung says to apply it to your closed swollen eyelid. She warns against getting any liquid in your eyes, as that can irritate them—hence the need to give the tea bag a good squeeze first.

While they work their magic, reducing eye puffiness and soothing tired eyes, catch up on your favorite podcasts or get your meditation on. Just make sure to set a timer, as Dr. Cheung advises not leaving the tea bags on your eyes for more than 30 minutes. Any longer than that may dry out your skin, which defeats the purpose, no?

Frequently asked questions

Are there any risks associated with using tea bags on eyes?

Sure, you can reap the benefits of tea bags on eyes for dark circles and beyond. But there are also risks to consider before utilizing the natural eye care method. First, ensure you're not allergic to the tea you're using. Dr. Cheung says it's not uncommon to be allergic to chamomile tea, for instance, as it's a relative of ragweed. Also remember to do a temperature check before placing tea bags on your eyes—they should be cold or warm, never hot.

How does caffeine in tea bags benefit eye skin?

There’s a good reason why you see caffeine in eye remedies like wrinkle creams: “Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, which means it reduces blood flow, making it a popular addition to eye products to reduce the appearance of puffy eyes and improve overall brightness,” Jolie De Feis, a licensed esthetician based in New York, previously told Well+Good. That's why Dr. Cheung is a fan of using black or green tea for eyes. Because they contain caffeine, you can get a similar effect.

How do tea bags help soothe tired eyes?

One of the prime benefits of tea bags on eyes for your skin? How great they are at soothing tired eyes. The caffeine in black and green tea helps reduce any eye puffiness you may have from lack of sleep. There’s also benefits of tea bags on eyes for dark circles, too, as they brighten and depuff your under-eye area.

How long should I leave tea bags on my eyes?

You can leave tea bags on your eyes for 15 to 30 minutes. If you leave them on any longer than 30 minutes, Dr. Cheung says you could dry out your skin, preventing you from getting a top-notch before and after from using tea bags on eyes. While you’re relaxing, keep the tea in a thermos or to-go mug to sip on later (like the options in this list of gifts for tea lovers).

Well+Good articles reference scientific, reliable, recent, robust studies to back up the information we share. You can trust us along your wellness journey.
  1. Srivastava, Janmejai K et al. “Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future.” Molecular medicine reports vol. 3,6 (2010): 895-901. doi:10.3892/mmr.2010.377

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