Whether you like to drink it hot or cold, there is 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 the one benefit many are unaware of, the tea bags can be good for your eyes. Yup! Once you’ve brewed and sipped your drink, you can put tea bags on eyes as either a cold or hot compress.
Ahead, Jessie Cheung, a board-certified dermatologist, shares the scoop on the benefits of tea bags on eyes and how, exactly, to use them.
The benefits of putting tea bags on eyes
Placing bags of caffeinated tea over your peepers can help with that. Dr. Cheung explains that the stimulant found in them helps constrict blood vessels and tightens the skin. The key, she adds, is using cold tea bags as their temp also helps constrict blood vessels.
Can soothe 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. Be sure that it’s a cold tea bag, though, as Dr. Cheung says a warm compress may add to the swelling.
May brighten up under eyes
“You can use tea bags to wake up tired eyes and mask dark circles,” Dr. Cheung says as doing so adds hydration, creates a smoothing effect, and (again) the cold helps constrict the blood vessels around the eye area.
Helps restore skin moisture
Dr. Cheung notes that many herbal teas also contain soothing anti-inflammatories, which clinical studies have shown to help improve skin moisture and smoothness.
Relieves eye inflammation
Using warm tea bags on your eyes may also be helpful when looking for relief from eye issues such as stye (a red, painful lump), blepharitis (eyelid inflammation), or a chalazion (sometimes called an eyelid cyst). The tea bags will help soften the clogged oils and decrease inflammation, Dr. Cheung says.
What types of tea bags to use on eyes
What kind of tea bag you use will depend on what 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 skin soothing, too. “Chamomile has been found to be moderately effective at treating eczema when applied topically,” she says.
To reap skin-boosting benefits, Dr. Cheung suggests opting for teas high in antioxidants such as white and green tea.
All that said, ensure you use teas that don’t contain any ingredients you may have an allergy to—for instance, Dr. Cheung says many people report being allergic to chamomile tea as it can contain ragweed, daisies, marigold, or chrysanthemums.
How to use tea bags on eyes
Use organic tea
The safest tea bag option for your eyes is organic teas that come packaged in bleach-free bags without any staples, Dr. Cheung says. The staples, she explains, can retain heat and may burn your skin when you place the tea bags on your eyes, or the sharp edges can also scratch you.
Steep the tea bag
Once you’ve snagged your organic tea bags from your local health food store, Dr. Cheung says 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
Before you apply the tea bags on your eyes, be sure to check the bag’s temperature against your wrist or fingers, Dr. Cheung says. Then, squeeze out any excess water.
Apply the tea bags to your eyes
Once the tea bag’s temp is just right, Dr. Cheung instructs applying it to your closed eyelids. 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, this is a great time to catch up on your favorite podcasts or get your meditation on, but make sure you 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?
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