Two reasons why this works: First, cucumbers themselves are incredibly hydrating and cooling. “The cool flesh, along with vitamin C and caffeic acid in the cucumbers, helps soothe irritated skin and reduce swelling,” integrative medicine physician Bindiya Gandhi, M.D., once told us.
But the chilled temperature also helps recede a ballooned area: Ice is a known vasoconstrictor—meaning, it helps constrict the blood vessels in the skin, which can dial down inflammation (and puffiness, too, as a result). As Gandhi continues, “If you have only five minutes and can place a couple of ice cubes or frozen bags of veggies or the back of spoons on your eyes—this instantly decreases inflammation.” The bottom line? An icy cucumber ticks both boxes.
Seems like a pretty easy hack to attempt on a puffy morning. Although, you might want to let the cukes thaw a bit before sliding them across your delicate under-eye area: Too icy of a temperature can shock the skin and actually lead to more inflammation, sometimes even broken capillaries for some. Best to wait until they’re chilled (not ice-cold) or have some sort of barrier (like an eye mask!) so it’s not too frigid on your skin.