It turns out, this TikTok hack has legs (or, um, eyes). According to board-certified internal medicine physician and skin care expert Zion Ko Lamm, M.D., eye drops are an effective way to calm down angry zits—so long as you use drops for “redness relief,” she explains in a duet video.
That’s because the active ingredients in OTC anti-redness formulas (typically tetrahydrozoline, naphazoline, or brimonidine) are all vasoconstrictors—meaning, they can constrict blood vessels, which helps keep your eyes clear. When applied to your skin, those vasoconstrictors can also help decrease redness and swelling (it has a similar soothing effect to green tea, for example, another known vasoconstrictor).
Although, it’s more of a quick fix. “It does not treat your acne, but it is a temporary hack!” says Lamm. You’ll want to use other spot treatment methods to actually clear the breakout (salicylic acid, clay, etc.), as taming the redness doesn’t exactly target the root of the problem (clogged pores). Still, eye drops can work in a pinch—say, the morning of an important event.
“[It] may even help with vascular-type dark circles,” Lamm notes, since these types of shadows are exacerbated when blood vessels expand. Again, it’s not a long-term treatment (you’ll want to tend to dark circles with these targeted treatments), but it does work for some temporary brightness.