THE ZOE REPORT: A Beginner’s Guide To Using Retinol Products Around Your Eyes

Retinol is a confusing — and intimidating — skin care ingredient all on its own. Factor in delicate, easy-to-irritate eyes, and you might be put off using retinol for your eye area entirely. However, if you’re currently using an eye cream or gel to even out skin tone or smooth fine lines like crow’s feet, then switching over to an eye product with retinol will only kick everything up a notch.

And yes, it’s possible to start slow and build your way up, as is typical with any retinol skin care. “I would recommend lower strength and more moisturizing formulations, perhaps in serum form,” dermatologist Gary Goldenberg of Goldenberg Dermatology tells TZR over email. “Avoid high-potency retinol and tretinoin, especially if you’re just starting out. Use the product sparingly and several times per week initially. Then, increase frequency.” Simple, isn’t it?

The dermatologist goes on to note that retinol is just as important to use around your eye area if you’re hoping to hoping to minimize signs of aging. “It can help with pigmentation and fine wrinkles and lines, such as crow's feet,” Goldenberg says.

For those already using retinol, mixing it into your eye care routine is a simple added step. “Put retinol and a moisturizer in the palm of your hand. Mix the two and then gently apply little dabs to the skin around the eyes,” explains Goldenberg. (And remember, this doesn’t include tretinoin, another vitamin A derivative: “Retinol is over-the-counter and tretinoin is prescription. Tretinoin usually has higher strength,” he explains. “But for wrinkles and pigmentation, I usually recommend retinol since it has similar efficacy and is less irritatinThat said, if you’re in need of a retinol product — or you need a less potent version for the eye area — then keep scrolling. Eight game-changing retinol (and retinol-like) eye area products are below; no mixing required.

We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.


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