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Post in Skincare Aware

Retinol and Eyes

I have a question about the facial retinol that are sold on Sephora none of them say whether they are safe or not to use around the eye area I would not want to purchase a specific eye retinol and a face retinol. Does anyone know if it is safe to use these retinols under the eye and all over the face if so which ones are recommended I don't want to end up with dry and peeling eyes but I want one retinol product for my whole face

Re: Retinol and Eyes

@Anlynne I've been using retinols around my eyes for years, but I started after being a seasoned retinoid user.  And still, there was an adjustment period.  I found Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum to be the most gentle.  I actually use it on my eyelids.  Another you could look into is First Aid Beauty FAB Skin Lab Retinol Eye Cream with Triple Hyaluronic Acid which only gave me dryness the first two times I used it.  I use it on my upper orbital area.


Other retinols that I use under my eyes and at the corners of my eyes include First Aid Beauty FAB Skin Lab Retinol Serum 0.25% Pure Concentrate and Obagi Clinical Retinol 0.5 Retexturizing Cream .  It took a very long time for me to tolerate the FAB more than 2-3x a week.  The Obagi was an easier transition, but only b/c that area had grown accustomed to retinol.


I would start with the lowest concentration, and only 1x a week at that.  Be sure to use a moisturizer and/or hydrator and/or facial oil as well.

Re: Retinol and Eyes

@greeneyedgirl107 thanks for outlining your retinol progress! I was trying to figure out what to use after FAB as the next level up and had been looking at obagi as an option so it's nice to know the transition from one to the other wasn't too rough.

Re: Retinol and Eyes

@meou Glad I could help out 🙂  Good luck!  


I'm actually at the point where I've been wanting to transition from a .5% retinol to a .75%.  But I can't seem to find any.  So, I'll have to move to the full 1%.  I tried Drunk Elephant A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream 1 oz/ 30 mL but once was enough for me - it felt so strong.  I tried Paula's Choice 1% and my skin liked it better.

Re: Retinol and Eyes

@greeneyedgirl107 I've heard the drunk elephant is REALLY Strong as well and had more irritation then a lot of other 1% retinol's actually. I don't think I've ever seen a 0.75% it seems to always jump from 0.5% to 1% 😥

Re: Retinol and Eyes

@meou Agreed!

Re: Retinol and Eyes

@Anlynne  Depending on your skin's tolerance, many OTC (over-the-counter) retinol serums can probably be used around the eyes. For me, "around the eyes" means under the eye (but not all the way up to my lash line) and on the outer corners. I don't apply retinol serum below my brows because I don't want to risk it seeping down into my eyes. 


"Depending on your skin's tolerance" is important. Have you ever used a retinol product before? If you're just starting out with something very gentle like, say, First Aid Beauty FAB Skin Lab Retinol Serum 0.25% Pure Concentrate , you could apply that to your whole face to see how your skin tolerates retinol. That product was the first full face retinol serum I ever used. Then I moved up to a mid-strength serum, The INKEY List Retinol Fine Lines and Wrinkles Serum 1 oz/ 30 mL , which I've used for over a year now. I didn't use this serum under my eyes until I'd worked my way up to 3x/week usage on the rest of my face. Now I use it every other night everywhere on my face except my eyelids and brow bones. 


Another possibly very gentle retinol serum option, though on the pricier side, is Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum which is specifically formulated for use around the eye—including the eyelids, though I've never put it there—and can, of course, be used on the rest of your face. DDG also makes a full face version of this serum: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution 1 oz/ 30 mL . I have no idea what strength—what % of retinol—these DDG serums are, because DDG refuses to divulge that info. But I've used the eye serum for nearly 2 years now (these days, I use it occasionally, and sometimes on my whole face) and it's definitely not as strong as The Inkey List Retinol Serum. 


If a retinol product specifically warns against using use around the eyes, follow that warning. And of course, when in serious doubt, ask a dermatologist. 

Re: Retinol and Eyes

@WinglessOne Thank you for recommending The INKEY List Retinol Fine Lines and Wrinkles Serum 1 oz/ 30 mL! I've been using The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid* 2% Emulsion 1 oz/ 30 mL for a while now but it' been really hard to find! I am hoping they didn't discontinue it! At the same time I might be ready to try something a little stronger and had been eyeing The Inkey List one ... I may just give it a shot now! Thank you!! 😁

Re: Retinol and Eyes

Hi @Anlynne!


If you look at the instructions, some products will specifically state to avoid the eye area (like the Drunk Elephant A-Passioni).

It might also depend on how much retinol is in the moisturizer.  I would generally avoid using retinol face cream around the eyes since it can irritate the thin skin around the eyes.  The best thing to do is buy separate retinol creams for face and eyes.

RE: Re: Retinol and Eyes

I do know that the Peter Thomas Roth retinol in the dark blue bottle is time released and you apply nightly. I gently apply around eye area and it does a good job. It’s pretty gentle and works.

Re: Retinol and Eyes

@RAWRitsRED Hi!! I assume you've used the Drunk Elephant A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream 1 oz/ 30 mL? What are your thoughts? As a late blooming newbie (I only got into the skincare/beauty/makeup world at 34 and I just turned 39!! YIKES!) I have only usedThe Ordinary Granactive Retinoid* 2% Emulsion 1 oz/ 30 mL . It's been MIA everywhere for a while and I was thinking of starting using an actual retinol product - starting with DE. At what poing in your skin care routine do you use it? Are there any other brands you like more and would recommed?


Same goes with retinol eye creams!! I was only slightly aware that they even had separate ones! (*face palm emoji* - they don't have one! LOL!) Any advice? I would definitely appreciate it and I'm sure it would help out other newbies too! Thanks so much!! 😘

Re: Retinol and Eyes

Hi @BaseballJen!  It's never too late to start skincare and makeup!


I thought the Drunk Elephant A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream 1 oz/ 30 mL worked pretty well for smoothing out my oily skin.  I mixed it with the Drunk Elephant B-Hydra™ Intensive Hydration Serum with Hyaluronic Acid 1.69 oz/ 50 mL and applied moisturizer after.  I'm 25 and don't have wrinkles or fine lines yet so I can't say anything about it helping wrinkles, but maybe it's preventing them.


I'm not using retinol at the moment since I'm using other products that have salicylic acid and niacinamide in it (for oily skin, acne, pores, blackheads).  Maybe I'll start using retinol again.  I've had my eye on Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum and Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum 


Also, depending on where you live, Drunk Elephant might be having an in-store event at your local Sephora.  They're having one on Tuesday in my area and will be giving free samples when you try their product.  You can check the Store Events page.

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