Retinol for eye wrinkles

Retinol fights wrinkles and sun damage

Retinol is derived from vitamin A and is commonly found in over-the-counter anti-wrinkle creams.  It’s milder than the prescription-strength product, tretinoin.  Both versions work to make the skin look younger, yet prescription tretinoin (Retin-A, Renova, Refissa) work better and faster, while they also have more of a tendency to cause dryness and redness.

Can retinol be used around the eyes?

Yes. There is a misconception that creams can’t be used on the eyelids.  The reason for concern is that you don’t want to get irritants inside the eyes.  But the skin around the eyes is the earliest on the face to show wrinkles and it’s a great place to use retinol (or tretinoin).

Because the eyelid skin is so thin, it can also be more sensitive, so you may not wish to use retinol in this area every day, and smaller amounts help to avoid overflow getting in the eyes.  You can even use it on your upper eyelid skin.

What does retinol (and tretinoin) do?

There are 3 main actions that make this an amazing (and scientifically proven) anti-aging cream.

1. Collagen boost : retinol increases the amount of collagen in your skin and it slows down the break down of existing collagen.  This helps with wrinkles.

2. Faster skin growth : by speeding up the cycle of skin growth, it makes the skin thicker and smoother, both signs of youthfulness.

3. Brown spot supression : it reduces the amount of pigment in the skin, making the skin color look more even and less blotchy.

It works on the genetic level

Retinoids enter the skin cells and regulate the expression of certain genes that affect the cell’s behavior.  In this way, retinoids have a localized hormone-like action similar to steroids.

It’s a night cream

Retinoids can make you sensitive to light.  Prescription strength versions are more prone to doing so, so it’s suggested that you use them at night.

 How long does it take to work?

This will depend on the strength of the product you are using, how often you are using it, and how your skin responds to it.  So it depends.  But it typically takes months to see a nice effect.  It’s a long term commitment, but it works.

If you have severe wrinkles or wish to see more improvement than what a topical cream can offer, you should consider other cosmetic treatments for wrinkles around the eyes.  When I see patients for consultations about eye wrinkles in my NY offices, retinol is almost always mentioned, but then we talk about laser treatments, Botox, and eyelid lifts as well.


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