Posted on: January 11, 2024 Posted by: Comments: 0

When I think of high-performing skincare ingredients, there is always one in particular that comes to mind, and that’s retinol. According to Anna Harvey, head aesthetician at Thérapie Clinic, not only does retinol have the ability to speed up cell turnover, but it also stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, which makes it a great ingredient for those of us wanting to minimise fine lines and tackle dark circles.  However, due to its potent nature, most retinol skincare products come with strict instructions to avoid the eye area all together. Luckily for us, lots of brands have created retinol eye creams that are specifically designed for the more delicate skin around our eyes. These creams often come with lots of other hydrating ingredients to help minimise irritation. Sounds good, right? In order to help you choose the right retinol eye cream for you, I’ve spoken to the experts to find out everything there is to know, and I’ve rounded up 10 of the very best retinol eye creams to try now—so keep on scrolling.

As mentioned above, retinol can help tackle multiple skin concerns. “Retinol is a vitamin A derivative known for its skin benefits when used topically to promote cell turnover and stimulate collagen production,” explains Dr Maryam Zamani, oculoplastic surgeon and founder of MZ SKIN. “When it comes to eye creams, retinol can be beneficial for addressing signs of ageing around the eyes, such as fine lines and dark circles.” Of course, we believe in celebrating ageing, not hiding it, but if you do want to smooth or firm the skin around the eyes, then this might be the product for you.

I often get asked if retinol is safe to use under your eyes. Although I would never recommend using a general retinol skincare product around the eye area, retinol eye creams are safe to use as they have been designed with the delicate eye area in mind. That being said, if you do have any skin issues around your eyes, I would recommend asking your doctor before introducing retinol into your routine. “It’s important to note that the skin around the eyes is more sensitive compared to the rest of the face”, says Dr Zamani. “Using a high concentration of retinol in this area may lead to irritation, redness, or dryness. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose an eye cream with a lower concentration of retinol and to patch-test it on a small area before applying it around the eyes. Once acclimated, retinol eye creams can be used nightly and followed by your skincare regimen.”

Retinol eye creams often contains lots of other skin-loving ingredients. Kalen Leone, R&D manager at RoC Skincare, says that it’s best to look for ingredients that compliment retinol such as hyaluronic acid and caffeine. Harvey also recommends looking for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, but also ceramides and squalene, as these will help to keep the skin around the eyes well hydrated.

So, how often should you apply a retinol eye cream? Dr Zamani recommends starting with a low concentration of retinol in small quantities two to three times a week. This can then be built up gradually over time. Harvey adds that retinol eye creams should always be applied at night as the sunlight can break down the potency. She also says that it’s important to apply SPF in the day to help protect the skin.

When it comes to actually applying the cream, Leone advises following the usage directions and patting the product around your eyes using your finger so not to damage the sensitive eye area.

First up is this eye cream from La Roche Posay. Specifically formulated for the sensitive eye area, it contains the exclusive ‘retinol booster complex’ alongside 0.2% of caffeine to smooth fine lines and brighten dark circles.

If you’re looking for an affordable retinol eye cream, you can’t go wrong with The Inkey List. This formula has been developed with a slow-release retinol to help prevent irritation around the eyes.

This product takes on the consistency of a serum rather than a cream, which makes it nice and lightweight on the skin. Alongside retinol, you will find cotton wool grass extract to help hydrate , and a marine kelp complex which helps to lift the skin.

This retinol eye cream from Roc has been designed to help tackle puffiness, fine lines and dark circles thanks to ingredients such as retinol and the brand’s exclusive mineral complex. 

Elizabeth Arden know what they are doing when it comes to skincare, and this retinol eye cream contains ceramides and niacinamide to leave your eye area feeling hydrated and smooth. Plus, the clever pump means you get the right amount of product every single time.

Price shown is members’ price. With slow-release retinol microcapsules, moisturising hyaluronic acid and natural ficucell vita which works to enhance skin’s hydration, this Beauty Pie eye cream sounds like a winner. Just to note, the website does say that this product might not be suitable for anyone with very sensitive skin.

Olay’s retinol eye cream is infused with vitamin b3 to hydrate the skin, alongside a retinoid complex that works beneath the skin’s surface to smooth the appearance of fine lines. What more could you want?

We all know and love Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream, but did you know that the brand does an eye cream too? It has everything you need from time-released retinol molecules to smooth and firm the skin, a botanical eye contour complex to help reduce the appearance of dark circles, red algae to strengthen and sooth and coconut oil and shea butter to hydrate.

Not only does this eye cream contain retinol and ceramides, but the addition of vitamin c will help make your under eye area look fresh and glowy.

This eye cream from Dr. Dennis Gross combines retinol and ferulic, which work together to help enhance the smoothing properties and reduce irritation.

Next up, 15 Expert-Approved Tips to Help Combat Dry, Damaged and Tired Skin

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