The undereye area – sun damage and wrinkles! Retinol or what else can I do?

I've seen you state not to use a retinoid under the eye area but what about a retinol? I'm 37 and I've been using Poetry in Lotion 1.0% Retinol under my eyes for the last month to help with damage I experienced spending a summer in Australia where my normal mode of skincare routine was foolishly insufficient (I should've always had a hat on but spent time on the beach a lot and didn't apply enough sunscreen). My under eye area is my main problem and it got much worse after being there. The thing is that I'm now in a very dry climate and since using the retinol, it seems that new criss-cross shaped lines & crepiness is occurring IF I don't use the retinol. Like on off nights when I give my skin a break I'm noticing this. Is this bc the retinol is thinning & ruining my under eye area? I feel like I now have even more lines from the retinol if I don't use it - will I always have to use it?? But then again, it could also be the severe dryness. I'm so confused. There's such mixed info out there. Please help!

This was a question from April but you bring up a lot of good issues.  First, and you know I have to say this again, please prevent this type of damage with sunglasses, hats and eyelid sunscreen.   Try the new SkinCeutical Physical Eye UV Defense SPF 50.  

A couple of points to consider:

  1. The eyelid area is usually too thin and sensitive to tolerate most retinoids (Retin A, Renova, even OTC Retinols), unless specifically formulated for that area.  Try one like the All-trans Retinol from Replenix.
  2. If there is an increase in the lines and crepiness (even on the off night), it is usually due to  irritation from the product.   The way to get a handle on this is to stop the product and use only an eye cream (no actives) or a bland moisturizer for about two weeks and see if it resolves.  If it resolves, you’ll know the product was irritating you.  If, for any reason, the problem gets worse, you need to see your dermatologist. 
  3. Be sure to use an eye cream in the morning and it’s fine to use one at night under the retinol product, if needed.  It will help reduce the chance that irritation will occur.  More on eye creams. 

Hope this helps,   Dr. I


Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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