If You Use Retinoids, You Need To Know This Classic, Derm-Approved Tip
In case we haven't burned it into your brain already: The area around your eyes is super thin and delicate, so it's important to tend to it with extra care. That includes hydrating the skin with nourishing actives, as well as introducing ingredients that increase elasticity and firmness.
For the latter, many eagerly turn to retinoids, as the vitamin A derivatives can promote cell turnover and collagen production. But before smearing product under your eyes and calling it a night (be it an OTC or prescription-strength version), there's something you need to know: You should probably apply an eye cream first.
Why you should use retinoids after eye cream.
You might be wondering: Why wouldn't you want retinoids to penetrate the under eyes? The eye area is typically the first to show signs of aging, after all, and revealing smooth, younger-looking skin underneath is key. We wholeheartedly agree, although retinoids are sometimes a bit too intense for the sensitive area, which can lead to irritation. We repeat: The skin is thin, and so you should treat it as gently as possible.
Take it from board-certified dermatologist Shereene Idriss, M.D. In a recent YouTube video with Harper's Bazaar, she applies Vaseline on that super-thin skin before dotting on the retinoid (she uses prescription-strength tretinoin). It's a classic hack, one that doesn't require any new or fancy products—just a little reorganization of your skin care order. Although, "If you're prone to milia, I would be careful with the Vaseline," Idriss adds. We'd also recommend the Skin Food Lip Butter from Weleda if you're looking for a clean alternative with a similar, jelly-like consistency. Or, you can simply apply your favorite eye cream or moisturizer pre-retinoid—all you need is a physical barrier of some sort to dilute the potent active.
And just in case you're worried the product won't do its job: "It's not going to completely block it," Idriss reassures in the video. "It's going to help at least with the fine lines around the eye."
When incorporating retinoids into your routine, you can always just, you know, avoid the eye area entirely. But for those looking for some under-eye turnover, you can totally use the same product allover; just make sure you're diluting it with some sort of cream before smearing on the sensitive area.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.