Adding one of the best retinol eye creams to your skincare routine is a sure-fire way to keep your under-eye area looking smooth and hydrated. And no, despite what some people say, you definitely don’t need to wait until you hit a certain age before you can start using retinol-based products. In fact, the earlier you start, the better.
According to Dr Dendy Engelman, top skincare specialist and Elizabeth Arden’s consulting New York dermatologist, you’re never too young for eye cream, since it’s more often than not the first area to start showing the effects of ageing. “I would definitely recommend the extra step of an eye cream because a) you need something that’s specifically formulated to not be too irritating and b) you want something extra nourishing and hydrating because the area is naturally more dry,” she says.
Now, if there’s one ingredient that eclipses all others when it comes to smoothing your skin, it’s retinol (even better if it’s retinal). “As a board-certified dermatologist, retinol derivatives and vitamin A still holds the highest tier of benefits for helping with fine lines and wrinkles, for building collagen and elastin and for improving skin texture and reversing sun damage. There’s so many benefits to that ingredient,” Dr Dendy explains.
Best retinol eye creams at a glance – our top picks:
- Best retinol eye cream overall: Medik8 Crystal Retinal Ceramide Eye, £42, Medik8
- Best plumping retinol eye cream: Kate Somerville + Retinol Firming Eye Cream, £82, Cult Beauty
- Best retinol eye cream for sensitive skin: La Roche-Posay Redermic [R] Retinol Eye Cream, £30, LookFantastic
- Best overnight retinol eye cream: Olay Retinol 24 Night Eye Cream With Retinol & Vitamin B3, £38, Boots
What is retinol and how does it work?
As a vitamin A derivative, retinol is a type of retinoid that’s used as an active ingredient in beauty to brighten dull skin, prevent wrinkles and reverse the appearance of blemishes and dark spots. It achieves this by penetrating your skin and stimulating your natural collagen production and promoting faster cell turnover.
Magic, right? Absolutely. However, remember that retinol can be a rather potent ingredient. In other words, if you have sensitive skin, you might want to start off with a product that contains a small dosage. You may notice that some products often pair it with ingredients such as ceramides, vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera and peptides to make the eye cream more gentle and hydrating.
Make sure to combine it with a quality SPF cream, since retinol can make your skin more vulnerable to sun damage. As for how best to apply your eye cream, Dr Dendy notes that as is the case with all products applied in the under-eye area, it’s best to “use your ring finger to minimise the amount of pressure used.”
How often can I use retinol eye cream?
How often should use your retinol eye creams, you ask? We have an answer for that too. “If you’re more sensitive to retinol, increase your usage very slowly,” Dr Dendy adds. “I’d say once a week for a week. Twice a week for two weeks. Three times a week for three weeks and increase it as you can. If you can only get it on every other night, that’s OK, you’ll still get the benefits of the retinol, so you don’t need to rush.”
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