mimi mimi
4 weeks ago

Are (retinol) eye creams dangerous?

Hi! I was watching a video on youtube the other day warning against using eye creams that contain preservatives (though not clear which) and retinol - and therefore against using eye creams in general. Do you know anything about this concern? Video link is https://youtu.be/hql6k88BKP8 retinol issue at 4.25 and preservatives just before. More broadly what would be some good and safe options for eye area for anti-age and under eye bags? Thanks for any tips!

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some extra info: I am 40 and the eye wrinkles are mainly crow’s feet so a bit outside the eye area where I already use a retinol serum, also niacinamide, HA etc. So wondering if using a retinol eye cream directly under and over the eye is worth the (alleged) risk..

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First of all, thank you so much for raising this topic and sharing the video! I watched the video and read the article the doc is citing regarding the widespread side affects of retinoid therapy. In the video, the doc shows the abstract of this article and highlights this sentence: "Dry eye syndrome and blepharoconjunctivitis are the most common side effects, appearing in 20–50 % of patients treated with retinoids." In the full text article, it is clear that this sentence relates to systemic retinoid therapy (oral retinoid drugs). Citing it when speaking about topical over-the-counter creams with retinol is not appropriate. Yes, you shouldn't apply retinol (and any other eye creams) to your eyes. They are meant for the skin around the eyes. I couldn't find any reliable sources of any side effects for vision when retinol or prescription retinoid creams are used as intended on the skin, not in the eyes... The same goes for preservatives. The fact that eye creams are not regulated as drugs does not mean that they use unsafe preservatives. Topical creams regulated as drugs and cosmetic creams actually use the same preservatives, so that fear mongering statement from the doc is also very questionable. The bottom line: use the eye creams on the skin, not in your eyes and you'd be fine. The only caution from me re retinoid creams for the skin around the eyes is that the irritation risk is higher in this area. The skin around the eyes is thinner and more sensitive. I personally cannot tolerate the same strength of retinoid cream around my eyes as I do on the rest of my face. Where the doc is correct though is that topical creams can't do much for the under eye bags. Even retinoids are not really effective for that. Topical creams can help lessen the wrinkles (somewhat) but they won't affect the bags and dark circles caused by the physical age-related changes in the face structure, metabolism, lack of sleep, chronic stress etc. In terms of safe & effective cream options for the eye area, I recommend low percentage retinoid products (for example, these ones: https://whatsinmyjar.com/search?ingredients_by_name=Retinal&category_body_part=Eyes&sortBy=Irritancy). The number one product is a daily sunscreen (again, just be careful not to get it into your eyes) + sunglasses. If you'd like to go slightly more radical against the wrinkles in the area, botox is a very effective option (and safe if done by a good professional following a proper consultation).

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wow thanks, this is a very thorough answer! and the suggestions are most welcome! I am actually thinking of having botox soon, and already use sunscreen daily, but good to know that a retinol cream probably won’t hurt either… as for under eye bags, yes, it seems they are quite tricky to improve, I should get into the habit of drinking more water - am really bad at that!

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