Retin-A For Under Eyes: Everything You Need to Know

Have you noticed those dark bags underneath your eyes? How about those pesky lines that started to form on your forehead or cheeks? If you do, then you probably have tried searching for the best eye creams online and have stumbled on articles about Retin-A for under eyes

What is Retin-A, and how is it good for your under eyes?

Retinol-A is a type of Vitamin A that has been proven to boost collagen production, helping you get rid of those wrinkles, crepey skin, and dark under eyes. Dermatologists love Retin-A because, when used regularly, it will help smoothen and soften the skin. The best part about it is there are several eye creams you can choose from based on your skin concern and budget. 

But if you’re still a bit hesitant about the wonders of Retin-A, we’ll give you an in-depth analysis of its benefits and why you need to get one for your skin.

How Wrinkles, Dark Under Eyes, and Other Signs of Skin Aging Develop?

If you are in your late 20s or 30s, you may notice these wrinkles, crepey skin, and fine lines forming on your forehead, under your eyes, and chin. You may also notice the skin underneath your chin to be a bit loose, or your cheeks lack the youthful glow it once had. These common signs of skin aging are natural and inevitable

As much as we hate these skincare woes, it’s part of the natural process that we humans have to experience. However, contrary to popular benefits, wrinkles and fine lines don’t happen overnight. It’s a result of years of sun exposure and lifestyle. 

Some people believe premature aging is the result of the type of food they eat. Honestly, it usually depends on your lifestyle. But the biggest factor that causes rapid skin aging is sunlight. 

This process is called photoaging.

When UV light penetrates your skin, it damages the cells underneath it, resulting in a rapid deterioration of these healthy skin cells. Based on the EPA United States Environmental Protection Agency, 90% of the premature changes in your skin are caused by the sun. Hence, you need to get the right protection to stop these early signs of skin aging. 

So, how does Retin-A fit in all of these?

What is Retin-A? Is It Different From Tretinoin?

Retin-A is a form of vitamin A that is commonly associated with Tretinoin. Doctor and beauty gurus use the terms interchangeably that it can be confusing for a newbie. Honestly, they’re not technically the same thing.

Retin-A is the brand name that contains Tretinoin, while Tretinoin is the ingredient or the generic name

Think about it as Kleenex and tissue. Kleenex is the brand name, while the tissue is the generic name. Now that you are able to differentiate the two, it’s easier for you to understand their benefits. 

Tretinoin is a prescription medication that is used to treat acne, fine lines, and wrinkles. Its other name is retinoic acid which is the generic name for synthetic vitamin A. The effects of Tretinoin are quite counterintuitive because it works by irritating the skin.

What it does is target the outer layer of the keratinocytes, which are the most superficial cells of the epidermis. It speeds up the life cycle of the cells, so they can regenerate and create new cells.

Once the epidermis is cleaner and smoother, the epidermal cells start to replicate faster, causing the skin to look healthier. The last step in the process is the collagen bundles will become thicker, causing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines to lessen

Basically, Retin-A increases the blood flow in your skin, giving it a healthier and youthful vibe. Plus, it stimulates the cells to produce more collagen for it to become thicker and firmer. Healthy and thicker skin is equal to saying goodbye to those pesky wrinkles and fine lines. 

The best part about Retin-A is you can use it to treat under-eye wrinkles. 

But, it’s best to consult with a dermatologist since Tretinoin is a strong prescription medication. If you do get the approval from your doctor, here are some of the pros and cons of the product based on the research conducted by the Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology and National Library of Medicine:


  • Reduces inflammation due to acne
  • Exfoliates the skin
  • Lessens the fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth, cheeks, and under eyes


  • Excessive redness
  • Purging
  • Swelling
  • Temporary skin irritation

Is It Safe to Use Retin-A for Under Eyes?

Retin is a prescription medication that you need to use with caution. It’s best to discuss your medical condition before asking for a prescription from a doctor. Once you are given a prescription, you must only use it exactly as how it is used to avoid complications.

If not, these are some of the complications you may experience:

  • Skin irritation
  • Blistering
  • Discoloration of the skin
  • Eye redness
  • Flakiness and photosensitivity of the skin
  • Swelling and burning of the skin

Rest assured that only a few people experienced these minor complications. But, it’s best to head straight to the doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. 

Choosing the Right Strength of Retin-A for Under Eyes

Retin-A or Tretinoin is already pure retinoic acid which makes it a very potent ingredient for your under eyes. There are different percentages of Tretinoin based on your skin needs. Studies show that the best results come from tretinoin products that have a 0.05% concentration. 

Since you plan on using Tretinoin for under eyes, it’s best to stick with the lower level of Tretinoin. Stick with a 0.025% to 0.05% concentration rather than the 0.1% concentration. If it’s your first time using the product, use the 0.025% concentration, then work your way up. Consult your doctor too and discuss with them your skin type to get the best results and avoid skin irritation. 

How to Use Retin-A for Under Eyes?

The proper use of Retin-A is imperative for its efficacy. We highly suggest using it as directed by your doctor. Avoid using more of the product in the hopes of increasing its effect because it can only lead to complications on your skin. Do not use it on open wounds, sunburned, chapped, dry, or irritated skin.

Since Tretinoin comes in different forms, there are different ways of applying it. We’ll share with you three easy steps in applying Retin-A cream. It can be summarized as Cleanse, Correct, and Protect

1. Cleanse: Prep your skin with soap and water

Before applying Retin-A on your under eyes, you need to prepare your skin for the product to easily absorb in your skin. Start by washing your skin with a mild soap or cleanser and warm water. When picking a cleanser, avoid using products with strong acids such as lactic acid, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide. 

We suggest using the No products found.. It’s a super gentle cleanser that will help you get rid of excess oils and dirt without irritating your skin. Apply the cleanser on your hands and gently massage it on your face. Then rinse off with warm water and pat dry using a clean washcloth. 

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2. Correct: Apply a small amount on your face

Wait for 20 to 30 minutes before you apply the Retin-A cream. Squeeze a pea-sized amount on your fingers and lightly apply it to your under eyes. Do not use a heavy amount of Retin-A cream, and avoid the area near your eyelids.

If you plan on layering Retin-A with hyaluronic acid, you can do so. 

The basic rule you should follow is to apply products from thinnest to thickest. With this, you can apply the No products found. serum before applying Tretinoin. In this way, your skin is like a wet sponge that easily absorbs other products allowing them to penetrate the deeper years of the skin.

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3. Protect: Use a moisturizer with SPF

After 20 minutes, you can apply a moisturizer to keep the skin moisturized. Dryness is a common side effect of Tretinoin. Your skin may also be sensitive to sunlight, so you need to protect it from the harsh UV rays. 

We suggest the No products found.. It is a well-formulated moisturizer that will prevent your skin from drying. Plus, it does not have any harsh fragrances or synthetic ingredients.

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For sun protection, you can use the No products found. to protect your skin from UV rays. 

Remember to follow these three simple steps to get the most out of your Retin-A cream. It’s also best to note that it may take several weeks before you see any improvements in your skin. You may also experience slight purging, but it’s nothing you should worry about. However, if it continues for more than 8 to 12 weeks, then it’s best to call your doctor.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Retin-A

Is Retin-A different from Retinol?

Retin-A is Vitamin A while Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A. Both help in reducing acne and wrinkles. The difference lies in your skin goals. If you are looking for an ingredient that will help boost your skin and control the signs of aging, pick Retinol. If you have serious skincare problems such as acne and deep wrinkles, pick Retin-A. 

retin-a for under eyes

What do I need to avoid when using Retin-A?

Avoid using Retin-A on damaged, sunburned, or irritated skin. Also, avoid going out without sunscreen. Retin-A makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so it can make you sunburn more easily. The products won’t also work on a damp face, so make sure to pat dry before applying it to your skin. 

As for storage, keep the cream tightly closed and store it at room temperature. Retin-A gel is also flammable. Hence, do not smoke until the gel has completely dried on your skin. Keep the tube tightly sealed too. 

Lastly, avoid getting this medication in your nose, mouth, or eyes.

How do I deal with the side effects of Retin-A?

Retin-A is a safe medication that has been used by hundreds of consumers. However, like any other topical treatment, it does have some side effects. If you experience any of these side effects, call your doctor to get the right advice on how to treat them. 

Final Thoughts

Retin-A for under eyes is an effective prescription for reducing acne, fine lines, and wrinkles. Despite being used interchangeably, Retin-A and Tretinoin are technically different terms. Retin-A is the brand name while Tretinoin is the generic name. 

If you wish to use Retin-A for your under eyes, always remember to use it as directed by your doctor. Do not overdose on Retin-A because it can lead to blistering, redness, and sunburn. Only apply a thin layer once a night and follow it up with sunscreen in the morning. You can learn more about anti-aging products and treatments on our website.

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