Retin-A for Eyes

If you've got saggy, droopy eyes like I used to have, you probably hate them. They make us look tired and old. Have you thought about using retin-a (tretinoin topical) on eyelids and surrounding skin? I've been using retina on my eyes for about two years, and I think they're better in two ways: first, they don't sag like they used to, although I also believe my diet helps with that; second, I think the skin is firmer, although I'm two years older.

Here are my eyes before I started using Retin-A. The lighting isn't the best, but you get the idea:
My eyelids were saggy and droopy. The relaxed skin was partially from aging, but I also consumed too much sugar, which contributed to inflammation. That inflammation is fluid behind the lids, which pushes the skin outward instead of allowing it to sink inward. I changed my diet dramatically two years ago and started using retin a all over my face at least 3x/week.

Here are a couple pictures I've taken over the last year; the lighting is different, but you can see the change:

I am very conservative with the retin-a, although I use the strongest formula. After I moisturize with olive oil, I dab the least amount possible, really what's left over on my fingers after applying a pea-size amount to my face.

If you prefer to use OTC retinoids rather than visiting a doctor for a prescription, many are now as effective as prescription strength. They’re available in prescription strength, but studies show that  OTC products produce results as good as prescriptions!

The first month was weird: I felt like my eyes did look worse: sort of dry and older crepe-paper like, but I stuck with it because I've read that it takes the eyes a long time to exfoliate this way. When I started noticing some flakes around my eyes, I used oil and massaged the skin gently; this helps a lot, but I don't do it regularly.

If you're starting to dislike what you see around your eyes, consider retin-a. It's just a chemical peel for the eyelids and surrounding skin.


  1. Gabi! Hi...
    Agree. I believe less is more, s l o w l y, wins the race. One might tend to GLOB it on - repeatedly? resulting in dryness. I have super dry skin, and use it quite often. No problems here so far.
    Getting ready to do my TCA - just can't find a ratio to make a decent 21% with 100 tca. I make it just too weak to do anything.
    Love your blogs --
    Barb S.

    1. Hi Barb! I think with the mixture for TCA, try mixing half distilled water, half TCA to take it to 50%, then mix half and half again, which will take it to 25%. This should be very effective unless the pH is wrong. Where are you getting your 100%? I'm just wondering if it's truly 100% or if the pH is making it ineffective.

  2. I'm a bit confused. Did you use Retin-A ON your eyelids? If so, what percentage, how often, and did you apply it alone?

    Also, did you experience any side effects (burning, itching, etc.)?

    1. Yes, I use Retin-A on my lids and around my eyes. I use the .01 or 1% cream, which is the strongest. I apply to my whole face about 3x/week, and I use what's left over on my fingers to dab around my eyes. It's not much, but I don't need much.
      I always cleanse first to remove sunscreen, and then apply regular moisturizer; after about an hour or two, I apply the retin-a just before bed.
      I did have dry, crinkly skin after the first month, but no redness or itching, but I think that has a lot to do with how much I use.
      I still get flakies all the time if I don't moisturize and exfoliate properly though.

  3. An eye lid makeover is what my wife has been talking to me about doing. She's become somewhat embarrassed of her eyes that look all droopy. Together we're trying to find out if an eye lid surgery would be a good option for her. If so, then we'll probably go for it, and if not, then we might as well go the natural way of fixing the eyelids.

  4. How do you exfoliate the eye area and face? Also do you think .5 will have the same effect on eyes?