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.