The Top 7 Retinol Eye Creams for 2023

March 11, 2023
The Top 7 Retinol Eye Creams for 2023

Retinol is a scientifically-proven ingredient that effectively reduces signs of aging. Its dual benefits of promoting collagen production and retaining skin moisture lead to a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, making it a highly sought-after ingredient. According to New York City-based dermatologist Jeremy Fenton, MD, retinol can be especially beneficial when applied around the eyes.

As dermatologist Jeremy Fenton, MD, explains, the skin surrounding the eyes is naturally delicate and thin, making it more prone to the effects of aging as collagen and elastin fibers break down over time. Additionally, the frequent movement of the area from smiling, squinting, and rubbing the eyes can exacerbate the formation of wrinkles. Dermatologist Morgan Rabach, MD, suggests that increasing collagen production with retinol can help thicken this fragile skin, resulting in a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes.

How to Choose a Retinol Eye Cream

Retinol Eye Creams

Retinol is known to cause side effects such as redness and peeling, which is why it’s essential to start with a small amount and gradually increase usage. Dermatologists generally recommend using retinol products no more than twice a week, allowing the skin to adjust before increasing the frequency.

In addition to its anti-aging benefits, it’s important to seek out other advantages when choosing a retinol product. To avoid skin irritation, opt for retinol products that also provide moisture and contain ingredients such as niacinamide or B3 that soothe inflammation. This is especially important when using retinol around sensitive areas of the skin. For those applying retinol around the eyes, Fenton suggests selecting a product specifically formulated for the eye area. These products are designed to be extra-hydrating and reduce the risk of irritation.

Our team conducted a trial using several highly-rated retinol eye creams from different price ranges, formulated for various skin types and concerns. Our testers used each product consistently for several weeks and evaluated its texture, feel on the skin, and effectiveness in reducing signs of aging around the eyes. We also consulted with board-certified dermatologists and conducted our own research to compile a comprehensive list of the best retinol eye creams on the market.

Below are the top-rated retinol eye creams that have been clinically proven to effectively reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

1-Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream

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In addition to the skin-boosting effects of retinol, Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream contains a substantial amount of ferulic acid, a potent antioxidant renowned for its ability to shield the skin from pollution. The cream also features caffeine, which helps to reduce puffiness, and a specialized combination of collagen, ellagic acid, and gallic acid that hydrates and moisturizes the skin.

  • Active Ingredients: Ferulic acid, vitamin E, amino acids, retinol
  • Benefits: Anti-aging, moisturizing, plumping
  • Size: 0.5 fluid ounces
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes
  • Value: Decent
  • Packaging: Jar
  • Texture: Sheer

2-Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum

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It is generally recommended to avoid applying eye cream, especially one containing retinol, on the eyelids unless the instructions explicitly permit it. However, this particular formula is an exception, as it can be safely used around the entire eye, including the eyelids, for a comprehensive anti-aging effect. The serum-like texture smoothly penetrates the skin, providing a luxurious feel. In terms of retinol content, this cream contains a retinoid complex that combines a quick-acting version of the ingredient with a time-released one, as well as a booster that enhances the potency of both.

  • Active Ingredients: Retinol Tri-Active Technology, cotton wool grass extract, marine kelp complex
  • Benefits: Reduces signs of aging, hydrates, lifts
  • Usage: Apply a thin layer nightly 
  • Size: 0.5 fluid ounces
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes
  • Value: Okay (on the pricier side)
  • Packaging: Pump bottle 
  • Texture: Sheer and absorbs quickly

3-Olay Eyes Pro Retinol Eye Treatment

One of the best retinol eye creams available at the drugstore, this product is highly praised by New York City board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD, for its very moisturizing formula. It is also known to work quickly, reducing the appearance of even the deepest fine lines and wrinkles in just four weeks.

  • Active Ingredients: Pro-Retinol, vitamin B3, vitamin B5 
  • Benefits: Anti-aging, moisturizing
  • Size: 0.5 fluid ounces
  • Cruelty-Free: No
  • Value: Good
  • Style: Tube
  • Sheerness: Goes on sheer

Related: La Roche-Posay’s Retinol B3 Serum Review: Gentle Glow for Sensitive Skin

4-RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Eye Cream

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This versatile eye cream can effectively tackle various concerns around the eye area such as age spots and wrinkles. According to board-certified dermatologist Fenton, RoC is a reputable brand in producing various retinol creams, and this eye cream is no exception as it contains a mineral complex that enhances the overall appearance of the skin. The formula also works to reduce dark circles and puffiness, making it a great all-in-one solution. Fenton and Rabach both praise its gentleness, making it suitable for even those with sensitive skin.

  • Active Ingredients: Pure ROC Retinol
  • Benefits: Anti-aging, reduced puffiness, vanish dark circles 
  • Dosage: Apply small dots around the area
  • Size: 0.5 fluid ounces
  • Cruelty-Free: No
  • Value: Excellent
  • Style: Tube
  • Sheerness: Goes on sheer

5-Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream

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Another top pick recommended by both Fenton and King is a lightweight retinol eye cream that packs a hydrating punch. In addition to retinol, the formula features hyaluronic acid to attract moisture and reduce fine lines, as well as glycerin to hydrate the delicate eye area. The featherweight texture absorbs quickly and a retinol booster helps deliver noticeable results in as little as one week.

  • Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid? Retinol SA, and Glucose Complex
  • Benefits: Anti-aging, fades dark circles, moisturizing
  • Dosage: Apply a small amount around the eye area.
  • Size: 0.5 fluid ounces
  • Cruelty-Free: No 
  • Value: Excellent
  • Style: Tube
  • Sheerness: Goes on sheer

6-Kate Somerville +Retinol Firming Eye Cream

For those seeking to reduce wrinkles and firm the skin around the eyes, this eye cream is a must-have and a favorite among beauty editors. It features a combination of retinol and a plant-based compound derived from babchi seeds, which has similar smoothing and firming effects. Additionally, a blend of natural oils works to increase skin elasticity, and the cream can be applied to both the under-eye and upper brow areas. The icing on the cake is the applicator, featuring a cooling gold tip that makes it easy to massage the product gently onto the skin.

  • Active Ingredients: Retinol, bio retinol, hyaluronic acid, natural blend of bidens pilosa extract, lime pearl
  • Benefits: Firming, smoothing, radiance-boosting, anti-aging, moisturizing
  • Dosage: Pat around eyes AM and PM.
  • Size: 0.5 fluid ounces
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes
  • Value: Okay
  • Style: Tube
  • Sheerness: Goes on sheer

7-La Roche-Posay Redermic R Retinol Eye Cream

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Dr. King assures that even if you have sensitive skin, you can still use a retinol eye cream with a little caution. This fragrance-free and paraben-free option is allergy-tested and a great choice, according to her. It contains a blend of retinol and retinyl linoleate, both vitamin A derivatives, in a concentration that’s effective yet gentle on the skin. The addition of caffeine in the formula can also assist in reducing dark circles.

  • Active Ingredients: Caffeine, glycerin, pure retinol, La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water, and dimethicone
  • Usefulness: Anti-aging, lifting, fades dark circles
  • Size: 0.5 ounces
  • Cruelty-Free: No
  • Value: Good
  • Style: Tube
  • Sheerness: Goes on sheer

The Experts

  • Jeremy Fenton, MD is a clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Hospital and a board-certified dermatologist who practices both cosmetic and general dermatology at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City.
  • Morgan Rabach, MD is a board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of LM Medical in New York City. She is a media expert in the field of dermatology and an Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
  • Dr. Hadley King is a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist who specializes in medical and cosmetic dermatology. She is also a Clinical Instructor of Dermatology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Retinol Eye Creams

  • Type of Retinoid: Not all retinoids are created equal. Retinol is the most common over-the-counter option, but there are also alternatives such as retinyl palmitate and retinaldehyde, which have comparable effects but are less potent. If you have sensitive skin or are new to using retinoids, it may be wise to seek out these alternatives.
  • Fragrance-Free: To avoid further irritation, it is advisable to avoid using any other potentially irritating ingredients such as fragrance, in conjunction with retinoids which can already be irritating.

In summary, the Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream is our top pick due to its quick absorption and antioxidant properties that protect the skin from pollution. For those on a budget, the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream is a great option as it contains hyaluronic acid to plump and moisturize the delicate skin around the eyes.

Photo: Pexels/ KoolShooters

All products featured on Body Care Art are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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Welcome to Body Care Art Blog! My name is Liza Mills, and I’m a freelance writer obsessed with makeup. Passionate about writing and beauty, I swap my lipstick for my laptop to find you the best makeup, hair and skincare trends, and pro tips…

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