You might be wondering: Why wouldn’t you want retinoids to penetrate the under eyes? The eye area is typically the first to show signs of aging, after all, and revealing smooth, younger-looking skin underneath is key. We wholeheartedly agree, although retinoids are sometimes a bit too intense for the sensitive area, which can lead to irritation. We repeat: The skin is thin, and so you should treat it as gently as possible.
Take it from board-certified dermatologist Shereene Idriss, M.D. In a recent YouTube video with Harper’s Bazaar, she applies Vaseline on that super-thin skin before dotting on the retinoid (she uses prescription-strength Tretinoin). It’s a classic hack, one that doesn’t require any new or fancy products—just a little reorganization of your skin care order. Although, “If you’re prone to milia, I would be careful with the vaseline,” Idriss adds. We’d also recommend the Skin Food Lip Butter from Weleda if you’re looking for a clean alternative with a similar, jelly-like consistency. Or, you can simply apply your favorite eye cream or moisturizer pre-retinoid—all you need is a physical barrier of some sort to dilute the potent active.
And just in case you’re worried the product won’t do its job: “It’s not going to completely block it,” Idriss reassures in the video. “It’s going to help at least with the fine lines around the eye.”