The 21 Best Retinol Eye Creams for Serious Results

Crow's feet and dark circles are shaking.

The 21 Best Retinol Eye Creams for Serious Results
(Image credit: Getty)

To understand the benefits of a retinol eye cream, one must first grasp what a retinol is. Definition, please: Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that spurs cell turnover and enhances collagen production, which ultimately yields healthier and younger-looking skin. Dermatologists consider retinols and their various forms—retinyl palmitate and retinaldehyde—among the most efficient and safe options in the entire skincare universe. (That, and daily SPF to prevent sun damage, especially since retinol makes your skin more vulnerable to UV rays.)

Over the counter, the highest concentrations of retinol available top out at one percent. That's because formulas with higher percentages of retinol can cause skin irritation and peeling, and may require the oversight of a doctor. Which doesn't mean you can't get a good retinol cream without a prescription—just that it'll take a little longer to see results.

Is retinol safe to apply to the sensitive eye area? 

For many years, retinols weren't present in eye products at all—the strength of the formula was considered too damaging for the very delicate skin around the eyes. Today, we're lucky enough that science has gifted us a wide range of safe and effective retinol eye creams.

So which retinol eye cream should you use?

When considering the retinol eye cream that might be right for you, think about the other benefits you're hoping to achieve. Some contain powerful moisturizers that can plump fine lines and minimize the appearance of wrinkles. Others contain brightening ingredients that can address dullness or dark circles. Whatever result you're after, retinol eye creams are an essential part of a well-rounded skincare regimen. These are our favorites.

Hannah Morrill is a writer and editor based in Portland, Maine. She’s an avid reader, an indifferent face-washer and a sunscreen/retinol evangelist.