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We all want to look and feel younger, but at what cost? Each day, we get questions about the use of retinol creams and serum, and we wanted to make sure you understand exactly what these ingredients have the potential to do.
After reading this, you’ll go out and make the best decision for you based on what you know, but we do hope you take the time to consider what these ingredients may be doing to your eyes and eyelids.
The tiny meibomian glands housed in your eyelids are the powerhouses of oil production, and they’re essential to your eye health and to the comfort of your eyes. Should these glands cease to produce oil, or produce oil of low quality and quantity, you may begin to notice dry, irritated eyes and other symptoms like foreign body sensation, watery eyes, and red eyes. This is because the oil produced from these glands provides not only lubrication for your eyes (oil is an essential layer of a healthy tear film), but it also maintains a smooth ocular surface and crisp vision.
If the meibomian glands begin to atrophy, they stop producing the necessary oil for the tear film and you may begin to notice symptoms of dryness. Dysfunction of the oil-producing glands in your eyelids is the number one cause of dry, irritated eyes, and this condition is only growing in prevalence. Defective glands contribute to evaporative eye dryness because without oil, the tear film evaporates much more quickly between blinks.
So, what do retinol derivatives have to do with your meibomian glands? It is well known and well documented that these cause meibomian gland atrophy. Thus far, we are not able to regenerate meibomian glands, so this issue is irreversible. This may occur while taking the medication, but it can also occur months or years down the road. According to Dr. Laura Periman, we should be recommending that our patients stop using retinols and retinyl derivatives altogether.
Even in creams and serum, retinoids can cause major damage to the glands. When you apply a product containing retinol to your face at night, even if you’re avoiding the area around your eyes, it’s very possible that the product is migrating to your eyelids while you sleep.
I know this can be difficult for many people to accept, because retinoids are known anti-agers for the skin. They work well to prevent wrinkles and smooth out the lines you already have. They exfoliate, brighten skin, and can even prevent breakouts by regulating oily skin. However, it’s highly recommended that you stop using retinoids altogether due to the destruction they can cause for the meibomian glands.
Aside from retinol in anti-aging lotions and potions, we are often asked about vitamin A derivatives in eye drops. Thus far, there is no evidence that the vitamin A derivative used in eye drops, retinyl palmitate, is harmful. In fact, it’s been shown to be helpful for dry, irritated eyes in some studies.
Vitamin A derivatives are not approved to be used in eye drops in the US, but you will find them in products from other countries. Despite the evidence that they may be beneficial, we’re still hesitant to recommend them to everyone.
We know it can be incredibly tough to find effective products that are safe for your eyes and eyelids. Trying to find these products can be challenging because so many of the mainstream products aren’t great options.
The Heyedrate Eye Cream and Face Moisturizer is free of harmful preservatives (like phenoxyethanol found in so many moisturizers and eye creams), is non-comedogenic and is non-irritating.
It contains no toxic preservatives, and it’s thoughtfully formulated for those with irritated eyes and inflammatory skin conditions.
We recommend using this cream as your daily moisturizer after washing your face and following your eyelid cleansing routine (ours is below).
It’s thin enough for use throughout the day but thick enough to provide your skin with optimal moisture so it can heal.
Here’s my routine you can follow:
Arguably one of the best anti-agers is prevention of aging in the first place. This is where sunscreen comes in, but most mainstream sunscreens are loaded with chemicals and preservatives you don’t want near your eyes. Look for sunscreen that’s free from parabens, phenoxyethanol, and retinoids. You also want to make sure your sunscreen is filtering out both UVA light (which ages you) and UVB light (which has the potential to burn your skin).
Although it’s been tough to find a great sunscreen, especially for the face, we’ve been happy with the SPF 30 sunscreen by Mad Hippie and Trader Joe’s Mineral Sunscreen Stick. For our bodies, we like most of the options from Thinkbaby. None of these are perfect, but they’ll work well to protect your skin from the aging effects of ultraviolet light.
No one loves getting older, but there are things you can do to prevent aging without subjecting your meibomian glands to the toxic effects of retinoids. As we’ve already recommended, stay away!
AMAZON AFFILIATE INFORMATION
We, Eye Love, LLC, are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. MediViz and Heyedrate branded products are made by our company, Eye Love, but we truly believe that our products are the best on the market! It is important to know that our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.