How Do I Fix the Puffiness & Fine Lines Caused by Using Retinol 1% Under the Eyes?

Recently, I used an OTC retinol product, RoC 1%, to improve the look of my skin (blotchy). Applied 3x over 1 wk on face. Skin became shiny, like it was scarring/very dry, & very sensitive. Applied under eyes, which became puffy. Almost 2 weeks w/o using product, but under eyes still puffy & now w/fine lines, which I never had. Anything applied under my eyes causes burning. Background: early 30s, no wrinkles, blonde/blue eyes, athletic, use Cetaphil cleanser, face reddens easily-possibly rosacea.

Doctor Answers 5

Puffiness and lines

One of the big confusion I see from patients is that they try to fix blotchy spots with Retinol.

Retinol is used for improving on the Collagen, and thus increase skin elasticity.

Hydroquinone, or Kojic acid are two of the products used for treating blotchiness.

Dr Siegel

Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 113 reviews

Skin reaction to retinol

It sounds like you had either an irritant or allergic contact dermatitis to the retinol. perhaps you need to moisturize more when you use it. You may benefit from topical steroids. Talk to your dermatologist about this.

Dina D. Strachan, MD
New York Dermatologist
3.3 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Irritation from creams can cause lines

Sometimes patients can develop a contact dermatitis from  creams they apply  to the skin.  This is an allergy or a direct irritation due to the product.  Initially the skin can become red, itchy, and puffy.  After you remove the offending agent, the skin should improve on its own.  Some skin areas, such as under the eyes, are extremely sensitive and at particular risk.  Sometimes topical anti-inflammatory medications suchs as cortisones may be necessary.  You can try an over the counter 1% hydrocortisone ointment for a few days to help improve the irritation as well.  You can also try over the counter white petrolatum ointment to keep the area moist.  If it s not improving, you may want to see your Dermatologist for an opinion.

Joshua Zeichner, MD
Manhattan Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Lower lid puffiness

It is difficult to discuss what the problem is and what the solution(s) are without seeing a photo.  Perhaps the puffiness you are describing is fat, which is not related to the outside skin or the topical treatment you have received.  You should consult an oculoplastic surgeon.

Dr Taban

Mehryar (Ray) Taban, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

Antihistamines may be needed to reduce puffiness after chemical peels or retinol

Antihistamines may be needed to reduce puffiness after chemical peels or retinol. Sometimes topical steroids or emollients may also be required to help heal eyelid swelling.

Edward Lack, MD
Chicago Dermatologist
2.8 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.