"But, I tried retinols years ago and my skin and eyes felt irritated, even with retinol eye cream, even using every other day. Are there gentle ones anyone knows about? Hopefully the formulas have improved since I tried them." - diaspora
I'm having the same experience lately, even with the supposedly gentle Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream(the original one, not the Ageless Intensives one that's newer) that dermatologists recommend as a beginner OTC product before moving up to anything stronger. Even with applying Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream over it doesn't seem to help all that much and that cream is rich! I've tried just using the retinol every other night - same deal. I'm alternating with CeraVe PM - it has niacinamides in it which are great for more sensitive skin types and have real skin benefits - google "niacinamides for skin" and you'll get plenty of info. I might just be shifting over to just the CeraVe PM at night and dropping the retinol. But first I'm going to go a month without it and just use the CeraVe PM to see what that does, and try re-introducing the Neutrogena. If those dry under-eye patches come back, then I'll have my answer. I'm a lot older than the original poster though so that might have something to do with it. Skin does tend to get more sensitive as we get older, because it is starting to thin out, thus disturbing our skin's barrier function. The CeraVe line does address this and in fact is recommended by dermatologists for this very reason. It's very compatible with Rx topicals too, like Retin-A, etc. as it helps rebuild skin barrier. Hope this helps!