What are the best retinol products?
The answer to this question may just change your skin for good. You see, retinol (and any other form of vitamin A, for that matter) is the only thing that can REALLY reduce wrinkles.
Here’s how it performs its magic:
- It has antioxidant properties that destroy the free radicals that cause premature wrinkles and dark spots.
- It accelerates cellular turnover (i.e. the skin’s natural exfoliating process), reducing the appearance of dark spots and wrinkles.
- It boosts the production of collagen, the protein that keeps skin firm.
Retinol fights wrinkles, fades away dark spots and even treats acne. But it’s finicky AF. If you don’t formulate it properly, use too much or put it in the wrong packaging, it can spoil or irritate your skin.
How do you know which retinol creams and serums are worth the splurge? Here are the best retinol products for every skin type and need:
If you’re new to retinol, you may experience redness, peeling, dryness and irritation. Before picking a retinol product, check out this guide to find out how to counteract these side effects so you can get all the benefits without any of the pain.
Best Retinol Products For New Users: 0.01%-0.03%
Best For Oily Skin: Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum With Retinol ($34.00)
Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum With Retinol literally contains every antioxidant you can think of, plus a few drops of retinol (0.03%) to fight wrinkles and prevent premature aging. The weightless formula dries matte and is perfect for oily skin. If you’re still young and just want to dab your toes into retinol, this is the perfect way to get started for your skin type.
Best For Dry Skin: Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol ($34.00)
Like the oily skin version, Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentate Serum With Retinol contains every antioxidant under the sun plus the littlest drop of retinol (0.01%) to fight wrinkles. Don’t worry, even 0.01% is enough to make a difference. What makes it suitable for dry skin is the addition of plant oils to moisturise skin and soothing ingredients to reduce the risk of irritations. If you’re still young and just want to dab your toes into retinol, this is the perfect way to get started for your skin type.
Best Retinol Products For Intermediate Users: 0.04%-0.4%
Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum ($42.00/£39.00)
Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum has its fair share of antioxidants and soothing ingredients to fight free radicals and inflammation, two of the main causes of premature aging. But the star of the show is retinol at 0.1% concentration. The lightweight texture sinks in quickly and is suitable for all skin types.
Skinceuticals Retinol 0.3 Night Cream ($62.00/£55.00)
Ok, Skinceuticals Retinol 0.3 Night Cream has a little alcohol, but if you follow this up with a facial oil to counteract the drying effects, you’re gonna be fine. It has enough retinol to up your antiaging game, fight deeper wrinkles and fade away dark spots faster. There’s not much else to say about it. It’s a simple formula that works.
Available at: Dermstore
La Roche Posay Redermic Anti-Aging Dermatological Treatment
La Roche Posay Redermic Anti-Aging Dermatological Treatment contains two forms of vitamin A: 0.1% retinol + retinyl linoleate, a gentler (and less effective) derivative of vitamin A. If you’re looking for a basic formula you can easily incorporate into your skincare routine without conflicts with other products, this is it. In true French skincare style, it’s as gentle as its effective.
Best Retinol Products For Pro Users: 0.5-1%+
Best for versatility: Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol Booster ($52.00/£47.00)
Retinol may be the star of the show, but there’s a lot more to Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol Booster than retinol alone. This booster is also loaded with antioxidants to prevent wrinkles, soothing ingredients to reduce the risk of irritations from retinol and the odd peptide to fight premature aging. The texture’s so lightweight, you can use it alone or mix it with your fave moisturizers and serums.
Best On A Budget: The Ordinary Retinol 1% In Squalane (£5.80)
If you’re wondering how The Ordinary Retinol 1% In Squalane can be so cheap, it’s because a) the company doesn’t waste money on advertising and b) retinol plays solo here. It’s the only antiaging active in the formula. Squalane is there just to moisturize skin and counteract the drying effects of retinol so you don’t get peeling or redness. If you’re on a budget, it’s a great option to consider.
Best For Antiaging: Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM ($65.00/£62.50)
Ok, all these options are great anti-aging. What gives Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM the extra edge is the higher concentration of retinol: 1.5%. That makes it more effective but… doesn’t it make it more irritating too? In theory, yes. In practice, PTR uses time-released technology, a fancy way of saying the serum releases retinol into your skin over a period of several hours instead than all at once. Translation: it’s gentler on your skin. Plus, it has vitamins C & E to fight wrinkles and squalane to moisturize.
What do you think are the best retinol products? Share your picks in the comments below.
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