The 14 Best Retinol Products You Can Buy Right Now
Take a trip down the beauty aisle at your local pharmacy and you'll find that every cream, serum, and cleanser claims to be the product that will radicalize your at-home skin care regimen. It's a tall order for most, but when it comes to retinol, experts say it's actually quite true.
"[Retinols] are among the most effective therapeutic topical products that really work, as opposed to lotions and potions that almost work," says Gerald Imber, M.D., a plastic surgeon and the director of New York-based Youth Corridor Clinic.
Retinol is a vitamin A derivative, which helps to promote cell turnover and exfoliation. "Exfoliation and cell turnover are necessary to reverse and improve fine lines and wrinkles," Dr. Imber says. "They also work for relieving clogged pores and acne."
It's reason enough to give the ingredient the green light, but Dr. Imber says there's one thing you'll want to watch for when choosing a retinol product: it can be irritating to the skin at first, which is why you'll want a little help when choosing the best retinol products for your needs.
Click through for the best over the counter retinol creams and serums to try for acne and anti-aging.
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Kate Somerville RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream
This two-in-one night cream diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and evens out skin texture and tone. Plus, this formula packs its retinol in a lipid shell, meaning it minimizes irritation and dryness that can sometimes occur as a result of retinol.
OLAY Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Serum
Relying on a blend of vitamin B3 and retinol, this night serum works to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, and enlarged pores — and keeps skin hydrated for 24 hours (hence the name). One reviewer, who said she's been using Olay products since she was 14, noted that the product is "like fine wine." She added: "Olay has tapped into the Fountain of Youth with this new line."
Verso Night Cream
If you're down with the latest trends in retinol, then you may have heard of retinyl retinoate, an alternative to retinol that is said to boast the same benefits as its older sister (like increased collagen production and a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles) minus the skin irritation. Verso's rich night cream also contains antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, as well as hyaluronlic acid and jojoba.
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Face Moisturizer
Dr. Brandt Skincare 24/7 Retinol Eye Cream
If you're looking for a brightening and anti-aging eye cream you can use morning or night, this one might just be your new go-to. It contains light-reflecting particles to instantly soften the look of dark circles and keeps fine lines around the eyes in check with time-released retinol.
SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 Maximum Strength Refining Night Cream
If you've been using a product with .5 percent retinol and looking for a little more oomph, consider this night cream from SkinCeuticals, which contains 1 percent retinol — plus ultra-soothing chamomile, frankincense, and shea butter. "The difference is amazing," one reviewer, who has used the product for over a year, wrote. "At 62, my skin looks better than three years ago. My sun damage is gone."
Naturopathica Argan & Retinol Wrinkle Repair Night Cream
If you're looking to target fine lines and wrinkles but are prone to irritation, try this retinol night cream from Naturopathica. It uses encapsulated retinol plus argan plant stem cells and castor oil for a natural dose of moisture.
Jordan Samuel Skin Retinol Treatment Oil
Thanks to the addition of soothing and hydrating marula oil, this retinol treatment oil works as a moisturizer, too — so you can apply as the last step in your skincare routine and call it a night.
Skinbetter AlphaRet Overnight Cream
If you have sensitive or dry skin but want to start using a retinol cream, then this formula may be a match made in heaven for you. Not only does it address wrinkles, dullness, and dark spots, but it also serves as a skin-soothing moisturizer thanks to the addition of lactic acid, an exfoliant and humectant.
The Ordinary Advanced Retinol 2%
It's hard to beat The Ordinary when it comes to an affordable and non-irritating retinol serum. The formula was created without parabens, sulfates, or phthalates and uses two forms of retinol known to cause less redness and irritation.
LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream Moisturizer
This budget-friendly cream is Amazon's "most wished for" moisturizer, which really just means one thing — you need to get your hands on it STAT. And with no oily residue and the ability to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, there's really no reason not to place an order.
Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream
Cult-favorite millennial brand Drunk Elephant finally released a retinol cream and it was worth the wait. Along with gentle 1 percent vegan retinol it contains ingredients like passionfruit, apricot, marula and jojoba oils to nourish and moisturize skin while fighting fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage.
RoC Retinol Correxion Anti-Aging Eye Cream Treatment
A roundup of retinol products really wouldn't be complete without this drugstore staple. The RoC formula targets fine lines and wrinkles in the eye area and helps improve the appearance of dark circles and undereye puffiness in as little as four weeks.
La Roche-Posay Redermic R Anti-Aging Retinol Serum
If you like the lightweight feel of a serum, then this retinol treatment might be the pick for you. The topical treatment also includes lipo-hydroxy acid which acts as an exfoliator and visibly reduces wrinkles, fine lines, and crow’s feet. One reviewer said she has noticed overall smoother skin and fewer breakouts after using the product for a month.
She added: “I've had a record number of mornings in the last month where I've looked in the mirror and thought, ‘Yeah, I look good today.’"