No matter your age, retinol is a skincare must-have for just about everyone (second only to SPF!) This skincare superhero is not just good for anti-aging, it can tackle pretty much every skin issue you’ve got, including acne, fine lines & wrinkles, dark spots, rough or sun damaged skin. That is quite impressive for a single active ingredient!
You’ve probably heard it all about the wonders of retinol but still stay away from the stuff to avoid stressing out your skin with common side effects, such as redness or flaking? It’s true; you might not completely avoid irritation when using retinol but you can definitely minimize it with a few simple tips.
Skincare tips for using Retinol
If you are a retinol newbie, start with a lower concentration formula twice a week 2-3 days apart, and then increase the frequency until you’re comfortable with everyday use. Also, using a moisturizer after applying a retinol product reduces any irritation or redness (Even though I have been using retinol for a few years now, I always moisturize afterwards to keep my dry skin happy!) Those with sensitive skin can also reap the rewards of retinol, as long as they ease into it slowly.
Most importantly, always use your retinol cream/serum at night due to the increase in skin sensitivity to the sun. Make sure you continue to be very cautious and diligent about applying SPF of at least 30 or more during the day to keep your skin protected from damaging UV rays. And retinol is not considered safe for pregnant women or women who are breast-feeding so you shouldn’t use retinol if you are planning to get pregnant.
Ready to give it a try? Check out these over-the-counter retinol creams & serums that pack a powerful punch against all your skin woes and take off years your face! And for some of us, they’re even better than the prescription-strength options, which can be a little too much for skin to tolerate!
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Hydra-Pure Firming Serum ($95) – Not a fan of rich night creams but still want to reap the benefits of retinol? Try this splurge worthy, multitasking serum infused with a cocktail of retinol and 20 antioxidants that supports natural collagen production and noticeably improves fine lines & acne scars for a youthful-looking complexion. It’s gentle enough for all skin types and ages. Vegan and Cruelty free.
Lancer Skincare ‘Advanced C’ Radiance Cream ($75) – Sun damage and wrinkles be gone! Loaded with retinol and Viatmin C, this luxurious anti-aging retinol cream stimulates collagen production and combats uneven skin tone while reducing pore size while you sleep to boost skin’s radiance. It gives you the results of a high potency retinol but without the irritation. You’ll be amazed at how much younger and radiant your skin will look and feel!
SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 Maximum Strength Refining Night Cream ($70) – Perfect for problematic and photo-damaged skin, this is a highly concentrated refining night treatment that contains 1% pure retinol, the highest concentration currently available. Enhanced with the latest stabilization and delivery technologies, this adavanced formula is a great pick for those who already use retinol in their routine and are looking to take their wrinkle and sun damage busting fight to the next level.
Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment ($55) – Combined with potent antioxidants, this 1% retinol treatment works its magic without irritating sensitive skin. It contains Licorice, oat extract and other anti-irritants that help to minimize the irritation and redness some people may get from products with high amounts of retinol. Its light, silky texture absorbs quickly and goes to work immediately to refine pore size, reduce wrinkles, fine lines, brown spots and even breakouts.
Mad Hippie Vitamin A serum ($32.99) – Perfect for sensitive skin types, this natural serum features a new gentle form of vitamin A, retinyl retinoate that is 2x more bioavailable than retinol while also being significantly more stable. It activates collagen production while gently exfoliating by enhancing cellular turnover, reducing wrinkles and discoloration. The formula also includes 10 more actives including Phytoceramides, coffee berry, coconut oil, oat beta glucan and hyaluronic acid that help replenish the skin’s natural lipid barrier for plumped up, hydrated skin.
Skin Medica Age Defense Retinol Complex 0.5 ($75) – Along with anti-aging superstar retinol (the “0.5” in the name refers to the strength of retinol in the formula), it also includes an array of potent antioxidants and other beneficial skincare ingredients to fight wrinkles & blemishes and diminish age spots while you snooze! SkinMedica also offers Retinol Complex 1.0 when you want to step up your retinol game after your skin adjusts to the lower retinol concentration levels.
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream, Night ($14.99) – One of the best drugstore options on the market, this affordable drugstore favorite is a night cream and retinol combined into one product. It also boasts a combination of Pro-Vitamin B5, Vitamin E and special moisturizers so the retinol won’t be as drying to skin as it’s absorbed, making it a must for anyone with dry skin who wants to dabble in the retinol. Lightweight and non-greasy, the oil free formula absorbs quickly into skin and won’t clog pores.
Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM ($65) – Infused with a potent concentration of microencapsulated Retinol at 1.5% plus Vitamins C & E, this lightweight serum tackles even deep-set wrinkles while being gentle on skin. Moisturizing formula minimizes redness and irritation. Be sure to follow the usage instructions and adjust frequency of application, depending on how your skin responds. Oil-free and fragrance-free.
Do you already use retinol in your skincare routine? Any favorite retinol products? Please share with us in the comments!