It comes as no surprise that a number of skin-benefiting natural substances come in the form of vitamins. Vitamin C and E are known as antioxidants that benefit the skin and are common ingredients in a number of anti-aging creams and skincare products. Retinol is another ingredient that a lot of beauty editors and skincare enthusiasts have hailed as a miracle worker when it comes to skin issues such as wrinkles, dryness, roughness, and even acne. But what is retinol and why should you care about it?
What is Retinol?
Retinol is Vitamin A1, which is commonly found in fish, dairy products, and meat. According to Dermalogica, it is a highly-reactive molecule that easily breaks down when exposed to air or sunlight, making it somewhat of a sensitive ingredient. Marie Claire reports that there are at least four benefits of using retinol in skincare and it all stems from its ability to speed up skin cell turnover, hasting up the process of producing new skin. As we age, our cell regeneration slows down, causing us to look older, dryer, and more wrinkled. Retinol battles that by boosting the skin cell regeneration process and therefore causing these four benefits.
A. Retinol prevents wrinkles.
Speeding up the production of new skin gives wrinkles no time to form, so skin stays smooth and younger looking.
B. It brightens up the skin.
Because retinol works on a cellular level, cells produce better, brighter skin from the very beginning.
C. It prevents acne.
Retinol also manages to address oily skin issues, preventing clogged pores and minimizing the occurrence of blackheads and pimples.
D. It clears up dark spots.
Because retinol acts upon the cells and renews the skin from deep within, it is able to fade dark spots, acne marks, and hyperpigmentation when used over time.
The Most Highly Recommended Retinol Skincare Products
1. Avene Retrinal 0.1 Intensive Cream
Harnessing the power of retinol, this concentrated cream helps restore skin to a more youthful appearance. It effectively prevents and reduces the visible signs of aging without irritating the skin. It provides powerful antioxidant protection thanks to Retinaldehyde, a non-irritating form of Retinoic acid, and Pre-Tocopheryl, a photostable form of vitamin E. Together, they work on the skin to moisturize and provide antioxidant protection against free radicals. The result? Younger-looking, firmer skin that glows. Shop at Dermstore.
“After the first day’s use of this product, I noticed my face was smooth and I didn’t need moisturizer. After 1-2 weeks, I noticed a dramatic difference in the my skin texture. My skin was soft, smooth, a lot of my age spots and wrinkles virtually disappeared or began to fade. After approximately 3+ weeks, my complexion was brighter. The product leaves you with a healthy glow and your skin texture appears tighter, more firm. I continue to use this product nightly as part of my routine. I would definitely recommend it!”
2. Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream
If you want a cleaner option, go for Drunk Elephant’s A-Passioni Retinol Cream, which contains 1% vegan retinol and superfood-rich ingredients that work on the skin to diminish dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. It features an exclusive Triple Peptide Blend that visibly firms and strengthens skin, as well as Vitamin F that improves the texture and suppleness of skin. Shop at Sephora.
“Within 2 days my skin was peeling like a snake, in the best way possible. This has absolutely 100% changed my skin.After the first week, I started to notice my skin after washing my face at night was so TIGHT and shiny smooth, and areas where I had depressions from acne scars were literally plumping up before my eyes. It’s now been roughly a month and I’m starting to see my pores look less pronounced and my skin texture is non-existent.”
3. The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane
If you’re just new to the retinol game and want to try it without punching a hole in your pocket, go for The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane. The brand has earned praise with its affordable yet effective line of skincare products, which include this Retinol 1% in Squalane in a new formula. This highly-stable, water-free solution causes less irritation, redness, and peeling. It contains squalene and jojoba seed oil for moisturization. Shop at Azalea.
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4. Paula’s Choice Resist 1% Retinol Booster
Those who already have a skincare regimen will find integrating retinol into their routine super easy with Paula’s Choice Resist 1% Retinol Booster. This booster comes in a concentrated, pure form of retinol in a slow release delivery system that has a light fluid lotion texture that isn’t heavy on the skin. It features a superior assortment of potent antioxidants that help improve the skin over time. All you need to do is apply 2 to 3 drops on the face and gently massage in before applying moisturizer with SPF. Shop at Dermstore.
5. Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Cream
The moisture-rich cream works hard to reduce the appearance of fine lines, crow’s feet, and forehead and cheek wrinkles. This fragrance-free moisturizer contains the highest concentration of Accelerated Retinol SA that is quickly absorbed by the skin to effectively smoothen the skin and reveal younger-looking skin in just 7 days. It also contains Glucose Complex that boosts skin activity and hyaluronic acid that plumps and hydrates the skin. Shop at Target.
6. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare – Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream
While most retinol skincare products are geared towards the face area, this product is specifically made for the skin around the eyes. This nourishing eye cream contains ferulic acid and retinol, as well as ECG Complex, a proprietary blend of ellagic acid, collagen, adn gallic acid that together reduces the effects of photoaging. This cream moisturizes the delicate skin around the eyes to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, crow’s feet, and dark circles. Shop at Sephora.
“I love this eye cream. It’s creamy and rich, yet absorbs quickly. It feels dewy, like it’s plumping up my eye tissue on contact. It doesn’t make my eyes water, or interfere with any of my eye makeup. I’m a fan and would highly recommend this.”
7. Pestle & Mortar Superstar Night Oil
Experience not one but two types of retinol with Pestle & Mortar’s night oil that will make you feel like a superstar upon waking. It features a base of cold pressed grape seed oil, which together with two types of retinol, reduces pore size, tightens the skin, and improves elasticity. It contains jojoba seed oil, avocado oil, pomegranate seed oil, black currant oil, carrot seed oil, calendula flower oil, cranberry seed oil, and black cumin seed oil for supreme moisturization. Free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and fragrance. Shop at Bloomingdale’s.
8. Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum
Clean beauty is the best kind of beauty. Biossance offers a clean skincare product in the form of this Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum that features bakuchiol, a plant-derived retinol alternative that offers retinol-like results, without the skin irritation. Say goodbye to fine lines and wrinkles as you notice a more even skin tone as time passes. Shop at Sephora.
This is surprisingly amazing! I did some research in the ingredient and looks like it does perform similarly to regular retinol. No sensitivity, my skin looks hydrated and luminous! I’m very impressed and will continue to use this. Feels so much better than regular retinol creams!
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9. SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3 Refining Night Treatment
Designed for night use, this cream harnesses the power of 0.3% pure retinol to help stimulate cell regeneration and collagen production while you sleep. It is formulated with soothing Bisabolol to minimize irritation, later revealing smoother, brighter, and more even-toned skin. Shop at Strawberrynet.
10. Ole Henriksen Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum
Specifically designed for day use, this serum contains the natural retinol alternative bakuchiol that provides the same fine line-diminishing results of retinol without the burn or irritation. It contains powerful AHAs that fights the signs of aging and hibiscus flower extract to even skin tone. It also contains lavender tint to brighten the skin and edelweiss stem cell, from the resilient flower that thrives in harsh conditions to give your skin that same resilient power. Shop at Sephora.
Consider this your introduction to the world of retinol skincare products. Adjust your skincare routine accordingly and make sure to consult your dermatologist for the best advice for your type of skin. For more expert skincare advice and insights, make sure to visit the links below.
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