If there’s an ingredient I wish I had started using earlier is retinol. It makes such a difference. Retinol boosts collagen production and accelerates cellular turnover, which help improve the texture of the skin. Since I started using it a few years ago, my skin has become smoother and softer to the touch, and my fine lines are less noticeable.
Finding a good retinol treatment that your skin likes and doesn’t break the bank, though, can often seem impossibly difficult. To help you out, I scoured beauty aisles to find the best retinol products for every need and budget:
Struggling to find a good retinol serum? Here are the best one for every need and budget.Click To Tweet
Best for anti-aging: Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment ($55.00)
This treatment contains 1% retinol, which is one of the highest concentrations used in OTC counter. Because the treatment is so strong (retinol is so powerful, even a small amount like 1% is a lot), it’s very effective at treating the premature signs of aging, like wrinkles and sun spots, and busts acne, too. But, it can be irritating. That’s why Paula has added plenty of ant-irritants and antioxidants to it, and still recommends you use it only 3 times a week when you first get it. Available at Paula’s Choice.
Best for dry skin: Skinmedica Retinol Complex 0.5 ($75.00)
What makes this retinol perfect for dry skin is the lower, but still highly effective, dose of retinol (0.5%) and the addition of anti-irritants and skin-repairing ingredients, like ceramides, that help keep the skin’s protective barrier intact. It also contains antioxidants and a generous amount of niacinamide, which does everything, from hydrating skin to fighting wrinkles. And fighting wrinkles is something this treatment does very well. Available at Amazon.
Best for oily skin: Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum With Retinol ($32.00)
This serum is so lightweight, so it won’t caue breakouts. Yet, it’s able to blur imperfections like large pores, which is why it’s perfect for oily skin. And, as always, Paula has added a fair share of antixidants and anti-irritants to keep skin healthy and younger-looking. Available at Paula’s Choice.
Best for sensitive skin: Salma Hayek Overnight Time Release Retinol Capsules ($21.99)
A trick to make retinol less irritating is to ensure it’s released slowly into the skin over a period of several hours, rather than all at once. This technology is called time-relased and these capsules use it, which is why I think they’re perfect for sensitive skin. They also contain moisturizing and skin-repairing ceramides and a smidget of antioxidants, although I would have liked to see more of the latter. The capsules are low in them, but, if you’re struggling to find a retinol product that doesn’t irritate your skin, I’d definitely give this a try. Available at Amazon.
Best for the eye area: Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum ($68.00)
Although I don’t think eye serums (or moisturizers) are necessary, if you want to use one, this should be your top choice. I know it’s pricey, but it’s also very effective. In addition to retinol, it has ferulic acid, which can fight three types of free radicals (you know, those naughty things that cause wrinkles), sodium hyaluronate to hydrate, and arbutin and licorice extract to lighten dark circles caused by hyperpigmentation. Available at Sephora.
Best for the body: Paula’s Choice Resist Retinol Skin Smoothing Body Treatment ($27.00)
Did you know your body needs retinol, too? This treatment is particularly useful for those areas, like the decollete, that are more often exposed to the sun, and show signs of aging prematurely. It contains both retinols and antioxidants to repair and firm skin, and it’s very moisturizing, too. Available at Paula’s Choice.
Best on a budget: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream ($14.99)
Most retinol products are on the pricey side because retinol, like other antioxidants and peptides, tend to cost quite a bit. Neutrogena is able to keep the price so low because the only ingredients worthy of note are retinol and the antioxidant green tea (it also has soothing properties). The formula is really basic, which is why I recommend it only to those who want the benefits of retinol but don’t have much money to splurge on it, yet. Available at Amazon.
Best for customizing: Paula’s Choice Resist 1% Retinol Booster ($50.00)
This booster is perfect for those of you who have tried plenty of retinol serums but haven’t found the one, yet. It is designed to be mixed into your serums or moisturizers, turning your fave products into powerful retinol treatments. Of course, it’s also filled with antioxidants, anti-irritants, and skin-repairing ingredients to supercharge your skincare routine. Available at Paula’s Choice.
A few retinol tips
I hope this has helped you find the best retinol treatment for your needs. Before you start using it, though, there are a few things you should know:
- Retinol makes skin more susceptible to sun damage. That’s why it’s best used at night. If you want to use it during the day, don’t forget the sunscreen (not that you can forget it even if you don’t use retinol)!
- Retinol can cause irritations, redness, and peeling when you first start to use it. This is why it’s best to use it only 2 or 3 times a week at first, and increase frequency gradually.
- Retinol doesn’t like heat. Store it somewhere dark and dry to prevent it going bad too soon.
What are your favorite, best retinol products?