5 Retinol Creams You Can Buy Over the Counter
Retinol—a derivative of vitamin A—is a multi-tasking ingredient known for its abilities to help reduce the appearance of visible signs of aging, including wrinkles, fine lines, and discoloration. As such, it’s a must-have for anyone looking to kick their anti-aging routine into high gear. Some retinols require a prescription, but did you know you could get your hands on products formulated with retinol without heading to the pharmacy? We’ve got five of the best retinol creams—from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands—you can buy without a prescription, ahead.
L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Cicacream Face Moisturizer
The only way to outdo a cica cream? Top it off with retinol. That’s just one of the reasons why we can’t get enough of the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Cicacream Face Moisturizer. Formulated with centella asiatica (the cica cream namesake) and Pro-Retinol, this lightweight, protective cream helps resist visible lines, loss of firmness and other signs of aging that are accentuated by a weakened skin barrier.
How to use it: Every morning and evening, after cleansing but before moisturizing, smooth the formula over your face until thoroughly absorbed.
CeraVe Skin Renewing Day Cream
Retinol creams are often relegated to night time use, but what if we told you there’s a way to incorporate them into your daytime routine as well? To add retinol into your morning routine—without adding an extra step—look for a daily face cream that’s formulated with both retinol and Broad Spectrum SPF. You can start your day off right with the CeraVe Skin Renewing Day Cream, which is formulated with encapsulated retinol and niacinamide, and offers broad spectrum SPF 30 protection. Developed with dermatologists, the unique formula is designed to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
How to use it: Apply liberally 15 minutes prior to sun exposure. Reapply at least every two hours. If swimming or sweating, use a water-resistant sunscreen.
Vichy LiftActiv Retinol Treatment
As much love as products formulated with retinol receive, the ingredient is notorious for drying out the skin. Rather than forcing yourself to weigh the pros and cons, you can stick with a retinol cream that has a hydrating formula. The Vichy LiftActiv Retinol Treatment combines pure retinol with hyaluronic acid, allowing it to be used alone as a daily treatment or layered under other moisturizers for an added layer of moisture.
How to use it: Use daily in the morning on a clean face and neck.
SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5
If you’re interested in putting retinol to the test but aren’t sure where to start, look no further. The SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 is ideal as a starter product for all skin types, including sensitive skin. The lightweight formulation, containing pure retinol, revitalizes skin and helps to diminish signs of aging.
How to use it: Begin by limiting use to twice a week, then gradually increase frequency to every other night, and finally once an evening as tolerated. Apply a pea-sized amount to thoroughly cleansed skin in the evening. To ensure optimal results, wait at least 30 minutes before applying any corrective or moisturizing products.
La Roche-Posay Redermic R Eyes with Retinol
In case you weren’t aware, retinol creams come in eye cream too. It makes sense, since the skin around your eyes is one of the first areas to show visible signs of aging. To help combat those unwanted signs, reach for La Roche-Posay Redermic R Eyes with Retinol. Formulated with retinol and caffeine, the anti-aging eye cream helps to smooth the look of wrinkles, reduce the appearance of dark circles, and revive the look of the eye area.
How to use it: Apply from the inner corner of the eye outwards in the evening.
Editor’s note: As a reminder, retinol is powerful. If you’re not sure how your skin will react to it, it’s wise to start with a lower concentration and work your way up. Also, when using retinol in your routine, pair it with Broad Spectrum sunscreen use during the daytime hours, and heed additional sun protection measures such as wearing protective clothing and seeking shade.