7 Retinol Products That Will Change Your Anti-Aging Skin-Care Game
There’s no shortage of products out there that promise anti-aging benefits, but none have stood the test of time—more than 80 years, if we’re being specific—quite like retinol. Where most allegedly skin-saving formulas eventually lose their hype, the same cannot be said about good ol’ retinol. Fine lines, wrinkles, discolored skin, and enlarged pores should all fear its wrath, making it a skin care arsenal must-have item for just about everyone. But what gives this effective ingredient so much staying power? Is it safe for everyone? What retinol products are best to use? For answers to these questions and more, keep reading!
There’s no shortage of products out there that promise anti-aging benefits, but none have stood the test of time — more than 80 years, if we’re being specific — quite like retinol. While most skin-saving ingredients s eventually lose their hype, the same cannot be said about the powerhouse anti-ager. Fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin, and breakouts should all fear its wrath — it’s truly a must-have for just about everyone. But what makes the ingredient so effective? Is it safe for everyone? What retinol products are best to use? For answers to these questions and more, keep reading.
What Is Retinol?
Retinol is a powerful vitamin A derivative and its multitasking capabilities include boosting surface cellular turnover, diminishing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, shrinking the look of enlarged pores and firming and smoothing skin. Pretty impressive, no? Plus, it’s available in multiple forms such as creams and serums.
Who Can Use Retinol?
The beauty of retinol is that you can start to use it in your skin-care routine as early as your mid-20s. That said, if used incorrectly, side effects can include anything from redness to dryness, so be extra careful, especially if your skin is sensitive.
Furthermore, There are a few retinol “rules” you should follow to ensure that your skin isn’t negatively impacted by the potent ingredient. First things first, start slow. If you’re testing the waters with retinol for the first time, start with a lower concentration and slowly build up your tolerance because your skin may need time to acclimate to the ingredient. Use it once a week, then twice a week and see how your skin reacts. Also, keep in mind that retinol is extremely sensitive to oxygen, heat and light, so only use it in the evening and make sure it’s packaged in a stable tube or airtight pump. The benefit of working your way up with retinol is that your skin will develop a tolerance to the powerful product, a term dermatologists refer to as “retinizing” your skin. (To get started, read this beginner’s guide.)
For the best anti-aging routine, start using retinol in your 20s, pairing it with gentle products that contain antioxidants and SPF during daytime hours. Your skin can become more susceptible to sunburns while using retinol, so be sure to use a broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher every morning, and reapply throughout the day. To up the protection ante, pair your sunscreen with additional sun protection measures such as seeking shade and avoiding peak sun hours.
Now that you know all the benefits of incorporating a retinol into your routine, and exactly how to use it, all that’s left to do is find a product that works for you and your skin. Here are some of our faves.
Retinol is not only renowned for taking care of fine lines and wrinkles — it can also be an effective acne treatment, and this serum by CeraVe proves it. In addition to retinol, it contains licorice root extract, niacinamide and three essential ceramides to help restore the skin barrier and reduce the appearance of acne marks and large pores.
There’s a ton of anti-aging magic that comes from this little red bottle, and it contains both pure retinol, gradual-release retinol and vitamin B3. The combination of the three make it suitable for sensitive skin and will make your skin feel smoother, more hydrated and renewed after application.
Remember when we mentioned retinol concentrations? Well, here’s a formula with a high concentration of retinol, ideal for skin that’s already pre-conditioned to the ingredient. This night cream — with the brand’s highest concentration of 1% pure retinol — can help reduce the appearance of fine lines, skin discoloration and blotchiness.
For a gentle retinol serum, try this bakuchiol and encapsulated retinol formula by Versed. It targets wrinkles, dullness and post-acne scars.
Visonnaire contains 0.2% retinol with jasmonate that helps correct skin overnight. It promises significant improvement on rough and wrinkled skin in just four to eight weeks and is sure to become a staple in your routine.
This formula helps combat skin pollution and congestion. It also contains blue-green algae which is considered a natural, retinoid-alternative additive.
Ten years in the making, Vichy LiftActiv Retinol HA Concentrate with pure retinol gives fine lines and wrinkles a serious run for their money. This lightweight serum is ideal for normal and combination skin types and offers the perks of visibly smoother deep wrinkles and plumper-looking skin. Within one month, the skin’s youthfulness is visibly restored.