Best Retinol Creams You Can Buy Over the Counter
The Best Vitamin A/Retinol Creams
If you want maximum anti-aging benefits from an OTC product, then retinol, a form of vitamin A, is where it's at. Retinol speeds up cell turnover, keeps pores clear, and stimulates collagen production, and it's less likely to cause irritation than prescription-strength retinoids.
Although retinol's less likely to irritate your skin, newbs should still proceed with caution. "You generally want to start with a lower strength and build your way up to a higher strength," says Shari Sperling, M.D. of Sperling Dermatology. (For reference, a 1.0 percent retinol cream is considered strong.) You should also gradually increase frequency to allow your skin to get used to it. "Start with a pea-sized amount for your face and apply two times a week," advises Dr. Sperling. "Gradually build up to every night, because it can be very irritating and make your skin break out and become very dry." Ideally, you'll be applying retinol at night, she says. (Sunlight can deactivate the ingredient.)
When it comes to choosing a retinol skin-care product, look to your skin type. "Creams are more hydrating, and they are good for dry and sensitive skin," says Dr. Sperling. "Serums have more of the active ingredients and they are lighter to the touch. They are good for oily or acne-prone skin." Check out these anti-aging serums if your skin is on the oily side, or keep reading for the best retinol cream options.
La Roche-Posay Redermic R Anti-Aging Concentrate Face Cream with Retinol
Part of La Roche Posay's anti-aging Redermic line, this retinol cream is meant to suit sensitive skin. It contains lipo hydroxy acid (LHA), a derivative of salicylic acid with skin-renewing and acne-fighting properties that's been shown to stimulate collagen and elastin production.
Obagi Retinol 1.0
SOL CBD Collagen Retinol Revitalizing Cream
Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream
Like all of Drunk Elephant's offerings, this retinol cream is free from drying alcohols, fragrances, and everything else on the brand's "suspicious six." What it does contain? One percent-strength retinol, peptides, jojoba oil, and superfoods like kale and winter cherry.
Paula's Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment
This treatment combines a one percent concentration of retinol with calming ingredients like oat and licorice extracts. Throw in peptides, vitamins C and E, and hyaluronic acid and you've got an all-around MVP.