22 Retinol-Based Products That Will Transform Your Skin

By Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

While it's true there is no magic bullet when it comes to perfecting skin, one ingredient comes pretty close: retinol. 'Prescription Retin-A and Tretinoin and over the counter retinols increase skin cell turnover and stimulate collagen synthesis, ' explains Jennifer Chwalek, MD of Union Square Laser Dermatology. 'With consistent use of a topical retinol or Retin-A you can see improvement of fine lines, dark spots, texture, and tone. '

While an OTC retinol (0. 5%-2% concentration) isn't quite as effective or speedy as prescription-strength, it's less likely to cause irritation, redness, and peeling so better for anyone with sensitive or drier skin. But, proceed with caution. Dr. Shereene Idriss recommends adding retinol into your skin care routine slowly and gradually. 'I would start with one night a week and see to see how your skin reacts before adding a second night a week and so forth, ' explains Dr. Idriss. 'If you find yourself to be extremely sensitive, then apply your moisturizer before applying your retinol in order to make it a little bit less effective and less irritating. '

There are also naturally derived retinol alternatives like rosehip seed oil, chicory root oligosaccharides, and tara tree gum, but Chwalek cautions that there are no studies to prove efficacy for them. Ready to add retinol to your routine? Here are the latest options to stock up on.

First Aid Beauty Skin Lab Retinol Serum 0. 25% Pure Concentrate

If you're new to the retinol world, this is the perfect starter serum. Formulated for sensitive skin, the gentle product is packed with vitamin C and E, aloe, and colloidal oatmeal that alleviate the irritation and redness often associated with retinol products.

Retinol Fusion PM

Wake up with fresh and bright skin thanks to this cult-favorite retinol product from Peter Thomas Roth. Packed with micro-encapsulated retinol (retinol that has been placed into small capsules), the superstar ingredient is evenly distributed to prevent irritation and redness from overexposure. Plus, vitamins E and C nourish the skin to improve overall appearance.

Serum 16

Need to calm inflammation? Fight wrinkle formation? Even out skin tone? Ideal for acne-prone skin, this retinol is gentle enough for sensitive skin while also being a very effective night treatment to rid skin of debris and oils. Wake up with unclogged pores and smoother and brighter skin.

Rapid Wrinkle Regenerating Face Cream [Fragrance-Free]

If you prefer your retinol easy on the wallet but still want it to do the job, then consider this drugstore moisturizer. In addition to a fast-acting form of the ingredient, the rich cream is packed with ultra hydrating hyaluronic acid.

iS CLINICAL Pro-Heal Serum Advance+

A serum for spot treatment. Ideal for treating acne spots, redness, inflammation, and rosacea. The product contains a number of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that target the issue and provide results.

Epionce Intense Defense Serum

This serum contains a whopping total of 23 vitamins the skin uses for therapeutic functions on top of retinol. The vitamins are derived from botanical sources like flax seed, a known source of omega-3 fatty acids, that are known to prevent irritation and Yarrow, an ancient herbal medicine, that has brightening properties for the skin.

Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Anti-Aging Retinol Night Cream

This formula is so strong you'd think you would need a prescription. The deep wrinkle night cream hydrates your skin while reducing the appearance of expression lines while you sleep.

Eve Lom Time Retreat Radiance Boost Treatment 30ml

To feed your need for instant gratification, this hardworking serum is packed with exfoliating AHAs to give you an instant glow. And then non-irritating, wrinkle-smoothing encapsulated retinol makes you wait for it (Patience pays off).

Clark's Botanicals Retinol Rescue Overnight Cream with Calming Colloidal Oatmeal, 1. 7 oz.

Be a literal sleeping beauty with this potent treatment that works its age- fighting magic while you slumber. It's time release formula means it repairs, renews and regenerates all through the night.

Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream

Whether you've tried retinol in the past to only find redness and irritation or this is your first time trying the magic ingredient, Murad's night cream is a great option. Formulated for those with sensitive skin, the cream targets wrinkles and fine lines to plump and hydrate the skin. It's basically supple skin in a jar.

Natura Bisse Essential Shock Intense Retinol Fluid

This multi-tasker boosts the power of retinol with amino acids, soy protein, and mushroom and wheat germ extracts. While the lightweight texture means it can be used as a treatment serum, those with oilier skin and lazier dispositions can just consider this tube their one-step anti-aging nighttime regimen

111SKIN Celestial Black Diamond Retinol Oil

Oils are still all the rage. And this uber luxe one from London-based surgeon Yannis Alexandrides, MD offers the nourishing effects associated with the category while delivering a potent dose of retinol via otherworldly sounding rare black diamond particles through space and time, just kidding it's going through layers of skin. It'll get you glowing for sure.

Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift Retinol Advanced Resurfacing Treatment

First Los Angeles-based aesthetician Kate Somerville created a topical, at- home version of her celeb fave oxygen facial and it was pretty, pretty, pretty good. But now she's taken it a step further and supercharged the formula with collagen-boosting retinol and bio-retinols to give you the glowing, taut, baby soft skin of your dreams.

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum

Wake up looking like a fresh-faced goddess when you use this one-two punch of overnight serum and peel before you turn in. Both pair pro-strength ferulic acid and retinol to seriously smooth skin and soften wrinkles, one gently exfoliates in the process and the other works overnight to detox skin from a long day of being attacked by free radicals, pollution, and other nastiness.

Chantecaille Retinol Intense Cream

While prescription Retin-A is by far the most potent form of retinol, this OTC option makes a great second best, mostly because unlike sometimes-irritating Rx formulas, this combines a double dose of retinol with soothing magnolia bark and nourishing soy bean extract, meaning even finicky skins keeps its chill.

Paula's Choice RESIST 1% Retinol Booster

Here's a retinol product that does not play. One percent is a big dose so it's best to proceed with caution. If you've used retinol in the past or don't tend to have negative reactions to new products, this boosterwhich is meant to be used in conjunction with another moisturizer is for you. If your skin is on the sensitive side, start with once a week applications to allow your skin to build a tolerance.

Asarau Sleepercell Retinol Serum

From the new Australian gender-neutral beauty brand, Asarai, the retinol- based Sleepercell serum is. . . the sleeper hit of the season. The vegan, lightweight liquid utilizes retinol to restore skin tone and prevent wrinkles. Sodium hyaluronate also works to brighten and hydrate. Asarai is also made with predominantly natural ingredients so you never have to worry about animal testing or toxic chemicals with scary names.

Marie Veronique Gentle Retinol Night Serum

The ultimate collagen booster. On top of retinol, the green-tea based formula is packed with vitamin C to brighten the skin. There's also a dose of sodium salicylate, a retinol-moderating chemical compound that prevents irritation and stinging.

Anti-Wrinkle Polish and Plump Peel

Retinol can be harsh, so HydroPeptide's Anti-Wrinkle Polish and Plump Peel is a great option because it doesn't utilize traditional retinol but rather retinyl palmitate, a weaker retinoid suitable for sensitive skin. After a few uses, prepare for brighter skin and tighter pores.

A-Passioni Retinol Cream

This lightweight cream is made up of one percent vegan retinol so it's safe for even the most sensitive skin. Fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage will be a thing of the past thanks to this new star product.

RESIST Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment

Paula's Choice makes a number of great face retinol products, so the brilliant scientists at the company decided to expand into body care. The skin-smoothing treatment uses retinol to fight against cellulite and stretch marks, revealing glowing skin.

Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum

Retinol is definitely the star of this show, but ferulic acid (an anti-aging plant-based ingredient) works to rid your skin of wrinkles and sun spots. Plus, caffeine plumps the delicate skin around the eyes and 'wakes up' the skin. If you've got crow's feet and wrinkles, this is the product for you.

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