Getting old is inevitable; you can’t stop it, but you can definitely slow down signs of aging skin with the help of skincare products like retinol. If you deal with dry skin, wrinkles, and fine lines, retinol can help rejuvenate your skin by boosting up your skin’s collagen and elastin production. Not only that but, retinol can also help brighten dark spots and control acne by clearing out your pores.
That's why we did our research and put together some of the best retinol for wrinkles. Our top pick is Neutrogena's Rapid Wrinkle Repair. Aside from its 0.30 percent retinol to rejuvenate your skin, it also has SPF 30 for sun protection. If this isn’t quite for you, we still have nine other great options, so keep scrolling to find the product for you! If you still need more tips and information to help you decide, check out the buying guide we prepared for you.
Dr. Levy is a board certified dermatologist practicing in NYC and Westport, Connecticut. She has expertise in treating inflammatory skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. She has an interest in skincare and takes a personalized approach to all of her patients.
We asked her to evaluate our buying guide below for accuracy, and she also contributed some extra tips and advice. You can also follow her on Instagram for more skincare tips!
Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A that's often found in skincare products. This vitamin is commonly used to help reduce wrinkles and treat acne, making it great for aging and acne-prone skin.
It helps reduce wrinkles by speeding up the production of collagen and elastin in the skin. Unfortunately, as we get older, we produce less collagen and elastin. This makes our skin less elastic, more fragile, and appear more wrinkled.
Retinols help with these issues by neutralizing free radicals and thickening the epidermis of your skin. This plumping effect helps control issues like fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and visible pores. Not only that, but it can also help clear out pores to avoid breakouts and lighten acne marks.
You can incorporate retinol in your skincare after cleansing your face. However, it is recommended that you moisturize after application. It’s also important to note that this product is sensitive to light and the sun, so the best time to apply it is at night to avoid unnecessary sun damage.
Retinols are the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) product in an anti-aging routine. Retinols and their prescription counterpart, retinoids, help with fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and skin turnover.
When used appropriately, retinols can make a huge difference in skin texture and tone. They are a long-term treatment and do not produce results in a few uses. It usually takes six to eight weeks of consistent use to notice any effect. Retinols can be used by pretty much any age group.
Now that you know what retinol is for and what it does to your skin, here are our top 10 picks. We have made sure to include options with different formulas and retinol concentrations.
*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Dr. Lauren Levy.
|Beneficial ingredients||SPF 30, hyaluronic acid, glycerin|
|Retinol concentration||Not specified|
|Beneficial ingredients||Dimethicone, glycerin, shea butter|
|Retinol concentration||Not specified|
|Beneficial ingredients||Green tea, aloe vera, chamomile|
|Retinol concentration||Not listed|
|Beneficial ingredients||Niacinamide, vitamin B3, glycerin|
|Retinol concentration||Not specified|
|Beneficial ingredients||Ceramides, sunflower seed oil, avocado oil|
|Retinol concentration||Not specified|
|Beneficial ingredients||Hyaluronic acid, swertia flower extract, glycerin|
|Beneficial ingredients||Oat, willow bark, and licorice extracts; peptides, vitamin C|
|Beneficial ingredients||Squalane, glycerin|
|Beneficial ingredients||Peptides, vitamin F, glycerin|
|Beneficial ingredients||Jojoba, shea butter, hyaluronic acid, glycerin|
The Inkey List
Rapid Wrinkle Repair
Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle
Regenerist Retinol Moisturizer
Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum
Retinol Youth Renewal Serum
Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment
Retinol Anti-Aging Serum
A-Passioni Retinol Cream
SPF 30 For Sun Protection
Shea Butter and Glycerin for Maximum Hydration
Fragrance-Free Retinol Cream in Convenient Packaging
Softens Skin and Smooths Wrinkles and Fine Lines
Ceramide-Infused Retinol Capsules
Bring Back Your Skin's Elasticity and Firmness
Addresses Skin Concerns Like Acne and Discoloration
Formulated With Hydrating Squalane
Retinol and Vitamin F Smooth Aging Skin
Effectively Fights Signs of Aging Skin
|Amount||1 oz.||1 oz.||16 oz.||1.7 oz.||90 capsules||1 oz.||1 oz.||1 oz.||1 oz.||1 oz.|
|Retinol concentration||0.3%||Not specified||Not specified||Not listed||Not specified||Not specified||1%||1.5%||1%||1%|
|Beneficial ingredients||SPF 30, hyaluronic acid, glycerin||Dimethicone, glycerin, shea butter||Green tea, aloe vera, chamomile||Niacinamide, vitamin B3, glycerin||Ceramides, sunflower seed oil, avocado oil||Hyaluronic acid, swertia flower extract, glycerin||Oat, willow bark, and licorice extracts; peptides, vitamin C||Squalane, glycerin||Peptides, vitamin F, glycerin||Jojoba, shea butter, hyaluronic acid, glycerin|
Adding retinol to your routine can be quite intimidating, so to help you make the right decision, go through this buying guide we prepared for you.
Retinols come in different forms. For people with dry skin, retinol serums are ideal. These often include moisturizing ingredients that prevent moisture loss and keep your skin soft.
Hydrating ingredients found in retinol creams are especially helpful because retinol tends to cause your skin to peel, dry, and flake when you first start using it. Oily skin actually creates more oil when it's dehydrated, so if you have this skin type, aim for a retinol cream.
In addition, retinol serums usually contain more active ingredients that address acne-prone skin concerns. As these serums are thin and light, they can be great for breakouts. You can also find water-based serums that won’t leave your skin feeling sticky.
If you have dry skin, using a retinol serum form may allow it to tolerate the retinol content better. Cream forms are good for oilier to normal or combination skin. This is because creams can be more drying than serums.
You should always use a moisturizer with both a serum or cream form of retinoid to combat any dryness a retinol may cause.
It’s essential to pay attention to the percentage of retinol because, as mentioned earlier, it tends to cause your skin to dry up, peel, and flake. So you want to be careful, especially if you’re just starting to incorporate it into your routine.
If you're a beginner or have dry and sensitive skin, it’s best to go for low-strength retinol of about 0.01 to 0.03 percent. This way, your skin can get used to the product and build up a tolerance to it. You can start by applying it two times a week.
Moderate strength retinols range from 0.04 to 0.1 percent. These are great for people with an uneven complexion, textured skin, or fine lines and wrinkles. You can apply moderate retinol about two to three times a week.
People with aging skin, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation can go for high-strength retinols from 0.3 to one percent. This can help rejuvenate and brighten your skin more quickly. Still, your skin needs to get used to retinol before getting to this concentration.
Start low and slow when you add a retinol to your routine. Using a lower concentration a few times a week can help your skin get used to the retinol. Then, you can work up to nightly use of the lower concentration.
When you want a stronger percentage of retinol, you may need to scale back your application to a few times a week until your skin gets used to the higher concentration. Always use a lower concentration retinol around the eyes.
To help with wrinkles, look for retinol creams and serums formulated with additional ingredients that can help reduce wrinkles and aid aging skin. As we get older, our skin gets drier, which is why choosing retinol with highly moisturizing ingredients is essential.
Some highly moisturizing ingredients you can find are ceramides, hyaluronic acid, plant butters, and oils. Ceramides help hydrate and restore your skin’s protective barrier that locks in moisture in the skin. Glycerin, a type of sugar alcohol, can also help your skin retain moisture.
Meanwhile, hyaluronic acid is also known for helping your skin retain moisture. It helps keep your face moisturized, plump, and smooth. Plus, this ingredient can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Some other moisturizing ingredients you should look for are plant butters and oils, like cocoa butter, shea butter, and jojoba oil. These ingredients can soothe and hydrate your skin by covering the skin with a protective film to trap moisture.
Retinols aren't the only ingredient that can help with wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid not only helps wrinkles but helps combat the dryness retinol may induce.
Hyaluronic acid can also give an immediate skin-plumping effect and a dewy finish. Retinols can be drying, so using a product that has hyaluronic acid or glycerin will be beneficial for your skin.
While retinols work well with SPF and moisturizing ingredients, there are some ingredients that you should avoid. As mentioned earlier, retinols can cause dryness and redness. You don’t want to make this worse by using more drying products.
Some ingredients you should avoid are vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, AHA acids, and BHA acids. Exfoliants like AHA and BHA can cause your skin to dry out and become irritated, while benzoyl peroxide cancels out the effects of retinol.
Vitamin C should be avoided or be used in the morning instead because it does the opposite of retinol. While retinol repairs the skin and boosts collagen production, vitamin C protects the skin and works best in the morning.
Use your retinol at night, as the UV rays you're exposed to in the daytime can inactive the retinol and make it ineffective.
If you do want to use AHAs or BHAs, I recommend alternating them between retinol uses if you want to get the benefit of both products.
You could use a glycolic-based wash, however, in combination with a retinol if your skin is oily and can tolerate both of these together.
Dr. Levy says, "Retinols make you photosensitive. This means that even with minimal sun exposure, you may get a sunburn. You must use a daily sunscreen when using retinol products. Even a small amount of sun exposure or a long ride in the car in a sunny place can give you a burn when using these products."
She goes on to add, "Retinols need to be used properly in order to get the most benefit. Use a pea-sized amount on a clean and dry face. Follow up with a hyaluronic acid serum or cream-based moisturizer over the retinol.
If you notice any irritation, redness, or burning skin for a few nights in a row, put a hold on your retinol use. You can start up again once the symptoms have faded. When you start using it again, apply the retinol only a few times a week before working up to nightly application."
It can be a struggle trying to find products that work well with dry and mature skin. Don't worry, though; we’ve got you covered! Here are some products that can help address aging skin concerns.
If you want to add retinol to your skincare routine, but are worried that it'll irritate your skin, you may want to check out beauty blogger Tintin's recommended retinol cream! Tintin loves this cream for its additional mix of soothing and hydrating ingredients such as ceramides. You can read her full review below.
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