It’s no exaggeration to say that retinol is the most effective skin care ingredient available today – which is why, when you buy a retinol product (be it a serum, cream, or even an oil), you want become lucid. . It is perhaps surprising that many of the best retinols can be found right here on Amazon – although even among the best retinols on Amazon, you still have plenty of options to consider, as retinols are Not One size fits all. According to dermatologist, Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky, oily, combination and acne-prone skin types can use more concentrated formulas like retinol gel, while dry and sensitive skin types should opt for more concentrated formulas like retinol gels. retinol found in moisturizers.

For a quick refresh, Dr. Zubritsky explains that retinols are “king” when it comes to skin care because they promote skin cell turnover. “They help improve skin texture, brighten skin, and fade pigmentation — especially discoloration from sun damage,” she says of some of the most notable benefits. For anyone confused about the difference between retinol and retinoid, Dr. Zubritsky notes that both are forms of vitamin A, but because retinoids are more potent, they are usually only available via prescription and can be cause more dryness and irritation than retinols.

To find the right retinol, Dr. Zubritsky says that most skin types can use a retinol product, but there are some people who should stay away from it. “I do not recommend retinols for people who are pregnant, nursing or trying to conceive, or if you are undergoing some cosmetic procedure or have an open wound on your skin,” she warns.

Either way, “low and slow is the game,” says Dr. Zubritsky, as there is always a risk of retinal detachment (redness, dryness, and peeling can occur with new retinol or retinoids). “I recommend just using [a retinol] “I also recommend pairing retinols with a moisturizer,” she advises, recommending the “sandwich” approach. The sandwich method involves applying moisturizer, then applying retinol, and then applying another layer of moisturizer. Also, avoid using retinols with other irritating active ingredients like AHAs, BHAs, or other exfoliants. (This is also why you should only apply retinol at night.)

With all those very important tips in mind, scroll to shop for the best retinols on Amazon, including Dr. Zubritsky’s top picks.

1. Best Over-the-Counter Retinoid

Technically, Differin Adapalene Gel is a retinoid, but that’s exactly why it’s Dr. Zubritsky’s number one recommendation. “This is one of the only over-the-counter products that contain retinoids,” she says. “Retinoids are great because not only can they help improve skin texture and tone, but they are also FDA-approved to treat and prevent acne,” Dr. Zubritsky explains. The key active ingredient here is 0.1% adapalene, a substance that once required a prescription, but is now available by prescription. This fragrance-free gel also comes in bottles with a pump-head dispenser, if you prefer that delivery method.

2. Best Retinol Serum

If you follow dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss on Instagram, you may already be familiar with this L’Oreal Revitalift night serum (and if you haven’t followed Dr. Idriss, what are you waiting for? ). It contains 0.3% pure retinol, and because it’s combined with moisturizing ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, there’s less risk of retinopathy. The serum is fragrance-free and L’Oréal uses their own patent-pending Retinol Guard technology to reduce the breakdown of the active ingredient and give the product more effectiveness, as exposure to Air, light, and heat can destabilize retinol.

3. Best Retinol Capsules

Elizabeth Arden’s pearl pink capsules not only contain a pre-measured amount of your retinol serum (something that is especially useful when traveling), but the encapsulation helps the retinol maintain its potency by blocking light and air. In addition to retinol, each capsule also contains ceramides, avocado oil and sunflower seed oil to hydrate your skin and fight any dryness, as well as peptides, which provide many other impressive benefits.

4. Best Retinol Night Cream

For skin prone to dryness, this RoC Retinol Correxion Night Cream combines retinol with moisturizing ingredients like glycerin, squalane, and shea butter. Despite the addition of water, you still want to follow Dr. Zubritsky’s recommendation to start with applying a retinol cream two to three times a week and increase use as your skin adapts. RoC’s retinol cream is also one of the highest-rated and most budget-friendly retinol options on Amazon, with over 9,000 five-star ratings and growing.

5. Best Retinol Treatment

More like a lightweight lotion than a thick cream, Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol Treatment is still hydrating enough for those with dry and/or sensitive skin. The balanced combination comes from combining 1% retinol with ingredients like glycerin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid. To specifically address the redness that can occur with retinol use, the brand has added several soothing ingredients to the formula, like licorice root extract and oat extract. There’s even a travel size version of the treatment if you want to test it out before investing in the full size.

6. Best Retinol Eye Cream

It’s important to note that you can’t just use any retinol product around your eyes because the concentration of retinol in most facial creams and serums is too high for the delicate skin in that area to notice. tolerable. (And if your skin is particularly sensitive or you’re worried that your retinol product is getting too close to your eye contour area, you can apply a light layer of Vaseline under your eyes before using the retinol over the rest of your eyeshadow.) faces – a trick I learned from Dr. Idriss). For a dedicated retinol eye cream, Kate Somerville + Retinol Firming Eye Cream combines retinol with a blend of hydrating, soothing, and antioxidant-rich ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, rice bran extract, and leaf extract. aloe vera and gotu kola fruit extract. This eye cream is even gentle enough to use morning and night, as long as it’s easy to use daily and sunscreen.


Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky, board certified dermatologist


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