Everything to Know About Retinol

From helping with breakouts to reducing signs of aging, retinol may be something you want to add to your skincare routine. Here, we will discuss what it is, how it works, and some of our top product picks.

What Is It?

Retinol is a form of vitamin A used in skincare products to treat various concerns such as acne, hyper-pigmentation, wrinkles, and psoriasis. While over-the-counter retinol is not as strong as retinoid (which requires a prescription from a dermatologist), it still produces noticeable results. Basically, retinol works by encouraging skin cell turnover, increasing the rate at which older cells die and newer ones are produced. As you age, retinol can be especially helpful as the turnover process begins to slow down.

Side Effects

It’s important to note that using a potent ingredient such as retinol can have side effects, including dryness, irritation, and flaking. These usually go away after a few weeks once your skin has gotten used to the product. You’ll want to start with a small amount and increase over time. Retinol also makes you much more susceptible to sun damage, which means sunscreen is a must when using this product.

Our Picks

CeraVe Skin Renewing Retinol Serum ($22.99, shop here)

You can’t go wrong with this affordable, gentle, fragrance-free option from CeraVe.

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream ($33.99, shop here)

If you’ve never used a retinol before, consider this one from Neutrogena, which is formulated with hyaluronic acid – a hydrating ingredient that will help combat dryness.

SkinMedica Age Defense Retinol Complex ($93, shop here)

If you’ve been using retinol for a while, your skin may be able to handle a higher concentration. This retinol from SkinMedica is great for long-term use.

Final Thoughts

Retinol can be an effective option for combating signs of aging, acne, and hyper-pigmentation. Remember: Even though it is available over-the-counter, this ingredient is very strong and can cause some side effects. As always, we recommend speaking with your dermatologist to determine if retinol is right for you!

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