The 8 Best Retinol Creams

Updated November 21, 2017 by Jeff Newburgh

8 Best Retinol Creams
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We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Claiming a whole host of benefits, including stimulation of both collagen and elastin production, protection from sun exposure, and the elimination of wrinkles and dark spots, one of these retinol creams may be a perfect addition to your daily beauty regimen. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best retinol cream on Amazon.

8. First Botany Advanced

The First Botany Advanced is a 2-in-1 retinol night cream designed to combat the disorderliness of human skin caused by its own biorhythm, which can otherwise cause premature aging. This cream regenerates skin cells and restores damaged tissue to its original shine.
  • chronocyclin mimics sun exposure
  • no animals harmed in production
  • the scent is a bit strong
Brand First Botany Cosmeceuti
Model pending
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. RoC Correxion

The RoC Correxion cream contains a lightweight formula made from a mild strength of both retinol and hyaluronic acid, which work together to condition skin, fight the appearance of unsightly blemishes, and improve your skin's radiance in 8 weeks' time.
  • good for those with sensitive skin
  • tested by dermatologists
  • only get 1 ounce
Brand RoC
Model 0381371089796
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Amara Organics

Safe and ideal for virtually all skin types, the Amara Organics leverages some of the most advanced organic, plant-based ingredients available on the market for keeping skin blemish-free and lush to the touch. Its blend of hyaluronic acid and oil minimizes skin irritation.
  • no parabens or alcohol used
  • made in the usa
  • can be used around eyes
Brand Amara Organics
Model pending
Weight 3.5 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Tree Of Life

Made from a rich combination of jojoba oil, green tea, and shea butter, the Tree Of Life moisturizer can be used on a daily basis to help prevent the breakdown of collagen, encourage the production of new collagen, and reduce the appearance of dark spots.
  • does not leave skin greasy or oily
  • ideal for both men and women
  • the pumping mechanism is finicky
Brand Tree of Life Beauty
Model NA
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. AgeVeto Night Moisturizer

Crafted to restore your skin's youth and radiance, the AgeVeto Night Moisturizer contains a micro-encapsulated retinol complex that reduces the visibility of deep pockets and visible lines while also acting as a plumper to help brighten and detoxify your skin as you sleep.
  • intelligent time-release technology
  • anti-inflammatory peptides
  • bottle is rather pricey
Brand AgeVeto
Model pending
Weight 4.8 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. Kleem Organics

This Kleem Organics anti-aging cream is formulated with 5 proven bio-active ingredients designed to keep your skin hydrated for up to 72 hours with a single application. It also stimulates both collagen and elastin production to prevent the appearance of wrinkles.
  • only natural and organic ingredients
  • risk-free satisfaction guarantee
  • has a rich and buttery texture
Brand Kleem Organics
Model pending
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Poppy Austin

The velvety and triple-milked Poppy Austin contains 2.5% retinol for protecting skin cells from the elements while thwarting future damage from dangerous sun exposure. The formula is also gentle enough for twice daily use without causing excessive dryness or irritation.
  • prevents fine lines and age spots
  • triple-sized container
  • airless pump preserves its freshness
Brand Poppy Austin
Model Retinol Cream
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. PHL Naturals Advanced

The PHL Naturals Advanced is a nightly retinol cream packed with a combination of antioxidants, vitamins and phospholipids that are designed to hydrate, rejuvenate, resurface, and soften your skin for the most even complexion possible. Results are noticeable in one month.
  • improves skin elasticity
  • stimulates rapid cellular renewal
  • also contains hyaluronic acid
Brand PHL Naturals
Model pending
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

What Is Retinol And How Does It Work?

You've probably already seen Retinol used as a key ingredient in everything from over-the-counter wrinkle reducers to prescription acne creams. Retinol is essentially a fancier name for Vitamin A, and is a gentler form of Retinoid. Don't confuse it with Retin-A or Tazorac though, which are both topical retinoids used primarily to treat acne and are only available in prescription form.

Retinol was born as a way to provide the general public with the same benefits as retinoid, but without the need to see a doctor and obtain a prescription. This less aggressive form of Retinoid changed the game for the skin care industry and quickly became the ultimate anti-aging solution.

If you're looking for a simple way to slow down the aging process and improve your skin's overall health, retinol creams and serums may be the answer. When this highly-reactive molecule comes in contact with your skin, it helps to turn over and shed surface cells quickly. By doing so, it stimulates the production of new skin cells underneath. This increase in cell turnover produces revitalizing effects that help fade discoloration, stimulate collagen, even out skin tone, and hydrate the skin. It also decreases the breakdown of collagen to prevent wrinkles from forming. Your complexion is left smooth and glowing with a more youthful appearance. It is a powerful tool that can be used for both young and old as a preventative or restorative measure.

Which Retinol Product Is Best For My Skin?

Retinol has become the go-to skin care product to tackle just about every complexion issue out there, including acne, wrinkles, and hyperpigmented skin. With a myriad of choices available, though, it may be hard to decipher which one is best for your skin type. It all depends on your needs, concerns, and level of tolerance, which can only be discovered through experimentation. From low- to high-strength over-the-counter products, they all provide the amazing benefits of retinoic acid, with considerably less chance of irritation. Everyone reacts differently to retinol, so consider how sensitive your skin is in general to cosmetics before picking out a product.

Those with sensitive skin should start off by trying a brand with lower levels of retinoic acid. If you are in this group of individuals, you may be happy to learn that less potency does not mean it won't be effective. It just may take a little more time to see results. There are studies that have shown concentrations as little as 0.01 percent retinol can improve overall skin health and appearance. Moderate strength variations, with retinol levels between 0.04 and 0.1 percent, are the next step up if you're not seeing results as quickly as you'd like. When applied three times a week for a period of six months, most will start to see a noticeable difference in their skin condition. For those with more advanced skin issues, formulas with a higher concentration of retinol, between 0.5 and 1 percent, may be the way to go. It is the last step before opting for a prescription grade retinoid.

There are also different consistencies to consider. Retinol can come in a cream or serum form. Creams function more as surface level treatments that are gentle enough for sensitive skin. Serums penetrate deep within the epidermis, which is better for more targeted skin issues. Choosing the correct type and strength will be the best way to ensure the retinol cream you are buying meets your needs and can effectively be worked into your daily beauty routine.

Stop Believing The Myths

Despite hearing about the many miraculous benefits of retinol, some people are still nervous about trying it out. Here are some common myths about retinol that should be debunked.

Many people think they need to stay out of the sun when using retinol, but this is actually false. While it is true that it works best at night, that doesn't mean you need to stay indoors all of the time. Research has shown that retinol is still effective and works quite well under SPF-rated products. It even helps to prevent the rise of collagenase after being exposed to UV rays. Just be sure to apply sunscreen before heading out to the beach. It is an essential step that shouldn't be skipped.

Another misconception is that you shouldn't use the product around your eyes. The skin around your eyes is delicate, but it is not necessarily more prone to skin redness and flakiness from retinol. It is however, an area that usually shows early signs of aging and sun damage first, so using a retinol product liberally may offer the best results to prevent crow's feet.

Another myth, and one which might have you scratching your head when you find out it is actually a myth, is that you should stop using the product if irritation occurs. With any other product, this may be true, but retinol is in a league of its own. If you experience some minor irritation, it is actually simply part of the process. It may take two to three weeks for your skin to adjust to retinoic acid use. To prevent any severe reactions, though, it is still best to start with a low dosage and work your way up. Always check with your doctor if you have concerns.

If you haven't jumped on the Retinol bandwagon because you've heard it isn't effective after six months, then you have been mistaken. Studies have shown that you'll continue to see the smoothing effects of this miracle worker over a twelve month period. After the year is up, if you do start to notice a decrease in results, it may be time to switch to a more potent product.

Retinol may not be for everyone, but knowing the facts versus the myths can help you decide whether or not this ingredient is advantageous to your daily beauty regimen.

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Last updated on November 21, 2017 by Jeff Newburgh

A dedicated writer and communications professional spending his days lost in the intricacies of both proposal and freelance writing. When not sharing the knowledge of both fully and self-insured medical benefits to employer groups of all industries within California, Jeff Newburgh can be found at home spending time with his family and 3 dogs, pondering the next chew toy to be thrown, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.

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