With the great availability of over-the-counter retinol creams, trying one has never been easier. But, try a bunch of products and find the best retinol cream for you are two different things. If you want to make sure you’re using a retinol cream that will work for you and your skin, it’s important to know what the experts have to say about this incredibly versatile, pore-refining skin care ingredient.
If you are not already familiar with retinols and retinoids, they are both derivatives of vitamin A known for their near-panacea ability to smooth and reduce the appearance of fine lines, brighten and even skin texture, and make the skin lighter overall. This is because they speed up skin cell turnover, which removes dull, dead skin faster, while preventing the breakdown of collagen (and you need collagen to maintain structure and elasticity. of your skin). Where retinols differ is in their potency: although retinol and retinoid products come in a range of concentrations, retinols are generally considered weaker, while many retinoids are only available on arrangement.
Most dermatologists recommend retinols with surprisingly few caveats. Linda C. Chung Honet, MD, FAAD, tells SELF that with patience, commitment, and the right skincare routine, people of all skin types could benefit from using a retinol. During this time, Jerome Potozkine, MD, says retinols may be of particular interest to anyone embarking on a “skin rejuvenation journey,” in which they seek to eliminate dark spots, reduce sun damage and fine lines, or prevent future signs of wrinkles. Keep in mind that you should always wear sunscreen when using a retinol, as retinols can have irritating side effects, including redness, dryness, itching, and increased photosensitivity. It also means that your skin will likely need a period of adjustment before you see results. If you have dry skin or if it leans towards the sensitive end of the spectrum, this is important to remember – and this is a very good reason why a retinol cream, as opposed to a serum or gel with retinol, may be better for you.
“Creams tend to be thicker and better for drier or mature skin” Elizabeth Bahar Houshmand, MD, explains. Dr Potozkin echoes this recommendation, adding that the specific product you use will naturally depend on your personal preference, but those that come in cream form will be less irritating to sensitive skin types in general and, over time, will still provide the type of results you hope to see with a retinol. (For the record, it may take three to 12 months of regular retinol use to start seeing changes in your skin.)
With all of that in mind, we asked Dr Honet, Dr Potozkin and Dr Houshmand what they consider to be the best retinol cream on the market right now – and they had several highly regarded recommendations to share, including products from RoC, SkinCeuticals and Vichy. Read on to find the retinol product that will kick off your own rejuvenation journey.