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The 20 Best Retinol Serums, Creams, and Treatments for Every Skin Type

Skincare innovations often come at the speed of an iPhone update, and smart new technology emerges every time you blink. That being said, finding the best retinol serum or cream is understandable. But this anti-aging ingredient shouldn’t be done halfway. First used in an over-the-counter ointment’38s, this A potent form of Vitamin A revered for its proven youthful boost – boosting results.

Best Retinol Serums and Creams

  • Best Retinol for Mature Skin : Lancer Advanced Retinol Treatment, $
    Optimal Retinol Cream : SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3, $39

  • Best Retinol Serum: Sunday Riley A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum, $73
  • Best Drugstore: RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Cream, $
  • Best Retinol for Beginners : Glossier Universal Pro-Retinol, $
  • Best Retinol for Pigmentation: Epi.Logic Double Feature Overnight, $79
  • Best Retinol Oil : 70Skin Celestial Black Diamond Vision Yellow alcohol oil, $83

    “Retinol sends your body Signals your body to produce collagen and new cells for firmer, smoother skin while reducing hyperpigmentation and clogged pores,” says dermatologist Dr. Anne Chapas, it’s multitasking. Still, the superhero ingredient has its downsides, namely that it can cause dryness and irritation, especially during the colder months, and tend to become unstable (and therefore ineffective) in the presence of oxygen and light.

    That is, until now. The best retinol creams out there feature smart time-release technology, anti-inflammatory peptides, super-hydrating moisturizers, and even vacuum-pump packaging to keep the ingredients fresh in the lab. Whether you choose a lightweight serum or a fine line softening cream, they’ll fit into any antiaging routine, from those prone to acne to those with sensitive skin. Rotate these products throughout the year, or use them once or twice a week for rejuvenation—and watch the changes in your skin. Read on to find Vogue Editors’ Best Retinol Treatments, Rounding Up Dermatology Doctors and our editors – as well as some important ingredient labeling and application best practices.

    Best Retinol Serum

    Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum

    Sunday Riley A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum

  • Why We Love It : Sunday Riley The serum is powered by a 6.5% potent solution of a stabilized retinoid blend and plant retinol replacement extracts to deliver the best vitamin A derivatives—working in synergy with conditioning ingredients to keep skin calm and balanced. With consistent use, expect an even, youthful complexion.
  • Main ingredients : depending on Retinol Esters Blend 5%, Liposomally Encapsulated Retinol Blend 1%, Blue Green Algae 0.5%, Coenzyme Q , Hawaiian White Honey
  • Best for : Fine lines, dark spots, dry skin, enlarged pores
  • When to Apply : Apply one to two pumps per night, according to Sunday Riley . For those with sensitive skin, use a moisturizing oil.

    Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment

    Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment

  • Why We Love It : This Paula’s Choice promotes firmer, radiant skin Skin that combats irritation or redness with its ingredients in a supercharged blend—powered by high-concentration, controlled-release retinol.
  • Main ingredients : 1 % Retinol, Vitamin C, Licorice Extract Best for : Wrinkles, fine lines When to use : Apply to face and neck up to 3 times per week, according to Paula’s choice. Wear sunscreen during the day.

    Augustinus Bader Retinol Serum

    Augustinus Bader Retinol Serum

  • Why We Love It: Augustinus Bader Retinol Serum Liquid is one of the newest formulas on the market, with a fantastic lightweight texture that conditions skin while reducing the look of fine lines, blemishes and hyperpigmentation issues – powered by the acclaimed TFC8 you’ve come to expect from the brand support. When used at night, skin feels soft, smooth and firm even in the morning.
  • Main ingredients: 0 .% pure retinoid Alcohol, a zinc complex, plant extracts (manuka, black pepper and magnolia), marine ectoine, Japanese knotweed extract, TFC8
  • BEST FOR: Wrinkles, Fine Lines, Blemishes, Hyperpigmentation, Oily Skin, Dry skin
  • when to use: According to Augustinus Bader, apply this serum to the face, neck and décolletage.

    Lancer Advanced Retinol Treatment

    Lancer Advanced Retinol Treatment

  • Why We Love It: Advanced Plant-derived retinol, also known as bakuchiol, works with collagen to soften the overall appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while prickly pear extract plumps skin for a dewy, hydrated appearance in Dr. Lancer’s treatment. Smooth gloss. It also includes the brand’s CoRetinol technology, which takes skin softness to a whole new level and improves skin’s overall elasticity. Prickly pears are the cherry on top of this volumizing formula.
  • Main ingredients: Co-retinol technology (1.% Retinol, Bakuchiol & Soy Complex), Cactus Extract, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Squalane
  • Best for : Wrinkles, fine lines, uneven texture, dryness, dullness
  • When to Apply : According to Lancer, apply a thin layer of this treatment (using upward strokes) to the face, neck and décolletage .

    SkinMedica Anti-Aging Retinol Complex 1.0

    SkinMedica Anti-Aging Retinol Complex 1.0

    • Why We Love It

    : Designed to improve skin tone, texture and elasticity, SkinMedica’s treatments are thoughtful additions to any skincare routine. Retinol works with an antioxidant complex to smooth the look of severe wrinkles and fade dark spots to improve your complexion over time. Main ingredients: Retinol, a PhytoShield Complex (antioxidant rich)

  • Best for : Wrinkles, Fine Lines, Hyperpigmentation, Large Pores
  • When to Apply : According to SkinMedica, apply this throughout the night and wash your face, starting two to three days apart between treatments.

    Shani Darden Retinol Repair Serum

    Shani Dutton Retinol Repair Serum
    • Why We Love It : Celebrity esthetician Shani Darden created this serum as a gentle retinol solution. With its rich blend of Retinol and AHAs, expect firmer, smoother skin without annoying irritation or sensitivity.
  • Main ingredients: Encapsulated Retinol, Lactic Acid, Apple Fruit Extract
  • Best for
  • : Sensitive skin, fine lines, wrinkles, unevenness, dullness

  • When to use : According to Shani Darden Skin Care, apply two to three pumps to the face and neck at night. The brand advises not to use it with other AHA products.

    Epi.Logic Dual Action Retinol + AHA Overnight Facial

    Epi.Logic Dual Action Retinol + AHA Overnight Facial
    • Why We Love It

    : Epi from board-certified oculofacial plastic surgeon Dr. Chaneve Jeanniton. The Logic line introduces powerful nighttime treatments – specially formulated for dark and brown skin tones. The aptly named Double Feature combines the best of retinol and exfoliating acids to keep skin smooth and even. Main ingredients : Extended Release, Encapsulated Retinol and Vitamin A Retinoids, Lactic Acid, Mateic Acid, Melatonin

  • Best for : Hyperpigmentation, Fine Lines, Large Pores, Dryness
  • When to Apply : According to Epi.Logic, use a pea-sized amount once a week to two times, and then gradually increase the frequency according to your preference.

    RéVive Peau Magnifique Serum

    RéVive Peau Magnifique Serum

    • Why We Love It : Dr. Gregory Bays Brow’s award-winning skincare brand, RéVive, presents this resurfacing serum enriched with retinol, peptidases and antioxidants. The blend of Magnifique Serum is known to improve skin’s firmness and plumpness in just 4 weeks, leaving the complexion looking younger than ever.

  • Main ingredients : Retinol, Bio-Regenerating, Bio-Firming and Bio-Plumping Peptides
  • Best for : Wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, uneven texture, dry skin, dullness
  • When to Apply: According to RéVive, apply one to two drops to the face, neck, and neck, shoulders and hands.
  • Glossier Universal Pro-Retinol

    Glossier Universal Pro- Retinol
    • Why We Love It: Want that signature Glossier glow? Be sure to add its retinol treatment to your cart. Designed to benefit both old and new users of vitamin A derivatives, this comprehensive treatment targets every sign of aging, from fine lines to uneven texture and blemishes.
  • Main ingredients: 0.5% retinyl helanate (retinol derivative of retinol and sunflower fatty acids), stevia extract, mondo grass root extract
  • Best for: beginners, fine lines, enlarged pores, blemishes
  • When to use: According to Glossier, use pea nightly Size up this treatment and then use a moisturizer. The brand recommends starting with one or two times a week and gradually increasing the frequency to your liking.

    Common Heir 0.2% Retinol Serum

    Common Heir 0.2% Retinol Serum

    • Why we love it: Want to make sure your retinol is as effective as it is on the pack? Just look no further than Common Heir’s serum in hand capsules. The formula is designed for beginners (or those with sensitive skin), and it’s even tested on darker skin types. Taken together, this is a safe choice for improving firmness and skin clarity for any user.
  • Main ingredients : Asia Retinyl Oleate, Squalane, Seaweed Oil, Astragalus (Astragalus), Watercress
  • Best for : Beginners, Sensitive Skin, Dry Skin, Fine Lines, Inflammation
  • When to Apply : According to Co-Heir, unscrew the capsule and squeeze the serum onto the fingers tip. Use nightly before other active ingredients.

    Best Retinol Face Cream

    SkinCeutical Visible Retinol 0.3

    Skincare Visible Retinol 0.3

      • Why We Love It: SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3 is a favorite of dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe , a less invasive version of the brand’s original popular retinol formula, even contains bisabolol (a chamomile extract) to help soothe skin irritations. Not to mention, this retinol utilizes steady release technology to optimize your treatment.
    • Main ingredient : 0.3 % Pure Retinol, Bisabolol (from Chamomile Plant), Boswellia Extract (from Frankincense)
    • Best for : fine lines, dark spots, acne
  • When to Apply: According to SkinCeuticals, apply at night with a pea-sized amount Apply to skin. The brand recommends using it once or twice a week and gradually increasing the frequency to your liking.

    RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Max Moisturizer

    RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Max Moisturizer

    • Why we love it : “Using a retinol cream provides many skin benefits, including increased skin cell turnover and the removal of dead skin cells cells to reveal healthy new skin cells,” says dermatologist Michelle Green, MD. She recommends RoC Retinol Correxion Max Hydration Cream because it “delivers the anti-aging benefits of retinol with the ultra-hydrating and soothing properties of hyaluronic acid.”
  • Main ingredients : Retinol, hyaluronic acid
  • Best for: Dry skin, wrinkled
  • When to apply : According to RoC, apply this to face and neck morning or evening. In the morning, sunscreen should be applied after face cream.

    Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream

    Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Frost

    • Why We Love It

    : Drunk Elephant’s lightweight A-Passioni has multiple advantage. Formulated with 1% vegan retinol, the cream exfoliates and erases any wrinkles, pollution or UV damage like dark spots, while Vitamin F soothes the skin barrier, making it a great choice for those with sensitive skin.

  • Main ingredients : 1% Retinol, Peptide, Winter Juice, Kale Leaf Extract, Vitamin F, Lutein, Vegetable Oil (Virgin Marula, Passion Fruit, Apricot and Jojoba Oil)
  • BEST FOR : Pigmentation problems, bumps Uneven texture, dullness, sensitivity
  • : According to Drunk Elephant, use a pea-sized amount in the morning to cleanse skin and at night. The brand recommends starting with one or two times a week and gradually increasing the frequency to your liking.

    Avène Retrinal 0.1 Intense Face Cream

    Avène Retrinal 0.1 Powerful face cream

    • Why We Love It: Avène RétrinAL 0.1 Intense Cream with No Pump bottle with retinaldehyde, a less-irritating form of vitamin A that stimulates cell renewal and collagen synthesis, while French thermal ingredient spring water provides anti-inflammatory benefits, even for those with very sensitive skin in this way.
  • Main ingredients : Retinal, Vitamin E, Elastin Propeptide, Avène Thermal Spring Water
  • Best for : Wrinkles When to Apply : According to Avène, it’s best applied to the face, neck and décolletage at night, before applying sunscreen in the morning.

    La Roche-Posay Redermic R Retinol Cream

    La Roche-Posay Redermic R Retinol Cream

  • Why we love it: La Roche-Posay’s Redermic R Retinol Cream contains not only pure retinol, but also skin exfoliators and soothing antioxidants to reduce the signs of aging without irritating sensitive skin.
  • Main ingredients : pure Retinol, Lipohydroxy Acid (LHA), Glycerin, La Roche-Posay Thermal Water Best for : Wrinkles, Fine Lines, Age Spots, Premature Sun Damage
  • When to Apply: According to La Roche-Posay, this cream should be applied on the face and neck at night— —Use alone or with moisturizer.

    Murad Retinol Youth Renewing Night Cream

    Murad Retinol Youth Renewing Night Cream

  • Why We Love It : Murad’s Night Treatment is infused with the brand’s Retinol Triple-Active Technology to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles Fine Lines and Wrinkles, with Red Algae (rich in peptides) to restore the elasticity your skin needs. Main ingredients: Retinol Triple-Active Technology (Retinoid, ER Retinol, and Retinol Booster), Niacinamide, and Dipeptide
  • Best for : Wrinkles, Dullness
  • When to Apply
  • : According to Murad, apply this cream to your face every night , neck and chest.

    Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Cream

  • Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Cream

  • Why We Love It : Neutrogena’s Rapid Wrinkle Repair Revitalizing Cream, Dermatologist Dr. Corey L. Hartman’s Pick, “uses hyaluronic acid to help hydrate skin ,” especially if you’re looking for a drugstore alternative or have sensitive skin—just look for the fragrance-free version. That said, its blend fights fine lines, dark spots, and dullness.
  • Main ingredients: Retinol, hyaluronic acid
  • best for : Dry skin, wrinkles, dark spots
  • He Apply as needed : According to Neutrogena, apply a pearl-sized amount of product to the face and neck twice daily. In the morning, apply sunscreen.

    Best Retinol Oil

    75Skin Celestial Black Diamond Retinol Oil


    3062981001938897870Skin Celestial Black Diamond Retinol Oil

  • Why do we Love it : Designed to optimize your beauty sleep, 73 Skin’s Celestial Black Diamond Oil promises to rejuvenate dull skin . Blemishes, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkles are just a few of the signs of aging, and it’s impossible to resist its luxurious blend. Main ingredients: 1% retinol, vegetable oil, diamond particles
  • most suitable : Wrinkles, Fine Lines, Age Spots
  • When to apply : According to 70 skin, apply two to three drops of the oil every night, 1 to 3 times, gradually increasing the frequency according to your preference. Apply SPF in the morning.

    La Prairie Caviar Night Cream



    0400012392292 La Prairie Caviar Essence Night Essence Oil

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: This face oil from La Prairie is luxurious . Fortunately, this oil is both effective and indulgent. Powered by caviar lipids and caviar-derived retinol, this promises to lift, smooth lines and lock in moisture overnight. Main ingredients: Caviar Lipids, Natural Retinol from Caviar, La Prairie Exclusive Cellular Complex Best for : Wrinkles, Fine Lines, Dry Skin
  • When to Apply: According to La Prairie, massage twice a night on the face and neck Drop four drops.
  • Evening Primrose Mara + Green Tea Algae Retinol Face Oil



    63165210220 Mara Evening Primrose + Green Tea® Algae Retinol Facial Oil

    • Why We Love It : Enriched with Algae Extract, Retinol and Natural Source Mara’s Retinol Oil is rich in Vitamin A, which reduces the appearance of wrinkles and protects the skin from Effects of harsh environmental stress. The formula also contains moisturizers and plumping agents to keep skin looking radiant.

    Key Ingredients: 1.2% Retinol, Fermented Green Tea, Kakai, Algae, Brown Seaweed, Evening Primrose

  • Best for : Wrinkles, fine lines, enlarged pores, uneven texture, dry, sensitive skin, acne-prone skin
  • When to Apply : According to Mara, apply at night Six to eight drops of essential oil, applied 2 to 3 times a week.

    How to use Retinol

    If you plan to use retinol in your daily routine, it is important to consider how it will affect your skin. Hartman says the ingredient is safe for all skin types and tones, but recommends that patients with rosacea or hypersensitive skin consider retinol alternatives so they don’t cause further irritation. Think gentle vitamin A derivatives like retinaldehyde, retinoic acid, and retinyl esters, or plant-based options like bakuchiol. What’s more, Green stresses that retinol is not safe for breastfeeding or pregnant women.

    Retinol vs. Retinoid vs. Tretinoin

    Those acclaimed ingredients are new to the world, probably need to be broken down. Are they the same? Do they work the same? What is the advantage of one over the other? To be clear, retinoids are an umbrella term for a group of molecules that react with retinoic acid receptors on the skin to address age spots, texture, and wrinkles. (Retinoic acid is the active form of retinoids that skin uses for anti-aging and acne-fighting.) “Retinoic acid in its pure form can be too harsh on the skin,” explains Green. “To combat potential irritation, scientists have developed other forms of retinoids that require an additional conversion step to gradually produce retinoic acid.” These milder solutions include retinol, retinoids, Isotretinoin (also called tretinoin), tazarotene, and adapalene. Below is a breakdown of the most common forms of vitamin A — along with some general guidance on choosing the best form of vitamin A for your skin type — courtesy of Green.

  • Retinoid
  • : Again, retinoid is a general term, Includes over-the-counter retinol and prescription-strength retinoids. “Sometimes, retinoids are used to describe Retin-A, or tretinoin, which is pure retinoic acid and requires a doctor’s prescription. Other types of retinoids, such as tazarotene, also require a prescription. Available without a prescription.” Retinol and adapalene are available over the counter. Retinol and adapalene are milder than prescription retinoids, making them ideal for dry, sensitive, or mature skin.”

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