Getting old is inevitable; you can’t stop it, but you can definitely slow down signs of aging skin with the help of skincare products like retinol. If you deal with dry skin, wrinkles, and fine lines, retinol can help rejuvenate your skin by boosting up your skin’s collagen and elastin production. Not only that but, retinol can also help brighten dark spots and control acne by clearing out your pores.
That's why we did our research and put together some of the best retinol for wrinkles. Our top pick is Neutrogena's Rapid Wrinkle Repair. Aside from its 0.30 percent retinol to rejuvenate your skin, it also has SPF 30 for sun protection. If this isn’t quite for you, we still have nine other great options, so keep scrolling to find the product for you! If you still need more tips and information to help you decide, check out the buying guide we prepared for you.
Dr. Levy is a board certified dermatologist practicing in NYC and Westport, Connecticut. She has expertise in treating inflammatory skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. She has an interest in skincare and takes a personalized approach to all of her patients.
mybest US' editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in the US in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
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Table of Contents
Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A that's often found in skincare products. This vitamin is commonly used to help reduce wrinkles and treat acne, making it great for aging and acne-prone skin.
It helps reduce wrinkles by speeding up the production of collagen and elastin in the skin. Unfortunately, as we get older, we produce less collagen and elastin. This makes our skin less elastic, more fragile, and appear more wrinkled.
Retinols help with these issues by neutralizing free radicals and thickening the epidermis of your skin. This plumping effect helps control issues like fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and visible pores. Not only that, but it can also help clear out pores to avoid breakouts and lighten acne marks.
You can incorporate retinol in your skincare after cleansing your face. However, it is recommended that you moisturize after application. It’s also important to note that this product is sensitive to light and the sun, so the best time to apply it is at night to avoid unnecessary sun damage.
Retinols are the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) product in an anti-aging routine. Retinols and their prescription counterpart, retinoids, help with fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and skin turnover.
When used appropriately, retinols can make a huge difference in skin texture and tone. They are a long-term treatment and do not produce results in a few uses. It usually takes six to eight weeks of consistent use to notice any effect. Retinols can be used by pretty much any age group.
Adding retinol to your routine can be quite intimidating, so to help you make the right decision, go through this buying guide we prepared for you.
Retinols come in different forms. For people with dry skin, retinol serums are ideal. These often include moisturizing ingredients that prevent moisture loss and keep your skin soft.
Hydrating ingredients found in retinol creams are especially helpful because retinol tends to cause your skin to peel, dry, and flake when you first start using it. Oily skin actually creates more oil when it's dehydrated, so if you have this skin type, aim for a retinol cream.
In addition, retinol serums usually contain more active ingredients that address acne-prone skin concerns. As these serums are thin and light, they can be great for breakouts. You can also find water-based serums that won’t leave your skin feeling sticky.
If you have dry skin, using a retinol serum form may allow it to tolerate the retinol content better. Cream forms are good for oilier to normal or combination skin. This is because creams can be more drying than serums.
You should always use a moisturizer with both a serum or cream form of retinoid to combat any dryness a retinol may cause.
It’s essential to pay attention to the percentage of retinol because, as mentioned earlier, it tends to cause your skin to dry up, peel, and flake. So you want to be careful, especially if you’re just starting to incorporate it into your routine.
If you're a beginner or have dry and sensitive skin, it’s best to go for low-strength retinol of about 0.01 to 0.03 percent. This way, your skin can get used to the product and build up a tolerance to it. You can start by applying it two times a week.
Moderate strength retinols range from 0.04 to 0.1 percent. These are great for people with an uneven complexion, textured skin, or fine lines and wrinkles. You can apply moderate retinol about two to three times a week.
People with aging skin, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation can go for high-strength retinols from 0.3 to one percent. This can help rejuvenate and brighten your skin more quickly. Still, your skin needs to get used to retinol before getting to this concentration.
Start low and slow when you add a retinol to your routine. Using a lower concentration a few times a week can help your skin get used to the retinol. Then, you can work up to nightly use of the lower concentration.
When you want a stronger percentage of retinol, you may need to scale back your application to a few times a week until your skin gets used to the higher concentration. Always use a lower concentration retinol around the eyes.
To help with wrinkles, look for retinol creams and serums formulated with additional ingredients that can help reduce wrinkles and aid aging skin. As we get older, our skin gets drier, which is why choosing retinol with highly moisturizing ingredients is essential.
Some highly moisturizing ingredients you can find are ceramides, hyaluronic acid, plant butters, and oils. Ceramides help hydrate and restore your skin’s protective barrier that locks in moisture in the skin. Glycerin, a type of sugar alcohol, can also help your skin retain moisture.
Meanwhile, hyaluronic acid is also known for helping your skin retain moisture. It helps keep your face moisturized, plump, and smooth. Plus, this ingredient can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Some other moisturizing ingredients you should look for are plant butters and oils, like cocoa butter, shea butter, and jojoba oil. These ingredients can soothe and hydrate your skin by covering the skin with a protective film to trap moisture.
Retinols aren't the only ingredient that can help with wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid not only helps wrinkles but helps combat the dryness retinol may induce.
Hyaluronic acid can also give an immediate skin-plumping effect and a dewy finish. Retinols can be drying, so using a product that has hyaluronic acid or glycerin will be beneficial for your skin.
While retinols work well with SPF and moisturizing ingredients, there are some ingredients that you should avoid. As mentioned earlier, retinols can cause dryness and redness. You don’t want to make this worse by using more drying products.
Some ingredients you should avoid are vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, AHA acids, and BHA acids. Exfoliants like AHA and BHA can cause your skin to dry out and become irritated, while benzoyl peroxide cancels out the effects of retinol.
Vitamin C should be avoided or be used in the morning instead because it does the opposite of retinol. While retinol repairs the skin and boosts collagen production, vitamin C protects the skin and works best in the morning.
Use your retinol at night, as the UV rays you're exposed to in the daytime can inactive the retinol and make it ineffective.
If you do want to use AHAs or BHAs, I recommend alternating them between retinol uses if you want to get the benefit of both products.
You could use a glycolic-based wash, however, in combination with a retinol if your skin is oily and can tolerate both of these together.
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Rapid Wrinkle Repair
SPF 30 For Sun Protection
Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle
Shea Butter and Glycerin for Maximum Hydration
Fragrance-Free Retinol Cream in Convenient Packaging
Regenerist Retinol Moisturizer
Softens Skin and Smooths Wrinkles and Fine Lines
Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum｜90 capsules
Ceramide-Infused Retinol Capsules
Retinol Youth Renewal Serum
Bring Back Your Skin's Elasticity and Firmness
Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment
Addresses Skin Concerns Like Acne and Discoloration
The Inkey List
Retinol Anti-Aging Serum
Formulated With Hydrating Squalane
A-Passioni Retinol Cream
Retinol and Vitamin F Smooth Aging Skin
Effectively Fights Signs of Aging Skin
This moisturizer has retinol to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It also contains highly moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin. On top of these beneficial ingredients, the product also has SPF 30 to protect your skin from sun damage.
Some buyers complained that the product caused redness. Meanwhile, most buyers agreed that this retinol cream made their skin smoother. They also said it was light, non-greasy, and moisturized their face well.
RoC's retinol cream works well for reducing wrinkles and fine lines. This product contains retinol to boost collagen production, while shea butter and glycerin moisturize dull or dry skin. Plus, it has a non-greasy and non-comedogenic formula.
A handful of buyers were disappointed to note that the product gave them a burning and stinging sensation. So, make sure to do a patch test. Besides this, people with aging skin loved how the product makes their skin soft and firm fairly quickly, sometimes within a week. They also said it gives them a healthy glow.
If you're sensitive to scents, go for this fragrance-free retinol cream. This cream is formulated with retinol that reduces acne, wrinkles, and dark spots. It also comes with hydrating hyaluronic acid. Plus, it has green tea, aloe vera, and chamomile to nourish and soothe skin.
Some reviewers found this cream irritating, so you may want to do a patch test if you have sensitive skin. Still, many reviewers loved how moisturizing it is. They said it helps lighten dark spots and makes their skin feel tight and firm.
This retinol night moisturizer from Olay is formulated without fragrances, mineral oil, and synthetic dyes. It has a lightweight formula that will smooth your skin, brighten dark spots, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Plus, it contains niacinamide that helps your skin retain moisture.
A few buyers said this cream made their skin red and irritated. Meanwhile, many happy users noted that it's easy to apply and lightweight. They also loved how the cream makes their skin look soft, supple, and hydrated.
This retinol comes in capsules that keep the serum away from light and air to ensure it stays potent and fresh. This serum can reduce wrinkles, but it also moisturizes your skin with ceramides. It contains sunflower seed oil with anti-inflammatory properties, and avocado oil that promotes collagen production, too.
A few buyers were disappointed, saying that it seems to take a long time to see results. Yet, many pleased buyers shared that it's lightweight, moisturizing, and easy to use. They also said it absorbs into the skin quickly and helps reduce wrinkles.
Murad's serum is filled with ingredients that will fight off signs of aging. It has retinol to smooth and prevent fine lines and wrinkles. Plus, Swertia flower extract makes your skin stronger and more elastic, while hyaluronic acid keeps your skin plump and hydrated.
A few buyers complained that the formula caused breakouts. Still, the majority were impressed that it evens out their skin tone, improves texture, and softens wrinkles when consistently used. Buyers also loved that this serum restored their skin's firmness.
This retinol cream has a concentration of one percent that will brighten dull skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It is also formulated with beneficial ingredients like oat, willow bark, and licorice extracts to soothe redness and discoloration. It also has peptides for stronger and firmer skin.
A few reviewers noted that it caused redness and dryness the first few times they used it. Meanwhile, the majority raved about how this cream made their skin plumper, clearer, and softer. They also liked that it's light and doesn't make their skin sticky or greasy.
Aging skin and wrinkles can sometimes mean dry and dull skin, which is why this retinol serum might be the one for you. It contains one percent retinol that targets fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. The serum is also formulated with squalane that can help the skin become softer and smoother.
A few reviewers did not like how this serum smells. However, most buyers said it made their skin soft and smooth just after a few uses. They also loved how it reduces wrinkles and dark spots.
Drunk Elephant's vegan one percent retinol cream helps with fine lines, wrinkles, and discoloration. In addition, the cream is made with peptides to help firm skin. It also has vitamin F, which consists of fatty acids that make skin smoother and softer.
Some users were disappointed that this cream made their acne worse. Yet, many shared that the retinol cream isn't greasy and leaves their skin soft and bright. They also noticed it makes their fine lines and wrinkles less apparent.
Infused with jojoba, shea butter, and hyaluronic acid, this retinol cream can give your skin long-lasting hydration. In addition, it's formulated with one percent retinol to lessen the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and discoloration.
Although a few buyers said the mouth on the tube easily gets clogged, most buyers were content with this cream's non-drying and lightweight formula. They said it made their textured skin smoother without irritating it. Reviewers also reported that it made fine lines and pores less noticeable.
Dr. Levy says, "Retinols make you photosensitive. This means that even with minimal sun exposure, you may get a sunburn. You must use a daily sunscreen when using retinol products. Even a small amount of sun exposure or a long ride in the car in a sunny place can give you a burn when using these products."
She goes on to add, "Retinols need to be used properly in order to get the most benefit. Use a pea-sized amount on a clean and dry face. Follow up with a hyaluronic acid serum or cream-based moisturizer over the retinol.
If you notice any irritation, redness, or burning skin for a few nights in a row, put a hold on your retinol use. You can start up again once the symptoms have faded. When you start using it again, apply the retinol only a few times a week before working up to nightly application."
It can be a struggle trying to find products that work well with dry and mature skin. Don't worry, though; we’ve got you covered! Here are some products that can help address aging skin concerns.
This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
No. 1: Neutrogena｜ Rapid Wrinkle Repair
No. 2: RoC｜Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle
No. 3: Advanced Clinicals｜Retinol Cream
No. 4: Olay｜Regenerist Retinol Moisturizer
No. 5: Elizabeth Arden｜Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum｜90 capsules
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