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Retinol skincare: 5 of the best beauty editor-approved retinol creams and serums for your face

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Looking to invest in a retinol? Whether you’re on a budget, have sensitive skin or haven’t tried it before these are the expert formulas we love.

When it comes to skincare ingredients, there are only a few that are scientifically proven to make a tangible difference. The first is vitamin C, the second is SPF and the third is retinol. 

A derivative of vitamin A, this wonder ingredient can significantly improve cell turnover and collagen production. Subsequently, it’s one of the most effective ways to both prevent and diminish the signs of skin ageing – particularly fine lines and discolouration. 

However, retinol’s benefits stretch beyond just those things: in the short-term, it can also unclog pores, fight spots and help boost brightness levels.

Introducing it into your routine may seem intimidating at first, as it can cause flaking and sensitivity if overused, but there really is one to suit everyone. Just remember, start with a low percentage or build it into your regime slowly by using once or twice a week.

When it comes to choosing a product, not all are made equal – so if you’re looking for a reliable formula, you’ve come to the right place. Scroll down to see our favourites.  

  • Best retinol to use during the day

    Medik8 R Retinoate Youth Activating Cream
    Best Retinol: Medik8 R Retinoate Youth Activating Cream

    The Rolls-Royce of retinol, this award-winning formulation has been eight years in the making. Containing the widely patented molecule retinyl retinoate, you can expect seriously impressive results.

    Medik8 R-Retinoate Youth Activating Cream, £135

  • Best retinol for adult acne

    Paula’s Choice Clinical 1 Retinol Treatment
    Best Retinol: Paula’s Choice Clinical 1 Retinol Treatment

    Combining retinol with a cocktail of potent antioxidants, this lightweight lotion is ideal for simultaneously tackling blemishes and fine lines.

    Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment, £53

  • Best retinol for beginners

    Skinceuticals Retinol 0.3
    Best Retinol: Skinceuticals Retinol 0.3

    If you’re new to retinol it’s safest to start with a lower percentage and work up to a higher one as your skin adapts. A product with 0.3% retinol, like this one from Skinceuticals, is a great starting point.

    Skinceuticals Retinol 0.3 Refining Night Treatment, £65

  • Best affordable retinol

    The Ordinary Retinol 1 in Squalane
    Best Retinol: The Ordinary Retinol 1 in Squalane

    Thanks to game-changing beauty brand The Ordinary, hardworking ingredients no longer cost the earth. This water and silicone-free formula features a highly stable retinol that will encourages cell turnover to reveal healthier and softer skin.

    The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane, £5.80

  • Best retinol eye cream

    Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum
    Best Retinol: Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum

    Specifically formulated to be used around the delicate eye area, this potent serum helps to diminish fine lines and wrinkles, while also working to treat dark circles and improving firmness.

    Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum, £65

Main image: Unsplash 

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