5 beauty editor-approved retinol creams

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Elizabeth Bennett

Looking to invest in a retinol? These are the expert formulas we love. 

When it comes to hyped-up skincare ingredients, there is one that really deserves the buzz. We are, of course, talking about 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. 

But retinol’s benefits stretch beyond this: in the short-term, it can also unclog pores, fight spots and boost brightness levels.

Introducing retinol 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 retinoids 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 for beginners: 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.


Best for adult acne: 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.


Best for sensitive skin: Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil

Combining a powerful retinol complex with skin soothing chamomile and blue tanzy, this serum reduces signs of ageing while minimizing sensitivity and inflammation.


Best if you’re on a budget: 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.


Best for pay day: 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.


Main image: Unsplash 


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