How to Choose the Best Retinol Product for You
If you’ve decided to incorporate retinol into your skin care routine (maybe you’ve read my posts about its anti-aging benefits?), but you’re not sure what to use, this post is for you! Here’s all the basic information you need to choose the best retinol product for you (including specific suggestions):
note: this post is about over-the-counter retinol products–if you’re considering a prescription retinoid, you’ll need to get it from a doctor. Just follow your doctor’s orders!
Although some skin is just too sensitive to handle retinol, most of us can deal with a 0.25 concentration. Start with this strength if you’re new to retinol. Try SkinMedica Retinol Complex 0.25 ($60.00).
Once your skin is used to a 0.25 strength retinol, you can work your way up to a higher concentration, like 0.5, if you want to. If your skin is oily or accustomed to strong treatments, you skip the 0.25 altogether and start with an 0.5 strength product like one of these:
If your skin is handling a 0.5 concentration well, you might consider trying a 1.0% retinol product because they are twice as strong. Try:
- SkinMedica Retinol Complex 1.0 ($90.00)
- SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 ($63.00)
- Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment ($55.00)
If you’re looking for retinol on a budget, try one of these :
- Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream – Night ($12.99)
- Olay Pro-X Deep Wrinkle Treatment ($23.99)
note: Although these products are affordable and effective, they don’t advertise the percentage of retinol in their formulas, which makes it difficult to adjust your retinol routine according to your skin’s reaction. If you can afford to, go with a product that tells you how much retinol is it in.
Whatever you choose, remember to give your skin time to adjust before you decide how it’s working for you. Retinol is an effective but harsh ingredient, so you should use it consistently for four to six weeks before you judge the results. And don’t be surprised if you experience side effects like dryness or peeling–they’re normal.