Happy National Retinol Day!

by Christopher Ehlers

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday November 8, 2022

Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of skincare has probably heard about the skin-transforming benefits of retinol. Along with Vitamin C and sunscreen, it's one of the three holy trinity skincare products that ought to be a staple in everyone's routine.

A derivative of vitamin A, retinoids come in both prescription and over-the-counter strengths, and are primarily used to address concerns like acne, wrinkles, pores, pigmentation, dullness, and collagen production. In short, it's a wonder product that will bring about dramatic results for anyone willing to stay consistent with it. Of course, it takes some adjusting to, and a slow start will help mitigate some of the side effect that come with retinol use, like flaking, dryness, skin purging, and increased sensitivity to the sun.

If you're not ready to see a dermatologist to get prescription retinol, here are some EDGE-approved retinols you can add to your cart tonight.

Peter Thomas Roth PRO Strength Retinoid Peptide Serum

If you don't have a retinol prescription from your dermatologist, there are still a slew of effective options that you can pick up yourself, like this powerhouse formulation from Peter Thomas Roth. Combining 10% granactive retinol with a 5% peptide complex, this product does a great job of reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Furthermore, it contains ceramides and lipids to restore moisture and minimize the potential for irritation and dryness. $110, peterthomasroth.com.

OBAGI Clinical Retinol 0.5 Retexturizing Cream

If you're new to retinol, starting with a lower dose is the way to go, and this OBAGI Clinical classic is a foolproof way to get started. This contains entrapped retinol, which is essentially time-released, which cuts down on irritation. In addition to chamomile, green tea, and white tea extracts to soothe the skin, it contains hyaluronic acid, which adds an instant boost of hydration. Once you make it through one entire tube of 0.5% retinol, you should be able to upgrade to a 1.0% formula. $61, lovelyskin.com.

Dr. Dennis Gross Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Overnight Wrinkle Treatment

This is a powerful retinol serum that harnesses the power of both retinol and bakuchiol to transform the skin. Bakuchiol is a popular retinol alternative that is shown to be as effective as retinol without the irritation. By combining it with retinol in one serum, collagen production is further boosted, and wrinkles and sun damage will be lessened exponentially. Not only does this serum work, but it works fast in comparison to other over-the-counter retinols that I've tried. $85, sephora.com.

Shani Darden Retinol Reform Treatment Serum

Created by celebrity skincare guru to the stars Shani Darden, this is the product that put her on the map. Containing encapsulated retinol to minimize irritation, this serum is super gentle, and is the perfect retinol product for those with extremely sensitive skin. $88, sephora.com.

SkinMedica Retinol Complex 1.0

Either the 0.5 or the 1.0 retinols from SkinMedica are worth the splurge, but the 1.0 is a worthy product if your skin is ready for it. While a lot of high-dose retinols cause flaking, redness, and irritation, this formulation — from the makers of Botox — contains antioxidants to soothe the skin and bisabolol to calm inflammation and irritation. And with one pump for your entire face every four days, this product will last for a while. $96, lovelyskin.com.

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream

When Drunk Elephant was first launched, their anti-retinol stance made them something of an outlier in the skincare community. Thankfully, they eventually came around and removed retinol from their infamous hit list of ingredients to avoid. The result? This terrific retinol serum that utilizes a triple peptide blend to firm and strengthen while the retinol does the heavy lifting. $74, sephora.com.

Kiehl's Retinol Fast Release Wrinkle-Reducing Night Serum

For anyone seeking a quick, visible reduction in fine lines, wrinkles, and deep wrinkles, Kiehl's new Retinol Fast Release Wrinkle-Reducing Night Serum is the way to go. A clinically-tested formula that penetrates up to 15 surface layers deep to begin accelerating skin surface turnover, this product visibly improves the skin's appearance in as early as five days. $80, kiehls.com.