Retinol Redux

In the skin-care arena, perhaps no other ingredient takes the prize for packing a very serious anti-aging punch than that derivative of vitamin A, retinol. And, for all its time-tested benefits, this “gold standard” of youth just seems to be getting better, as more formulations featuring extra bonuses for your skin hit the scene.

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1/10

The Less-Irritating Version

Coined a “less-irritating” version of retinol, Le Mieux Retinol Serum combines the age-fighting power of peptides with tocotrienols, a potent form of antioxidant-boosting vitamin E, into one multitasking product.

What makes it different: According to Janel Luu, CEO of Le Mieux, besides boasting a lower level of harshness typically associated with retinol, the serum uses three different vehicles to stabilize the star ingredient, which allows it to deliver a higher concentration of pure retinol deep into the epidermis.

2/10

The Dark-Spot Diminisher

With a proprietary Retinol 8 that the company claims increases collagen production while reducing fine lines and wrinkles, Verso Dark Spot Fix does what its name suggestions: Goes to work on unwanted hyperpigmentation and dark patches due to age, sun and even acne damage.

What makes it different: The company’s proprietary version of retinol is pretty potent but its inclusion of skin-soothing niacinamide, and curcumin and turmeric, a spice-based duo that delivers antioxidant protection, makes this concentrated corrector a must.

3/10

The Major Multitasker

Supercharged skin-care powerhouse Strivectin somehow manages to introduce new versions of retinol on the regular. Its latest rollout: The innovative AR Advanced Retinol Concentrated Serum—a multitasking active ingredient–packed product that promises to decrease pore size, increase radiance and help firm skin, all while delivering that anti-aging retinol punch.

What makes it different: Containing the highest level of retinol in the brand’s collection, this super serum also utilizes the company’s patented NIA-114 technology to boost the age-fighting performance.

4/10

The Radiance Revealer

Loaded with hard-hitting ingredients and luxuriously fragranced and formulated (seriously, every product in the line feels and smells good), Colleen Rothschild Retinol Treatment Complex combines retinol with skin-calming bisabolol so your complexion looks radiant, but never red.

What makes it different: According to the company, this tube takes on the highest level of retinol you can get without a prescription.

5/10

The Oily-Skin Stopper

Yes, there’s retinol 11 but Bioelements Oil Control Sleepwear also features the special ingredient of nordihydroguaiaretic acid, a proven oil reducer that has antioxidant properties as well. Like the name suggests, it does its magic while you sleep, so you fight wrinkles and wake up to a glowing, yet shine-free, face.

What makes it different: Call us fanatics for a good fragrance, but this is one of the few retinol-based products we’ve seen that also contains mood-calming essential oils for a full-on aromatic experience.
6/10

The Makeup Fix

With a fresh scent and a superlightweight texture, Rouge Bunny Rouge Prelude in the Clouds sinks into skin on contact for that kind of perfect airbrushed look only makeup can provide (albeit magically, minus the color). Besides being an A-plus primer, it’s also a pretty serious skin care product that feeds the skin with vitamin E, sea buckthorn berry extract and skin-improving retinol.

What makes it different: You can wear it under makeup to cover and correct at the same time.

7/10

The Hydration Helper

Created by a derm and with a you-will-see-it-working-in-less-than-two-weeks window to boot, MD Complete Advanced Wrinkle Remover contains pure retinol, peptides and collagen-boosting vitamin C—a highly potent and supremely hydrating mix that you can feel.

What makes it different: The company warns that you might experience some skin flaking with this (almost akin to a mild peel), a sign that you know the product is going to work on cell turnover.

8/10

The Crease Ceaser

Tallying in at three types of retinol in one tube, Dermelect Outcrease Retinol Trifecta Serum is safe to use on all skin types to refine skin’s texture, restore clarity and improve firmness.

What makes it different: The three forms of retinol make this highly effective treatment leave no sign of aging forgotten.

9/10

The Natural Option

For those that prefer a supermoisturizing option as you sleep, Goldfaden Wake Up Call mixes retinol with skin-plumping CoQ10 and DMAE, plus nourishing vitamin E, avocado and grapeseed oils.

What makes it different: The product has natural ingredients, plus some hard-hitting actives.

10/10

The Skin Refiner 

Amarte Wonder Cream’s unique formulation of nano-encapsulated retinol, mushroom emollient and multitasking sulfur gives skin a supple look while it calms and brightens.

What makes it different: The product also contains pearl powder and caviar extract, which, when mixed with retinol, leave the skin with that everyone-wants-it ‘glow.’