best retinol serums

Wind Back Time with These 15 Retinol Serums

Fight against the signs of aging and target the most wrinkle-prone areas on the face, such as the eyes and the forehead, with these board-certified dermatologist-approved retinol serums. Tick, tock, tick, tock. There goes the clock. 

Whether you’re dealing with acne, enlarged pores, fine lines, dark circles, dark spots, drooping, or dullness – retinol serum is your saving grace solution to all skin problems. With regular use, the right retinol serum or cream will create a radiant finish. 

To give your face a real treat, check our reviews for the Best Facial Steamers, they are a vital part of any professional facial treatment which you can do at home. They are the ultimate skin decongestant tool, allowing any active ingredients you use on your face afterwards to more effectively sink into your skin.

What Is Retinol?

What is retinol? You may ask. Well, retinol is a metamorphic ingredient commonly known as vitamin A. It’s among an umbrella of other vitamin-A derivatives starting with the letter R, where retinol is a prime example of a retinoid.

The broad term for these potent A-based formulas is over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription (Rx) varieties. Retinoic acid restores the skin’s pH balance and pigment production.

It instantly fortifies and sticks to receptors on your skin cells, resulting in them acting more healthily with lesser dark spot formation and high-geared collagen synthesis for softer skin and smaller pores. This manner of order leads to innumerable improvements, such as normalized cell turnover for infallibly clear, radiant skin. 

Best Retinol Serums

Below we’ve compiled a list of the best retinol serums to fight against the signs of aging!

Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum

Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum - Smooths Lines and Wrinkles on Face and Neck - Gentle Anti-Aging Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Treatment Backed by Science

The powerful formula perfectly pumps up plumping, boosts radiance, smooths skin, and helps minimize wrinkles.

Dr Howard Murad, the brand’s founder, is frequently asked by his patients for retinol treatments – the ingredient is known for boosting skin’s youthfulness.

The Retinol Youth Renewal Serum offers anti-aging benefits without damage or dryness as years of research and innovation have enabled the creation of a formula that delivers its first dose of retinol instantly, and its second overtime to minimize irritation.

Dermalogica Retinol Acne Clearing Oil

Dermalogica Retinol Acne Clearing Oil

Argan, rosehip, and golden jojoba indulge in skin nourishment.

Dermalogica introduces the high-performance Retinol Clearing Oil, featuring the coveted vitamin that leaves skin softer, smoother, and even-toned.

Salicylic acid targets blemishes, while the main ingredient promotes a youthful appearance with a natural, healthy glow.

Kiehl’s Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum

Kiehl's Since 1851 Micro-Dose Anti-Aging Retinol Serum with Ceramides and Peptide

No skincare routine is complete without this hero ingredient.

Renowned for its unique formulations created using naturally derived ingredients. Kiehl’s offers high-quality skincare to its loyal devotees – this Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum is no exception.

Precisely formulated to deliver a daily-strength dose of pure retinol. This serum will help strengthen your skin’s barrier while promoting skin cell turnover for a truly gleaming, younger-looking complexion.

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane (30ml / 1 fl oz)

The tried and true fan-favorite –and for a good reason.

One thing’s for sure: you’ve never seen a retinoid quite like this affordable and effective  The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane.

Whether you opt for this or The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalene, they are interchangeable.

You may have heard of the phrase, and it gets worse before it gets better, which is often used when talking about retinoids, which are known to cause redness and irritation before revealing radiant results.

However, this isn’t the case with this serum, as it’s powered by a Granactive retinoid and squalane – a modern, next-generation retinoid to promote skin turnover and boost hydration, all without unwanted irritation.

The INKEY List Retinol Anti-Aging Serum

The INKEY List Retinol Anti-Aging Serum

Looking for an inexpensive yet effective retinol serum? Look no further than The INKEY List Retinol Anti-Aging Serum.

This super-concentrated serum does three key things: renew, resurface, and re-plump.

It’s formulated with a squalane, slow-release vitamin A infusion with one percent stabilized retinol and 0.5 percent Granactive retinoid that sinks into the skin to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

It glides onto the visage to reveal a more youthful result, with fine lines, wrinkles, and deeper folds appearing reduced.

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream

Possibly the most raved-about skincare launch in this lifetime – Drunk Elephant’s A-Passioni Retinol Cream is genuinely a Godsend for reactive skin types that want glossy, glowy skin without sacrificing comfort.

All the brand’s other skincare products cater to those with sensitive skin to have immediate flawless results minus the pain.

There are no “suspicious 6” ingredients, like SLS, fragrance, dyes, essential oils, silicones, chemical screens, and drying alcohols. There is even a non-irritating 1% retinol infused alongside calming kale, botanical extracts, passion fruit, cherry, and apricot.

It’s nutrient-rich, packed with powerful peptides and potent fatty acids, ensuring high-speed surface renewal, revved-up collagen regeneration, and nourishing an aging complexion. 

Shani Darden Retinol Reform Treatment Serum

Shani Darden Skin Care Retinol Reform® Treatment Serum

A potent formula that instantly transforms the skin.

Wake up to a smoother, younger-looking complexion with the Shani Darden Retinol Reform Treatment Serum.

The celebrity-favorite serum is powered by an encapsulated retinol, AHA, and Pyrus Malus (apple) fruit extract blend that will do wonders as you sleep, helping diminish the appearance of wrinkles.

Enriched with niacinamide, the formula strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier and improves the skin’s elasticity for a firmer and more youthful appearance.

Eva Lom Time Retreat Face Treatment

EVE LOM  Time Retreat Radiance Boost Treatment

Deeply absorbing and enriched with a super ingredient, retinol, this cream hydrates while rewinding the clock.

Eva Lom’s Time Retreat Eye Treatment is expertly formulated to target and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, its superior properties sinking into the skin to illuminate while simultaneously balancing the skin tone.

Fortified with encapsulated retinol, this deeply hydrating cream is fast absorbed into the skin to be plump and firm, creating a fresh and smooth complexion.

Medik8 Crystal Retinal 3

Medik8 Retinol 3 TR Filler

This isn’t your standard retinol. It’s the monster potent you can get without a prescription. It’s an innovative crystal retinal.

This cataclysmic crystal-encapsulated retinaldehyde formula works 11 times faster than basic retinol, thanks to its ability to transform into potent retinoic acid by the skin.

Despite the vitamin c blend, it does not irritate thanks to its built-in hyaluronic acid and vitamin E that replenishes and revitalizes your complexion.

Medik8 produces the serum in numerous strengths (ranging from 1 to 10). Number 3 is your saving grace for nutrient-rich medium strength with no irritations.

Step up your skincare routine with this Medik8 Crystal Retinal 3 that’s made for a true skin intellectual. It’s great for dry skin as it’s oil-based, causing it to soak up the skin to retain moisture and fight fine lines and wrinkles. 

Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum

Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinol Serum

This serum is infused with a 5% retinoid ester blend, 1% liposomal-encapsulated retinol blend, and 0.5% blue-green algae.

They say introducing a hard-working retinoid into your beauty ritual and expect your skincare game to level up. Sunday Riley’s A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum, for example, delivers a 6.5% solution of stabilized retinoid blends and botanical, retinol-alternative extracts into the complexion to target signs of aging and improve the appearance of congested and UV-damaged skin.

Plus, encapsulated CoQ10, Hawaiian white honey, bisabolol, cactus extract, and ginger balance and soothe for a calmer, even-toned, glistening visage.

Paula’s Choice 0.3 Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment

Paula's Choice Clinical 0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment

A bedside beauty essential.

Did you know that the skin is most active when you’re asleep, turning over cells, rebuilding collagen, and repairing damage from UV exposure? It’s during this time that the visage needs a little helping hand.

Paula’s Choice Clinical 0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment supports the skin from sundown to sunrise. Infused with a triple-action anti-aging complex – which includes retinol and plant-derived bakuchiol – to leave skin smoother and brighter by morning.

If you can’t find this in a store near you, another alternative would be the Paula’s Choice BOOST 1% Retinol Booster, which is perfect for skin discoloration or dark spots from sun damage without the peeling or resulting in dry patches in the end. 

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum 

CeraVe Retinol Serum for Post-Acne Marks and Skin Texture | Pore Refining, Resurfacing, Brightening Facial Serum with Retinol and Niacinamide | Fragrance Free, Paraben Free & Non-Comedogenic| 1 Oz

If you’re a retinol newbie, then better to start out with a simple, clean formula that will refine your face and won’t peel.

This remarkable CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum was expertly formulated with board-certified dermatologists and diminishes visible pores,  demolishes acne scars, destroys dullness, and delivers a delicate yet defined visage. 

Fragrance Free, Paraben Free & Non-Comedogenic.

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Anti-Wrinkle Retinol Cream + Hyaluronic Acid 

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Face Moisturizer, Daily Anti-Aging Face Cream with Retinol & Hyaluronic Acid to Fight Fine Lines, Wrinkles, & Dark Spots

This drugstore gem  Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Anti-Wrinkle Retinol Cream + Hyaluronic Acid  will be a staple in your skincare routine.

It’s yet another dermatologist-approved cream that plumps up the face and hydrates the skin from deep within, delivering a radiant finish perfect for those with sensitive skin. 

La Roche-Posay Retinol Face Serum with Vitamin B3

La Roche-Posay Pure Retinol Face Serum with Vitamin B3. Anti Aging Face Serum for Lines, Wrinkles & Premature Sun Damage to Resurface & Hydrate

the initial period.

The La Roche-Posay Retinol Face Serum with Vitamin B3 is perfect for retinol novices and veterans.

It’s expertly formulated with retinol, vitamin B3, and niacinamide to lock in moisture and not bother the skin. 

Differin Acne Treatment Gel

Acne Treatment Differin Gel, 90 Day Supply, Retinoid Treatment for Face with 0.1% Adapalene, Gentle Skin Care for Acne Prone Sensitive Skin

The over-the-counter, prescription-grade Differin Acne Treatment Gel will not only overtly treat acne but also inadvertently heal your skin.

It improves acne and unclogs pores thanks to its active retinol, an adapalene gel. It’s specifically made to change acne sufferers’ lives. 

If you are looking to reduce your visits to the beauty salon and want to try a different skin treatment at home.

We have also reviewed the Best Derma Rollers for Home Microneedling which leaves skin looking more youthful, with a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, firmer skin, and a more even texture and complexion.

Having a facial is such a luxurious experience, but we don’t all have the time and money for frequent visits to the spa. Thankfully, at home face massage tools are the next best thing. These are highly effective at reducing tension and inflammation in your face.