30 Retinol-Based Products That Will Get Rid Of Those Pesky Marks

ELLE posted "30 Retinol-Based Products That Will Get Rid Of Those Pesky Marks" featuring Dr. Purvisha Patel and Visha Skincare.

The article includes Dr. Patel’s expert commentary on Retinol, a gold standard ingredient in skincare, and features Visha Skincare's Advanced Correcting Serum, a product with Retinol and other tried and true ingredients to add to your routine.

30 Retinol-Based Products That Will Get Rid Of Those Pesky Marks

It's a star ingredient for all of your skin woes.

While it's true there is no magic bullet when it comes to perfecting skin, one ingredient comes pretty close: retinol.

"Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that also exfoliates the skin to unclog pores and increase collagen production. It is the alcohol form of the derivative, and is available in stronger percentages and orally by prescription," Dr. Purvisha Patel, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare, tells ELLE.com. The beauty of retinol is the varying strengths and versions offered, which yield different results for a gamut of skin types.

A favorite among dermatologists, retinol's purpose is simple. "It is a tried and true ingredient that delivers what it promises in the concentrations that it is given in; it is the gold standard for a safe, effective ingredient in skincare that helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles," Dr. Patel adds. Retinol is known as a powerful exfoliant, which "loosens the bonds between the top layer of cells and unclogs pores to help with acne, but also tricks the skin into thinking it is wounded to stimulate collagen production," she continued. For those with oily skin, retinol also helps to shrink oil glands to reduce oil production in the skin.

"Prescription Retin-A and Tretinoin and over-the-counter retinol increase skin cell turnover and stimulate collagen synthesis," explains Jennifer Chwalek, MD of Union Square Laser Dermatology. "With consistent use of a topical retinol or Retin-A you can see improvement of fine lines, dark spots, texture, and tone."

While an OTC retinol (0.5%-2% concentration) isn't quite as effective or speedy as prescription strength, it's less likely to cause irritation, redness, and peeling so better for anyone with sensitive or drier skin. But, proceed with caution. Dr. Shereene Idriss recommends adding retinol into your skincare routine slowly and gradually. "I would start with one night a week to see how your skin reacts before adding a second night a week and so forth," explains Dr. Idriss. "If you find yourself to be extremely sensitive, then apply your moisturizer before your retinol in order to make it a little less irritating."

There are also naturally derived retinol alternatives like rosehip seed oil, chicory root oligosaccharides, and tara tree gum, but Chwalek cautions that there are no studies to prove efficacy for them. Ready to add retinol to your routine? Here are the latest options for every skin concern and type.

Retinol 24 + Peptide Moisturizer - SPF 30


If you've ever skipped out on sunscreen while on retinol, don't worry—Olay created the best of both worlds. In this bottle comes retinol, of course, with added SPF 30 to protect the progress made and future sun damage.

Retinol Skin Brightener 1%

ZO Skin Health

For stubborn dark marks, reach for ZO Skin Health's potent retinol serum, which contains one percent of the star ingredient to exfoliate and brighten the skin quicker than most over-the-counter versions.

Advanced Correcting Serum with Illuminotex

Visha Skincare

Formulated by Dr. Patel, this multipurpose serum aims to address five different skin concerns with the help of vitamin C, vitamin E, ferulic acid, and more.

Cleansing & Renewing Nighttime Body Wash


The same results you experience from topical retinol for your face can be achieved below the neck with this luscious body wash from Olay. The formula combines retinol with vitamin B3 complex to keep your body looking as youthful and radiant as your face.

Skin Caviar Nighttime Oil

La Prairie

The latest addition to La Prairie's Skin Caviar collection is this luxe oil which is laced with caviar-derived retinol to smooth wrinkles and intensely hydrates skin overnight.

Retinol 0.5


Sensitive skin? Try Skinceuticals's concentrated cream, formulated with stabilization and delivery technologies for a steady and even release of 0.5 percent retinol.

Super Nova Serum

joanna vargas

Hero ingredients like apple fruit cell, summer snowflake flower extract, and persian silk tree extract work alongside high quality retinol to eliminate fine lines and diminish the look of pores.

Age Defense Retinol Complex


Treat acne scars with SkinMedica's retinol cream which promises to diminish dark spots and even skin tone through cell renewal.

Holy Basil & Retinol Ageless Night Oil


Formulated as a nighttime salve, this oil uses a powerful combination of retinol and holy basil (a.k.a tulsi, an adaptogenic herb) to brighten pigmentation and soften fine lines while you sleep.

A-Passioni Retinol Cream

Drunk Elephant

This certified clean retinol cream uses a vegan retinol to diminish fine lines, eliminate dark spots, and improve skin tone.

Resurfacing Retinol Serum


A drugstore favorite, Cerave is known for its high quality and wallet-friendly prices. This serum, formulated with encapsulated retinol, refines skin texture and tone for a smoother appearance—all while keeping you within your beauty budget.

Pure Retinol Face Serum with Vitamin B3

La Roche-Posay

Another drugstore favorite, La Roche-Posay's retinol serum is loaded with pure retinol, plus, prebiotic thermal water, niacinamide, and glycerin for a extra dose of moisture.

Retinol Fusion PM

Peter Thomas Roth

Wake up with fresh and bright skin thanks to this fan-favorite retinol product from Peter Thomas Roth. Packed with micro-encapsulated retinol (retinol that has been placed into small capsules so that it sinks deeper into skin), the superstar ingredient is evenly distributed to prevent irritation and redness from overexposure. Plus, vitamins E and C nourish the skin to improve overall appearance.

Serum 16 Rapid Renewal Serum


Ideal for acne-prone skin, this retinol is gentle enough for sensitive skin while also being a very effective night treatment to rid skin of debris and oils. The treatment calms inflammation, fights wrinkle formation, and evens out skin tone so that you wake up with unclogged pores and a smoother, brighter complexion.

Rapid Wrinkle Regenerating Face Cream [Fragrance-Free]


If you prefer your retinol easy on the wallet but still want it to do the job, then consider this drugstore moisturizer. In addition to a fast-acting form of the ingredient, the rich cream is packed with ultra hydrating hyaluronic acid.

Pro-Heal Serum Advance+


Ideal for treating acne spots, redness, inflammation, and rosacea. This product, which is ideal for spot treatments, contains a number of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that target the aforementioned skin concerns and more.

Intense Defense Serum


This serum contains a whopping total of 23 vitamins the skin uses to soothe any harsh effects of retinol. The vitamins are derived from botanical sources like flax seed, a known source of omega-3 fatty acids, that are known to prevent irritation and yarrow, an ancient herbal medicine, which has brightening properties for the skin.

Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Anti-Aging Retinol Night Cream


This formula is so strong you'd think you would need a prescription, but the drugstore options is a deep wrinkle smoothing night cream hydrates your skin while reducing the appearance of expression lines while you sleep.

Time Retreat Radiance Essence

Eve Lom

To feed your need for instant gratification, this hardworking serum is packed with exfoliating AHAs to give you an instant glow. And then non-irritating, wrinkle-smoothing encapsulated retinol to treat skin over time.

Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream


Whether you've tried retinol in the past to only find it left skin red and irritated, or if this is your first time trying the magic ingredient, Murad's night cream is a great option. Formulated for sensitive skin, the cream targets wrinkles and fine lines to plump and hydrate the skin. It's basically supple skin in a jar.

Essential Shock Intense Retinol Fluid

Natura Bisse

This multi-tasker boosts the power of retinol with amino acids, soy protein, and mushroom and wheat germ extracts. While the lightweight texture means it can be used as a treatment serum, those with oilier skin or a streamlined routine can just consider this tube their one-step anti-aging nighttime regimen.

Celestial Black Diamond Retinol Oil


Oils are still all the rage. And this uber luxe option from London-based surgeon Yannis Alexandrides, MD offers the nourishing effects associated with the category while delivering a potent dose of retinol via otherworldly sounding rare black diamond particles through space and time, just kidding it's going through layers of skin. It'll get you glowing for sure.

DermalQuench Liquid Lift Retinol Advanced Resurfacing Treatment

Kate Somerville

First Los Angeles-based aesthetician Kate Somerville created a topical, at-home version of her celeb fave oxygen facial and it was pretty, pretty, pretty good. But now she's taken it a step further and supercharged the formula with collagen-boosting retinol and bio-retinols to give you the glowing, taut, baby soft skin of your dreams.

Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Overnight Wrinkle Treatment

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare

Wake up looking like a fresh-faced goddess when you use this one-two punch of overnight serum and peel before you turn in. Both pair pro-strength ferulic acid and retinol to seriously smooth skin and soften wrinkles, one gently exfoliates in the process and the other works overnight to detox skin from a long day of being attacked by free radicals, pollution, and other environmental nastiness.

Retinol Intense Cream


While prescription Retin-A is by far the most potent form of retinol, this OTC option makes a great second best, mostly because unlike sometimes-irritating Rx formulas, this combines a double dose of retinol with soothing magnolia bark and nourishing soy bean extract, meaning even finicky skins keeps its chill.

RESIST 1% Retinol Booster

Paula's Choice

One percent retinol is a big dose so it's best to proceed with caution. If you’ve used retinol in the past or don’t tend to have negative reactions to new products, this booster—which is meant to be used in conjunction with another moisturizer— is for you. Sensitive skin types should start with once a week applications to allow your skin to build a tolerance to the

Sleepercell Retinol Serum


Australian gender-neutral beauty brand, Asarai, created this retinol-based Sleepercell serum that's a sleeper hit of the season. The vegan, lightweight liquid utilizes retinol to restore skin tone and prevent wrinkles. There's also sodium hyaluronate to brighten and hydrate. Asarai is also made with predominantly natural ingredients so you never have to worry about animal testing or toxic chemicals with scary names.

Gentle Retinol Night Serum

Marie Veronique

Consider this serum the ultimate collagen booster. On top of retinol, the green-tea based formula is packed with vitamin C to brighten the skin. There's also a dose of sodium salicylate, a retinol-moderating chemical compound that prevents irritation and stinging.

Anti-Wrinkle Polish and Plump Peel


Retinol can be harsh, so HydroPeptide's Anti-Wrinkle Polish and Plump Peel is a great option because it doesn't use traditional retinol but rather retinyl palmitate, a milder retinoid suitable for sensitive skin. After a few uses, prepare for brighter skin and tighter pores.

Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Triple Correction Eye Serum

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare

Retinol is definitely the star of this show, but ferulic acid (an anti-aging plant-based ingredient) works to rid your skin of wrinkles and sun spots. Plus, caffeine plumps the delicate skin around the eyes and "wakes up" the skin. If you've got crow's feet and wrinkles, this is the product for you.

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