Who Should Use Retinol?
Dermatologists recommend that you shouldn't start using retinol until your late 20s.
Retinol is a powerful ingredient, so using it is about not starting too early but not leaving it too late.
Rachel Nazarian, M.D, of Schweiger Dermatology Group advises "As you enter your 20s, early signs of sun-damage and aging show on the skin. The skin starts to lose elasticity and the free radical damage of pollution, aging, and sun damage trigger the degradation of skin that desperately needs repair."
If you're in your late 20s and are prone to regular breakouts, or you have oily to combination skin, you should consider waiting until your early 30s before using a retinol cream.
Retinol can be effective for acne, but it can equally cause more blemishes if it isn't the right strength or formula. Celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau, who tends to the likes of Demi Lovato, explains:
"Many anti-aging products have potent active ingredients, like retinol and peptides, that can increase the metabolism of skin cells. However, these ingredients can also be too active for breakout-prone complexions."
The Best Retinol Creams and Retinol Products in Australia
We haven't just found the best anti-ageing cream, we've found the best over-the-counter retinol products that come highly recommended by both customers and dermatologists.
1. Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 night-time collection
Cost: $35.99 at Chemist Warehouse
Why We Love It: Olay's non-greasy facial absorbs quickly into the skin to deliver visible improvements in fine lines and wrinkles, smoothness, brightness, firming, dark spots and pores with no irritation felt.
Dermatologists Say: Olay’s Principal Scientist, David Khoo, said: “Our team have worked very hard to deliver a unique new formula that delivers youthful complexion without the usual irritation women feel from using Retinol.
2. Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream
Cost: $46.99 at Chemist Warehouse
Why We Love It: Neutrogena remains the #1 Dermatologist Recommended skincare brand, so we trust everything from its retinol to its hand cream.
Dermatologists Say: Of the brand itself, board-certified dermatologist Edidiong Kaminska, MD, co-founder of Kaminscy Medical and Surgical Consulting Incorporated says “They [Neutrogena] actually test the skin and have clinical trials to make sure [products] are working. As physicians, we like data; we like evidence-based medicine.”
3. RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream
Cost: $51.98 from iHerb
Why We Love It: RoC has been a leading French skincare brand for over 50 years and they continue to partner with dermatologists.
Dermatologists Say: Dr Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, founder director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and assistant clinical professor at the George Washington University Medical Center says that RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream is “The highest strength of retinol you can get before a trip to the dermatologist's office.”
4. Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair
Product: Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair
Cost: $126.72 (usually $144) from Adore Beauty
Why We Love It: If Dermalogica products are good enough for the ageless Jennifer Aniston, then sign us up!
Dermatologists Say: Of the brand, The Derm Review said "With its extensive skin care line, Dermalogica is able to provide dermatologists with skin health products that can help treat their patient’s most frustrating skin concerns including common skin sensitivities, acne, aging, and discolorations."
5. Cosmedix Serum 16
Product: Cosmedix Serum 16
Cost: $142 from Adore Beauty
Why We Love It: It's a great product to use if you're completely new to the retinol scene.
Dermatologists Say: Francesca Fusco, M.D, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City says "This is a great intro-to-retinol product because if features microencapsulated retinol complex, which delivers results without the irritation and drying.”
6. Stemlab anti-aging retinol serum
Product: Stemlab Anti-aging retinol serum
Cost: $80 from Hardtofind
Why We Love It: If you're looking to add serums to your skincare routine, this is a great option to consider. It's lightweight and vegan-friendly. Plus, two or three drops go a long way.
7. Eucerin Q10 Anti-Wrinkle + Pro-Retinol night cream
Cost: $23.59 from iHerb
Why We Love It: With almost five stars from 1100+ reviews on iHerb, the Eucerin Q10 anti-wrinkle + pro-retinol night cream is a favourite among skincare enthusiasts and dermatologists. Formulated for those with sensitive skin, this night cream moisturises for softer and smoother-looking skin.
8. Paula's Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment
Cost: $89 from Paula's Choice
Why We Love It: A potent and uniquely formulated retinol solution that hydrates and delivers anti-ageing benefits. It absorbs quickly and has a light lotion texture.
9. Kiehl's Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum
Cost: $92 from Kiehl's
Why We Love It: This serum features three key ingredients: pure retinol to steadily accelerate skin surface turnover, peptide to enhance skin integrity and ceramides to help strengthen the moisture barrier to enhance your skin's tolerance to pure retinol.
10. Boost Lab Retinol Night Renewal Serum
Product: Boost Lab night renewal serum
Cost: $29.95 from Boost Lab
Why We Love It: Boost Lab's retinol serum is *the* product you need firmly in your night-time skincare routine. Designed to reduce skin damage that causes wrinkles, dry skin, loss of firmness and elasticity, and uneven pigmentation. A renewal potion, if you will.
11. Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream
Cost: $111 from MECCA
Why We Love It: Drunk Elephant is certainly not cheap, but it's definitely a cult skin care favourite.
Dermatologists Say: Dr. Heather Rogers, dermatologist and creator of Doctor Rogers RESTORE is a fan of the Drunk Elephant brand, saying “Drunk Elephant does a great job with their products."
Of the A-Passioni Retinol Cream, she says "The key ingredient here is retinol - which is the over the counter, pre-drug version of tretinoin, a prescription vitamin A derivative. Both retinol and prescription tretinoin have been shown to do great things for the skin, including treating acne, reversing sun damage and improving skin smoothness and texture."