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Best Retinol Creams and Serums

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Retinol is one of the best ingredients for reducing blemishes, fine lines and abnormal skin pigmentation. It works by increasing cell turnover and encouraging shedding of excess melanin.

If it’s your first time using retinol start with a lower concentration product and apply it twice a week, building up to nightly use over a few weeks.

No7 Retinol Night Cream

Retinol is hailed for its medically and scientifically-proven ability to speed up the skin’s cell turnover, which means it can help reduce fine lines, wrinkles, blemishes and hyperpigmentation. It’s best started in your mid to late 20s and should be introduced gradually (as a serum for example), or you risk dryness and flaking.

This is No7’s first clinically-proven retinol night cream, which promises to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, refine pores, increase skin elasticity, and boost collagen levels. It’s also free from silicones, parabens, SLS and PEGs.

This is part of No7’s Pure Retinol collection, which launched in response to a report that found that many women feel invisible in the beauty industry. The brand is launching a campaign called We See You, to let women know that it’s committed to delivering high quality and effective products that will address their specific skin concerns. This product is fragrance-free and suitable for sensitive skin. It’s recommended to use this in the evening as the first step of your age-defying skincare routine, after cleansing and applying a serum.

Skinceuticals Retinol Overnight Moisturiser

This cream is a great option if you’re looking for a product that does multiple jobs, as it visibly reduces wrinkles, refines pores and diminishes discoloration. It contains medium-strength retinol and bakuchiol extract (which helps stabilize retinol so it can penetrate deeper) as well as peptides to promote healthy collagen, and it’s noncomedogenic.

It’s also paraben-free and has a 0.3% concentration of pure retinol to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and blemishes. It’s enriched with calming ingredients like bisabolol (derived from chamomile) and boswellia serrata extract, to ensure your skin stays calm and irritation-free.

Apply a pea-sized amount to clean, dry skin in the evening, avoiding the eye area. Start by using it once or twice a week and gradually increase usage as tolerated. Remember to always wear high-protection, broad-spectrum sunscreen while using a retinol product. Ingredients: aqua / water / eau, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane, propanediol, butyrospermum parkii butter / shea butter, caprylic/capric triglyceride, alcohol denat., glyceryl stearate, dimethicone, retinol, boswellia serrata resin extract, polysorbate 20, bisabolol, methylisothiazolinone.

Drunk Elephant Crystal Retinal Night Cream

Cult US brand Drunk Elephant has a loyal following thanks to its kitschy product packaging and playful ingredients (like kale, winter cherry and xanthophylls). The A-Passioni Retinol Cream is a high-performance vegan retinol that softens the appearance of fine lines while refining tone and texture. It also contains a triple peptide blend and a cocktail of plant oils (jojoba, marula, passionfruit and apricot) to nourish and smooth skin.

If you’re new to retinol, Kate Somerville recommends using this gentle serum containing Vitamin A to reduce signs of ageing while Vitamin C brightens and improves skin tone. The formula is rich in hyaluronic acid spheres to boost hydration and skin-strengthening ceramides. It also features anti-inflammatory bisabolol and calming chamomile extract. You can gradually introduce this into your routine by applying it two nights a week for the first few weeks, before increasing to every other night.

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid

One of The Ordinary’s hero products, this retinol serum is the ultimate weapon against fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone and oily acne-prone areas. The granactive retinoid 2% emulsion features two forms of next-generation retinol to visibly reduce anti-ageing signs and improve skin tone, while also providing effective acne control.

The granactive retinoid is a new formulation of Grant Industries’ active technology called Solubilized Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, which has multi-fold greater effectiveness against signs of ageing than traditional Retinol or Retinoic Acid without the irritation or dryness common to these ingredients. It is formulated in a light squalane base for smooth application.

It’s suitable for all skin types, including beginners who are new to retinol and those with sensitive skin. It’s recommended to apply it sparingly at first and increase frequency as your skin gets used to it. As with all retinols, it’s essential to use daily sunscreen when using this product as they can make your skin more sensitive to UV damage. retin a cream uk

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