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11 Best Retinol Serums To Have In Your Anti-Aging Routine

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You’re probably familiar with retinol. Everybody’s talking about it, from dermatologists to your friends, especially if you’re over 25. The topical use of retinol was proven to have anti-aging effects; this clinical study confirms it. And all skin experts agree: topical retinol remains to be the gold standard in anti-aging.

With over 40 years of research, retinol is proven to refine and smooth the skin’s surface, improve uneven skin tone, and reduce wrinkles’ appearance. “Retinol is the only medication that has scientifically-proven anti-aging properties,” says Tsippora Shainhouse, a board-certified dermatologist in Los Angeles, for oprahmag.com.

What is retinol, and how does it work?

Retinols are a type of retinoids — a class of vitamin A derivatives. Even if born of the same vitamin, retinol works differently than other retinoids, such as tretinoin. Retinol has weaker effects because it needs to be converted by enzymes into the active form of vitamin A, which actually improves the skin. Retinol is found in over-the-counter (OTC) products, like creams and serums. On the other side, tretinoin is a prescripted retinoid and does not need to be converted because it is already the active form of vitamin A.

Retinol is still highly effective, even if the results take longer to appear, and they’re not as stark. Personally, I’m on a topical retinol regimen since my 26s, and I’d never skip a night not using it. Yep, start using retinol in your mid to late 20s is just fine. Preventing is better than curring.

You need a serum because the active ingredients in it penetrate your skin faster and more effectively. So, the greater the chances to defend collagen degradation, increase hydration, and protect the skin against photoaging.

How do I choose my retinol serum? 

You’ll find retinol in different strengths. If you’re a first-timer, you would be using a low percentage of retinol, somewhere around 0.3%. The same goes if your skin is sensitive. If you’re already used to topical retinol, you can go for stronger formulas. However, it’s always a good idea to test a product on a skin patch before applying it to the face.

When to use retinol serum

The best time to apply your retinol serum is at night, as retinol increases skin sensitivity in sunlight. Use it once or twice a week, to begin with, to see how your skin reacts and gradually work up to every other day.

After you’ve cleansed your face wait a few minutes until your skin is completely dry. If the skin is damp, the retinol will be able to go deeper into the skin and might cause irritation, so that’s important. You can usually apply serums and moisturizer to damp skin, but never retinol. After having layered the retinol serum on your skin, follow up with your night moisturizer. Avoid mixing it with a lot of skincare products. And because it makes the skin sensitive to the sun, next morning apply an SPF cream before you go out. 

11 Best Anti-Aging Serums with Retinol


InstaNatural Retinol Serum

InstaNatural Retinol Serum

Not very popular, yet a product that is highly appreciated. With 2.5% retinol and the addition of niacinamide, green tea, ginger, and other naturally-derived ingredients, InstaNatural Store managed to create a great serum! It increases hydration to plump the skin’s look, minimizing fine lines, and reduces the appearance of enlarged pores while soothing your skin to improve its overall texture.


Tree Of Life Serum with Retinol

Tree Of Life Serum with Retinol

Tree Of Life combined some of the most beneficial ingredients in one serum. Retinol with botanical hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, witch hazel, jojoba oil, and green tea to help counter the effects of aging. And if it didn’t work, wouldn’t be so much appreciated — it’s got 5 stars out of 13,000 reviews. 72% organic and 98% natural, this serum is suitable for all skin types; your face will feel moisturized and refreshed over time as it’s applied.


Eva Naturals Serum with retinol

Eva Naturals Vitamin C + Retinol Serum Plus

Loaded with many antioxidants and infused with a mix of retinol, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, MSM, and vitamin C, Eva Naturals serum won’t fail you. While it helps protect against UV rays, it provides high hydration, cleanses the pores, and fights blemishes — all in one serum! If it’s hard to believe, browse through customers’ reviews, they’re really enjoyable.


The Ordinary Retinol Serum

The Ordinary Retinol Serum

With 1% of pure retinol, this one has the power to reduce the appearance of fine lines, photodamage, and general skin aging signs. All the ingredients in this product, such as tomato fruit extract, rosemary leaf extract, and jojoba oil, work to rejuvenate your skin. The Ordinary serum may cause irritation, redness, and peeling in the first few weeks of use until the skin builds tolerance. If you can assume this side effect, here is the serum you want to try.


StriVectin Super-C Retinol Brighten Serum

StriVectin Super-C Retinol Brighten Serum

From the luxury range, StriVectin brings a formula meant to brighten and correct. The brightening power of Vitamin C and the correcting power of retinol join forces in one lightweight serum. What makes it even better is that NIA-114 amplifies it, the brands’ proprietary form of Niacin, strengthening the skin barrier for a glowing complexion.


Retinol Store Anti-Wrinkle Facial Serum

Retinol Store Anti-Wrinkle Facial Serum

Exfoliate, improve, and moisturize — this is what you get with Retinol Store’s serum. Formulated with one of the highest vitamin A levels (500,000 I.U.’s), green tea, and beta-carotene, it visibly improves the skin’s elasticity and tone while minimizing fine lines’ appearance to make your face smoother.


InstaSkincare Retinol Serum for Face

InstaSkincare Retinol Serum for Face

This is another advanced retinol serum formula from InstaNatural, combined with vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and Q10 that aims to minimize signs of aging. Besides this, it reduces hyperpigmentation and is gentle to acne skin prone, pushing oils and dead skin out of blocked pores, preventing new blackheads and whiteheads from forming.


Yeouth Retinol Serum with Hyaluronic Acid

Yeouth Retinol Serum with Hyaluronic Acid

There is a reason people are so happy about Yeouth retinol serum. Hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, vitamin E, and retinol, all in a tiny bottle to help you fight aging signs. Help your skin preserve its elasticity and firmness with this serum’s moisture retention properties, even out wrinkles, and give your skin a soft feel.


Baebody Retinol Topical Facial Serum

Baebody Retinol Topical Facial Serum

This lightweight yet intensive retinol serum absorbs quickly into the skin, improving the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, discoloration, and hyperpigmentation. Packed with vitamin E, jojoba oil, and green tea, Baebody facial serum keeps skin calm and protected while it improves skin color and boosts collagen production.


Sunday Riley A High-Dose Retinoid Serum

Sunday Riley A High-Dose Retinoid Serum

Combining 5% retinoid ester blend, 1% liposomal-encapsulated retinol blend, and 0.5% blue-green algae with natural, retinoid-alternative activity, this product fights the aging skin and improves the UV damaged skin. With encapsulated CoQ10, it helps improve the appearance of the skin, while Hawaiian white honey, bisabolol, cactus extract, and ginger soothe the skin for a calmer, even-toned complexion.


Cos de BAHA Retinol Serum

Cos de BAHA Retinol Serum

With an upgraded version, Cos De BAHA fulfills even the highest expectations. You get a 50% organic serum infused with 2.5% retinol, vitamin E, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and arginine for a super reasonable price. Non-greasy, it goes smoothly on the skin, and it absorbs really quickly!


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Amanda Blake
Amanda Blake
Amanda Blake is a passionate woman sharing experience as a beauty advisor and content writer for over 5 years. Merging all the passion with much work, she established Women's Concept community, a place where women can seek and share everything about beauty and personal care.
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To our readers

The information from this article is not entirely medical-grade level and should not be treated as a substitute for medical advice from your doctor. No one will know you, your medical history, the meds you’ve taken or are taking, your sensitivities and drug interactions, allergic reactions, and your lifestyle, but your doctor does.

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